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January 9, 2009

Dixon indicted: Can she survive?

The state prosecutor's office just released a 12-count indictment of Mayor Sheila Dixon, relying on many of the allegations we have printed before stemming from her relationship with developer Ron Lipscomb while she was City Council president. She is accused of taking thousands of dollars in gifts from him while his firm was doing business with the city but not disclosing any of it. If these allegations are true, can she hang on to office? How will Baltimore voters react to this?
Posted by Andy Green at 2:15 PM | | Comments (66)
        

Comments

Considering the fact that people like Marion Barry were reelected...

Sure - she'll be fine. Even if she's found guilty and goes to jail, she will be reelected from prison.

In the city and state where the boy king MOM gets relected anything is possible!
I can hear the defense now
racism and a witchhunt!

I can't think of anyone better to being indicted. Now let's get a law passed in Maryland that prohibits felons from serving in office again.

Everyone knows MOM is Gov becuase he's hott

when u can't convict murderers how can you convict a thief

Shelia will get her day in court and the process will take over from there.

Everyone talks about Marion Barry, but Alaska very nearly re-elected Ted Stevens AFTER he was convicted but before the sentence could be passed.

So there is precedent on both sides of the political spectrum for this.

If Dixon is found guilty then she should do the right thing and not run again, spare the city the embarrassment of having to put up with that.

The sad thing about this was some of her initiatives weren't that bad. The recycling thing was a huge success and her people have handled the coming budget crunch about as well as could be expected.

But if you do the crime, do the time. I am sure that there would be a Mitchell-type opponent that would take core of her in the primaries (i.e. the only election that matters in Baltimore) if she was foolish enough to run again.

She's a small-time pol who lucked out and of course pigged out on the forbidden fruits.
It's a story as old as time.
Arrogance + greed = eventual downfall

Voters will not care, i.e. Marion Barry. If Ms. Dixon goes to trial, no matter how overwhelming the evidence, she will walk. Blacks will never vote for a conviction. You'll see jury nullification at its finest. Blacks will say, "It's just another example of 'The Man' trying to bring a successful black person down".

Nice racism disgusted. Yes, all African Americans feel that way. You sure did hit the nail on the head there.

That is some pretty ignorant stuff right there.

Moreover, Dr. Dana i am not sure your law would pass the Constitutional muster. Those laws are left up to the states, and virtually all states do have some sort of restrictions of ex-convict voting/ participation rights.

But the fact remains, an ex-con CAN run for office. Now it is up to the voters to not wish to vote for the ex-con and usually they do not.

That is what makes things like Marion Barry and Ted Stevens so shocking, and funny, is because they are so rare.

My apology James. You are absolutely correct. That was a racist remark and absolutely misguided. I should have said SOME black people, not all. It's was an ignorant statement and you are right. However, she'll never be convicted in Baltimore City. And you're right about Ted Stevens, what a crook. Black politicians do not have a hammerlock on corruption. White pols are equally as guilty. All should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, no matter what their race, sex, or religion.

Everybody needs to remember that this is an dindictment, not a conviction. Sheila has done a commendable job as mayor and the city and the region are better for it. Special prosecutors have a mixed record getting convictions and it is not easy, as The Sun's front page story today indicates.

I believe in justice, but I fear a city ran by Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Let's remember that an indictment comes from a Grand Jury. In a Grand Jury, only the prosecution presents evidence, and only the evidence most favorable to the argument the prosecutor is advancing. The indictment means only that the Grand Jury feels that enough evidence has been presented to merit a trial. At that trial, both sides present evidence and the State must prove their allegations beyond a reasonable doubt.

That having been said, it is still a black eye for the City when the sitting mayor is indicted.

I'am sadden that either of these two great women have been accused of such dealings.May we all be reminded that they are innocent until proven guilty.If you ask me three to four years is along time to run a guilty investigation.Things that make you go Uhmmm!!!

Ms. Dixon was ethically challenged long before she became mayor. It appears that she's been cleaning up her act recently, now that the spotlight is on her and she has more to lose.

Although she has turned out to be a pretty good mayor, no one is above the law and she should pay the price for the tricks she pulled when she thought no one was watching.

