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If You Walk Through the Garden, Better Watch Your Back
January 15, 2009 2:23 PM   Subscribe

Baltimore mayor Sheila Dixon has been indicted with 12 counts of felony theft, perjury, fraud and misconduct in office, becoming the city's first sitting mayor to be criminally indicted. Included in the charges against her is the accusation that she accepted illegal gifts during her time as mayor and City Council president, including travel, fur coats and gift cards intended for the poor that she allegedly used instead for a holiday shopping spree. One city housing official has already been convicted of stealing those donations. Her legal defense claims that there has been no conflict of interest, as the list of companies said to have done business with the city fails to meet technical requirements laid out in city ethics laws. The Baltimore Sun's editorial staff weighs in with the accusations.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing (33 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
All McNulty wanted was a criminal worth catching.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:26 PM on January 15, 2009 [7 favorites]


Sheeeeeeeit.
posted by dhammond at 2:26 PM on January 15, 2009 [16 favorites]


The Wire Reference!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:27 PM on January 15, 2009 [14 favorites]


Hey, if we're lucky the govenor will appoint a successor...

oh, wait.
posted by jefflowrey at 2:29 PM on January 15, 2009


That rat Fuzzy Dunlop!
posted by jonmc at 2:29 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


A little birdie who may or may not know something regarding the case says they couldn't really get her on anything.

Lots of problems here--the gifts were likely gifts as she was carrying on an affair with the person involved. Hence both parties are lacking the state of mind (mens rea) to carry out a crime of bribery.

Of course I also think that Blago will get off criminally, depending on the hospital charges. They really don't have a crime on him for the "selling Obama's seat" thing.

He will be removed from office, however.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:32 PM on January 15, 2009


The Baltimore Sun's editorial staff remains unimpressed with the accusations.

Actually, they sound pretty pissed off, according to that link:

"The charges against Ms. Dixon are no less injurious to the public than an indictment claiming extortion or bribery would be. Political commentators and apologists for the mayor who suggest otherwise - asking, "Is that all there is?" -fundamentally misunderstand the responsibility of an elected official."
posted by longsleeves at 2:35 PM on January 15, 2009



Money Launderin' they gonna come talk to me about Money Launderin' in West Baltimore, SHIIIIT, Where do you think I'm gonna raise cash for the whole damn ticket! From Laundromats and shit, from some tiny ass korean groceries, you think I got time to ask a man why he given me money or where he gets his money from, I'll take any mothafucker's money if he given it away!
posted by plexi at 2:35 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Call it a crisis of leadership.
–Proposition Joe
posted by blueberry at 2:41 PM on January 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Is Baltimore trying to out-corrupt Chicago?! Our mayor is pretty much the only corrupt one who hasn't been indicted yet. But then again, he's only the creamy corrupt center tucked into layers of yummy, flakey scapegoat pastry.
posted by catwoman429 at 2:44 PM on January 15, 2009


Since I was beaten to a The Wire joke by... let's see... EVERYONE, I'm going to see if I can work up some John Waters material.

This may take a while.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:53 PM on January 15, 2009


Let me help, Joe B!

John Waters' Movies That Will Corrupt You
posted by longsleeves at 3:06 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


All those mopes in bracelets and not one of them named Osama.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:16 PM on January 15, 2009


Baltimore, the Providence of the Chesapeake.
posted by mdonley at 3:37 PM on January 15, 2009


The Baltimore Sun's editorial staff remains unimpressed with the accusations.

I believe the OP meant the "defense", not the "accusations".
posted by mrnutty at 3:48 PM on January 15, 2009


Sheila Dixon
posted by fire&wings at 3:56 PM on January 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


I believe the OP meant the "defense", not the "accusations".

That is how it should read, yes. When I first scanned it I was a little surprised the Sun was downplaying this, then I realized they were talking about Dixon's defenders.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:01 PM on January 15, 2009


Dixon is allegedly the model for Nerese Campbell on The Wire. Also, Obama is expected to appear just outside Baltimore city hall on Saturday with Dixon in Baltimore as part of his traditional whistle stop tour to DC for inauguration. Standing next to a politician who's just been indicted for stealing from the poor isn't exactly hope and change. Awkward!
posted by Heminator at 4:25 PM on January 15, 2009


Can't she just have somebody call Brother Mouzon for her and arrange to have this whole business taken care of in the usual fashion?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:33 PM on January 15, 2009


Well, shit. And just when things seemed to be going nicely around here.

