Former top aide insists Md. Gov. Hogan supported generous severance package

Roy McGrath, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s former chief of staff, said his old boss supported the $233,647.23 payout he received when he stepped down from a quasi-public agency to become the governor’s top aide.

McGrath, who has been indicted on federal and state charges, including embezzlement tied to the financial arrangement made with the Maryland Environmental Services, told The Washington Post Thursday that Hogan sent him a message supporting the severance payout.

According to McGrath, Hogan wrote, “I know you did nothing wrong. I think it is unfair. I will stand with you.”

Hogan spokesman Michael Ricci said the governor did send the message, but it was before Hogan knew how the severance package for McGrath had been crafted, The Washington Post reported, adding that McGrath also provided what he said was a copy of a “confidential agreement” between himself and the Hogan, approving the compensation package.

“These are the falsehoods and delusions of someone facing dozens of federal and state charges for fraud violations of the public trust,” Ricci said in an email to WTOP regarding that correspondence.

“All documents related to personnel onboarding are processed by the Governor’s Office of Financial Administration,” Ricci wrote in an email to The Associated Press.

McGrath resigned from the chief of staff job less than three months after his severance payment was first reported.

Doug Mayer, a former Hogan staffer who advises the governor, said he spoke to McGrath in a phone call days before his resignation and repeatedly asked him whether Hogan had approved the severance.

“I asked him repeatedly if the governor had approved or knew about any of his severances or payments, and Roy repeatedly refused to say that was the case,” Mayer told The Associated Press Thursday.

Ever since questions arose about his severance package, McGrath insisted the deal was not unusual. Prosecutors allege that McGrath led the Maryland agency’s board of directors to approve the payout by saying it had Hogan’s approval.

Hogan has previously denied knowing about the payment and has cooperated with the investigation into the case.

In August 2020, Hogan called for an audit of the Maryland Environmental Service, saying, “To be clear, I did not approve, recommend or have any involvement whatsoever in any of these decisions made by the board of directors of MES with respect to the former director Roy McGrath or any other individual.”

McGrath faces state charges, including wiretapping and felony theft. His next court appearance is set for Dec. 17.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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