Of course her career will survive because this is Maryland and the dead elect people here- certainly not ACTUAL voters.

"Although she has turned out to be a pretty good mayor, no one is above the law and she should pay the price for the tricks she pulled when she thought no one was watching."


My feelings exactly.

Shame really: I'd seen more real improvement in a year with Dixon than 8 under O'Malley. Hope she gets off to fight another day.

She should've tried for the Baltimore City Marcus Bown lottery . $55,000.00 per year for the rest of his life and he's only forty something.Along with his retirement check from the state in later years, I'd say he shall fare quite well. Are we to really believe the Mayor ,(CCPresident) sold her position for a mink coat and a pair of shoes.think maybe she was looking for companionship not a pay day. Sounds like a J.Edgar Hoover hunt to me.

'Disgusted', What are you apologizing for? what you wrote first was 100% true. This woman has no business being a mayor, but because of the blacks with an attitude like 'james', plus a 100% democrat vote, see where we are now. And 'james', who are African americans?

Accepting a mink coat and shoes for companionship? Perhaps you're right. That's not corruption, that's prostitution! My favorite is Ms. Dixon using gift cards for the needy for her own purchases and giving them to friends and co-workers. If that's true, that's really dispicable.

She'll be just fine. That current national embarrassment, president Bush has set the standard bar so low, that any politician that follows him on any level, has a very good chance of getting away with anything and everything.

I think the Prosecutor should be run out of town if this is all he has come up with after 2003...... Pathetic

Look, you bloody biggots trying to equate Dixon with Marion Barry: Who is the BIGGEST clown pol of them all?

His name is Blogo. He is extremely white. He just spoke on televsion in THE most embarrasing non news conference EVER.

And it's probably because of other BLOGOS in BLOGOsphere that we don't have the money to sustain real journalists who can hold shamelessly corrupt politicians's feet to the fire.

Oh yeah, biggots: George W Bush is THE single most criminally corrupt pol in US history. He is responsible for numerous deaths in the world- not to mention, our current demise. His whoe administration should be jailed.


You know, Dixon- it was so telling that you seemed incensed at David Simon's morally bankrupt semi-portrayal of you on THE WIRE. Now, look at you!

And to think you wagged your finger that anyone DARE question your cloak and dagger raise you gave yourself.

Dixon is as crooked as the day is long, any intelligent person can see that. I am so happy that I am not a resident of the murder capital of the world otherwise known as Baltimore City.

They did this on a Friday so it gets as little coverage as possible that means there case is weak and circumstantial at best.

Max...Typical liberal, bringing up Bush when we're talking about corrupt city mayors...It's easy to equate Barry wuth Dixon, both are and were mayors of major cities and accused of crimes...As far as Blogo goes, Chicago and Illinois have an illustrious tradition of corruption (and MD does as well)...I don't care if he's white, if he's guilty jail him for a long, long time...The answer is term limits...That will ensure politicians aren't in office lomg enough to be corrupted and won't be concerned about being re-elected...They would be more concerned about doing their civic duty.

It's going to be alright Sheila us black folks are going to stick together and find you not guilty. Don't you worry none. We got your minked out back and choo wearing feet girl!

And we are glad your not here either Steve. Now go bury your head in the sand some more and stay away from the big scary city.

As for "She lie Dixon" I find hysterical that your big enough to say these things, but under an alias.

God bless the anonymity of the internet huh? It allows us to be idiots without having to put our name to it.

Coward.

As someone who has studied and taught government and US History I can tell you this, most politicians have their hands in something to varying degrees. So many palms need to be shook and greased to get where they are. Everyone from GW Bush, to Obama probably has a skeleton in their closets.

We all hope for Mr Smith. That Jimmy Stewart can go into Washington, or in this case City Hall, in some Frank Capra fantasy and have the corruption shrivel in the light of his/her pure patriotic goodness.

But that won't happen. Americans don't elect those people. The problem is the ambition that drives someone to want to attain a high office is also the kind of ambition that is easily tainted.