(Lifelong Baltimorean, has never seen a single episode of Homicide or The Wire.)
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:35 PM on January 15, 2009


Oh, goody! Now that we've given her "at least the opportunity to try to lead," maybe Kweisi Mfume can be mayor now.
posted by needs more cowbell at 4:39 PM on January 15, 2009


This is why you can't have women get into politics. Leave such things to men.
posted by Postroad at 4:56 PM on January 15, 2009


In case anyone missed it, fire&wings' YouTube link to Sheila Dixon talking about The Wire and the media adds a nice dimension to this story.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:02 PM on January 15, 2009


Haven't seen 'em? I don't think you're actually a Baltimoron unless you've appeared on one.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:10 PM on January 15, 2009


(Lifelong Baltimorean, has never seen a single episode of Homicide or The Wire.)

Dude, that's like living in Australia and not riding a kangaroo to work.
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:15 PM on January 15, 2009


I can't wait to see how Laura Lippman works this into her next book.
posted by LiliaNic at 6:28 PM on January 15, 2009


that's like living in Australia and not riding a kangaroo to work

Our View: Kangaroo Jokes Deman Our Nationality.
Mind you, I'm just sick of the effort of kicking my old one over every morning to start it, so I'm saving up for one with electric ignition. F'n cheap marsupial electrics
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 6:38 PM on January 15, 2009


Baltimore used to have a pro-pot mayor. His name? Kurt Schmoke.

Charm City, I love ya hon'.
posted by bardic at 7:56 PM on January 15, 2009


she accepted illegal gifts during her time as mayor and City Council president, including travel, fur coats...

Didn't Lois Griffin have this same problem when she was elected Mayor of Quahog?
posted by Clay201 at 8:23 PM on January 15, 2009


IN YER FACE, DETROIT
posted by docgonzo at 9:19 PM on January 15, 2009


Seriously wat is going on. All these democratic politicians falling all at once? Doesn't this seem a little crazy to youse guys? Possible explanation: investigations were withheld until after Most Important Election of Our Lives and unearthed at the least possible politically damaging time by politically sympathetic but ultimately implacable Justice Depts. around the country, masterminded and spearheaded by the Maryland Home Improvement Commission THATS RIGHT ITS A BARRY LEVINSON MOVIE REFERENCE 1000 POINTS AND THE GAME AND THE CROWD GOES WILD *makes crowdgoeswild noise*
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:22 PM on January 15, 2009


So The Sun is pissed off because most people around here are treating this like it's no big deal? Sheila Dixon is crazy as a loon. We all knew that when we voted for her. The Sunpaper knew that when they endorsed her. But her major opponent had nothing to recommend him other than pedigree (and had his own conflict of interest and gift/money issues)--at least Sheila had some experience and was a devil that we knew. I don't think anyone is surprised by this; considering Sheila's history I think everyone expected some corruption allegations eventually. No one is condoning theft or bribery when they're saying "Is that it?" They're really wondering if that's all there is. After 5 years of investigation--18 months of it by the Feds--the best that Rohrbaugh can come up with is pocketing a few hundred in gift cards and 15 grand in pressies from her boyfriend? Whoop-di-fucking-do! This is the state that gave the world Spiro Agnew. If you want torches and pitchforks, we need a little more dirt than this.

I do think this raises some interesting questions about whether the arrival of female politicians, especially single female politicians, on the scene muddies the waters of defining and restricting gifts. Do you need to report every single dinner or drink or movie ticket? Dixon is the 3rd female pol in Baltimore in recent years to have her dating life tied to allegations of conflict of interest and accepting inappropriate gifts. Oddly, this doesn't ever seem to come up for single male politicians.
posted by weebil at 9:28 PM on January 15, 2009


Baltimore used to have a pro-pot mayor. His name? Kurt Schmoke.

Charm City, I love ya hon'.
posted by bardic at 7:56 PM on January 15 [+] [!]


Kurt schmoke isn't pro-pot, he is anti-war-on-drugs. I heard that he came to this position after a good friend of his was murdered while on duty as an under-cover cop. Evidently the cop was wearing a wire and the whole thing was recorded. After listening to the tape with his friends dying gasps on it, he decided that the cost of the drug war was too high (or that's what I heard anyway).
posted by 445supermag at 5:28 PM on January 16, 2009


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