If Ms. Dixon is found guilty she should do the right thing, resign and not run again. Her job right now should be to maintain the small amounts of progress that have been made recently in this city in recent years. Even with the recent spate of violence we are still at fewer incidents than last year at this time.

I was never a fan of Shelia Dixon, but I have come to accept her at least as a competent public servant, and people whom I have met who work for the city have shared that begrudged optimism.

She has her Constitutional rights to a trial we shall see what happens from there.

I have known Sheila Dixon indirectly for at least 30 years and she has NEVER been a favorite of mine in all that time; however, the question needs to be asked, "For all of the money that the prosecutor has expended is this all there is?"

As has been stated this is small time compared to others. It seems that our tax dollars are spent on small time issues instead of the more important issues. If Dixon and the others are guilty then by all means they should pay; however; at what point and or time will the media spend 1/16th the amount of time that they did, do and will on the murders, drugs and other crimes in this City? If we as the citizens of this "great" City of Baltimore cared about crime as much as we care about the soap opera life style of the "want to be rich and famous" (that we elected or not) then maybe this City would get better. Again, if these people are guilty of a crime then handle it but spend the same amount of time making sure all i's are dotted and t's are crossed to convict the street level criminals. Try spending one day on jury duty; then say whose cases should be front news for years.

My question is, what did BOY KING know when he was BOY MAYOR and both sat on the City Board of Estimates voting taxpayers money to Sheila's lover? My guess is BOY KING is getting his Depends changed as I type this. Anybody that thinks Ms. Sheila is going down alone is dreaming!

Hey "anonymous:"

Yes, I am proudly "typically liberal." Really, you "typical" conservatives should run away, no, get away from this country since you, and the millions you, the Bushies, the Rovies, the Cheneyies (is that a word?) and the FOX Newsies hypnotized, are responsible for the culture of corruption, death, war that the current occupants of the White House inflicted on the world.

If you deficate on the Constitution, you must wipe up and leave. Preferably to Gitmo.

That aside, corrupt is corrupt and criminal is criminal. The moral high ground that, I believe, most progressive people possess has to start somewhere, and in the case with Dixon, it's gotta start from scratch.

If she did this, she should go to jail....and yes, anon, term limits should be considered.

Maybe Sheila should start quoting British poets.


OK, it seems to me that the definition of corruption has gotten totally out of control. I think a few gifts and presents now and then is how the world works. Sorry, I don't see a problem here. If the work isn't done in the City's best interest, then indict on malfeasance or nonfeasance. Indict the contractor for slipshod work. But come on, the level of so-called corruption here doesn't reach the level of the charges and possible penalties.
Seems to me the GBC pretty much decides what projects are awarded and to whom around here anyway - yet they are accountable to no one and investigated by no one.

And Anonymous:

I understand your coded language: of all the corrupt big city mayors in the history of the United States to bring up, you mention Marion Barry.

As if HE were the only example of pols denying wrongdoing and managing to garner the sympathy and support of voters, who feel oppressed in many ways, themselves?

That's a trick as old as politics itself, and it certainly came along before black people had the right to vote, much less run for office in this country.

Your coded language is meant to appeal to your cheering corner, who visualize, when you bring up Barry, that grainy hotel footage, with a hooker, a crack pipe, barging police and "goddamn bitch set me up."

Equating Dixon with THAT is unfair and lazy, at best.

She is a crook and should be tarred and feathered and run out of town. Maybe take a few English courses while she is at it.

Never a favorite of mine, and never cast a vote for her. But I give the lady credit: she's made some good choices for city government priorities, and hired some very skilled people to implement solutions. I'm sorely disappointed by the behavior the indictment describes, but as a city taxpayer, I'm also sorry to see her leadership crippled.

Not being familiar with the specifics, I'll withhold a specific opinion on one who (when I first head of YOUR Mayor Dixon) I said: "What, Sharon Pratt Kelly became Dixon again, moved to Baltimore and got elected there too"? ;)

Anyhow, Marion Barry has been cited several times here. Now I'm far from a fan of his, but lets face the facts in that infamous case: yes, "the bitch" indeed set him up. He was clearly there for sex, and his ex-mistress practically had to shove the crack pipe into his mouth.

It was one of the most egregious cases of entrapment in American political history, and he never should have gone to jail. (I was glad he made a successful comeback solely because of the way he was done in.)

Also, your former Mayor Kurt Schmoke (now a lawyer for IL Senate designee Roland Burris, but before elective office a Federal Prosecutor) was basically correct that drug abuse should be treated medically, not criminally.

Ben-
I think it was announced on Friday because the Grand Jury was going to expire today.

And yes, this is small potatoes corruption, but it's still corruption. Why is it so hard for public servants to stay clean? Who thinks it is a good idea to take gift cards destined for the needy and using them for personal gain? Dumb.

What a shame for this lady? She is so egrgeously brainless for increasing her salary since she took office. She does not seem honest, if she is indicted. What a shame all liers say they are innocent.

Shelia will get her day in court and the process will take over from there.
Grand Jury was going to expire today. They were desperate.For all of the money that the prosecutor has expended is this all there is?"
It was a witchhunt!As has been stated this is small time compared to others. It seems that our tax dollars are spent on small time issues instead of the more important issues. If Dixon and the others are guilty then by all means they should pay; however; at what point and or time will the media spend 1/16th the amount of time that they did, do and will on the murders, drugs and other crimes in this City?

I agreed the Prosecutor should be run out of town if this is all he has come up with after 2003.....three to four years is along time to run a guilty investigation.. Pathetic and Sad.
I hope and pray things will workout alright cause she is doing a fine job as Mayor and I want her to continue.

I agreed the Prosecutor should be run out of town if this is all he has come up with after 2003.....three to four years is along time to run a guilty investigation.. Pathetic and Sad.
I hope and pray things will workout alright cause she is doing a fine job as Mayor and I want her to continue.

I never thought this city was so racially divided. I can read these posts and determine who is african american and who is not, and its sad. Indictment or conviction I believe it said INDICTMENT. Wasnt Dick Cheney and John McCain indicted before maybe im crazy.

REALLY Common Sense. Can you REALLY tell who is black and white through these posts?

REALLY?

While this is not a conviction it is misbehavior in office and this requires removal from office by the Governor per Maryland Constitution{Article X1 sec.6}. It does not say may it says shall.

I believe one is innocent until proven guilty and it is sad to see these comments based on what a prosecutor took how many years to come up with...

I doubt very seriously as an African American professional that someone who has at least a basic education and a prestigious position would risk it for a fur coat. What a shame with poverty falling all around us and children being killed to spend so much time and taxpayers money on what is frivolous at best.

beLIEve

Actually James there are several states that do have laws that say that elected officials convicted of crimes that involved their offices are prohibited from seeking elected office ever again in the jurisdiction. As for the Marion Barry incident, it's DC Government and they don't have dead people voting, just people who live in what they call Ward 9 (PG County). Old Shoe is innocent until proven guilty, but I fear when the evidence comes out in the open, despite what Arnie Weiner says (who is not a criminal attorney) I think the case will be made against her. She may not get convicted on all 12 counts but at least 3 or 4. As for jury nullification, in all probablility this case will be sent to Montgomery County, MD, Ocean City, MD, Fredrick County, MD because of the media coverage of the indictments and the ability of the person charged to influence the jury in advance of trial with projects, etc. This will be interesting. I'm sorry I won't be here to see the Circus come to town!

JM: Of course her career will survive because this is Maryland and the dead elect people here- certainly not ACTUAL voters.

Oh? I hear this a lot. Name three. Three dead folks who have "voted". I don't think you can. And I don't think you can because the charge is crud.

"I have known Sheila Dixon indirectly for at least 30 years and she has NEVER been a favorite of mine in all that time; however, the question needs to be asked, 'For all of the money that the prosecutor has expended is this all there is?'"

Graft is graft. Theft is theft. There's no such thing as an official who's "just a little" corrupt. Every little public malfeasance will become large, given time.
When you take public office, you are subject to stringent rules. These rules exist and are public knowledge. The mayor could have remained a private citizen, and no one would care about her private life (including, I suspect, Mr Liscomb).

"As for 'She lie Dixon' I find hysterical that your big enough to say these things, but under an alias."

James WHAT from Hampden?

Me, I have no problems with anonymity, but if you insist, what's your family name? You first.

In a local government, the biggest potential for graft, and the biggest source of corruption, is always going to be through zoning and real estate development. Any local official who has dealings with big landowners or building contractors is a fool to not establish that all actions are completely above board.

This doesn't make the mayor or councilor Holton guilty. It just says they were sloppy to have let matters progress this far.

I don't care if that is all that the prosecutor came up with in three or four years. Do you really want someone who would steal gift cards, intended for the needy, running your city.

now lets indicte martin omalley the true source of this evil

People love to use Mayor Barry example,however despite his personal demons, he has never in all his years as a Public Servant(Now DC city council member) been accused of financial impropriety. He have served the residents of DC with distinction and the reason why he have been elected over and over again is because this man have always served his constiuents. Trust me if the Feds could have found some financial skudulgerry from Mayor Barry they would have indicted him for it.I don't know B-more politics but this seems like a bunch of Fluff. She stepped on somebodys toes.

Can she survive?
Sure.
Should she?
I don't think so.

All thoughts and judgements rsereved, the botttom line the Baltimore City Charter does not preclude or prohibit someone inidicted from serving in Office!

However the State of Maryland restricts convicted felons from registering to vote if convicted and currently serving a sentence, but can become eliligble again upon completion of that sentence.

So if convicted of lesser misdemeanor charges she will continue to serve, or shall I say be allowed to under State/City law, however if convicted of the more serious felony theft allegations shel will HAVE to step dowm due to State law.

My opinion this will in NO WAY effect her re-election or service to this City. Despite ur opinions on the matter it is basically left up to her if she chooses to continue in office for right now and we as a community and City get that opportunity in 2011.

Hey, bryanintimonium, get your facts straight. Marion Barry was NOT reelected from prison. He didn't seek reelection for mayor in 1990 (while he was on trial), but ran for an at-large seat on the city council and LOST (I bet racist jerks like you didn't think that African-Americans were capable of voting against him!). He was elected from the 8th Ward to the City Council in 1992 over a year after he was released from prison.

The only reason he won in 1994 was because the incompetent mayor at the time (Sharon Pratt Kelly) split the vote with another primary opponent, John Ray. I guarantee you that if there had been only two candidates in the 1994 race, Barry would not have been reelected mayor. And if you think that African-Americans blindly vote for Marion Barry, then why didn't he run for reelection in 1998 when the city was in dire financial straits? Barry knows that his only strength is in the poorest section of the city (Ward 8), and that's because he has convinced the few people who vote in this ward that he is the city official who won't neglect them.

What no one seems to be saying and what I think is most important is we need campaign reform. Everyone including the president elect buys their way into office. Its a fact. And as said before greasing palms is sadly the way things work in politics. I don't know what to do about preventing what Dixon may have done, but on the campaign side, I think there should be a national pool of money. Everyone that is running should get there fair share of campaign money. The money that was spent on this election is so misguided when there is so much suffering going on around this country. Some how the money needs to be taken out of the eqaution. Maybe people should serve for free as they did in the early days. They would be get something out of the deal. They would become famous & then be able to possibly use that experience to get a high paying non political job. This senseless waste of money needs to stop. This kind of thing is business as usual. The guy who gave her the certificates should also be held accountable probably. I bet he gave them to her implicity knowing she was to use them for herself. We really need someone to get in there who is not part of the good ole boy network & make some real change.

Lived there, saw how it works, left there, ain't goin' back.

Your not guilty until proven guilty.

No worries mate. She'll be tried by a jury of her peers. People who wouldn't know ethical behavior if it reared up and bit them on the butt.

James Baker

Thank you very much

Every one knows that re-electing people like this will not help our city. To refer to Mr. Barry is silly because he is proof that we cant afford to that nieve. She's not worthy of holding the seat. She should have been more professional, embraced her historic term, and impressed the world. Not lie, steal, and tarnish her legacy. I now wonder what else sho done that we might not know about.

Can you say Sprio Agnew and Dale Anderson?

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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