Schaefer wins a surprise: invitation from Glendening Ex-governor to attend stadium event after all

July 19, 1996|By Peter Jensen | Peter Jensen,SUN STAFF

Former Gov. William Donald Schaefer is about to receive something he didn't expect from his successor: an invitation to groundbreaking ceremonies for the Baltimore Ravens stadium in downtown Baltimore.

Yesterday, Gov. Parris N. Glendening's communications director said it was an "oversight" that Schaefer wasn't initially invited to Tuesday's event.

He blamed its organizer, the Maryland Stadium Authority.

"Of course, Governor Schaefer should be invited," said Glendening aide John W. Frece. "The whole world is invited."

That was a surprise to Schaefer, who put the blame for the snub squarely on Glendening. Earlier in the day, he vowed to attend the public ceremony, invitation or not, so he could "stand in the back and laugh" at his successor.

"I feel sorry for him in a way," said Schaefer, who persuaded the General Assembly to support a state-financed football stadium at Camden Yards nine years ago.

"The stadium wasn't his. It never was his."

Frece said the governor learned of Schaefer's plight yesterday when a reporter inquired about the invitation list. Frece declined to comment in detail on Schaefer's remarks.

"He must have been having a terrible day to say such things," Frece said.

Relations between the irascible former governor and Glendening have long been rocky, but the groundbreaking contretemps may represent a new low.

When told late yesterday of the governor's decision to send him an invitation, Schaefer asked that his comments not be retracted.

"All of a sudden they thought they ought to think twice about it," Schaefer said. "How do you overlook a former governor?"

John A. Moag Jr., the stadium authority's chairman, said yesterday that the decision not to invite Schaefer was a deliberate choice to "keep the crowd small."

If Schaefer were invited, he said planners reasoned, former governors Harry Hughes and Marvin Mandel would have to be asked, too. "If you invite one [governor], you really have to broaden the circle and it becomes uncontrollable," he said.

Several hundred people have been invited to the noon ceremony, which is to take place on a football field painted on the parking lot where the stadium will be built, an authority spokeswoman said.

The invited guests include all 188 members of the General Assembly, the governor's Cabinet, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and Ravens owner Art Modell.

Frece said Schaefer will not be asked to speak at the event. "The governor has always wanted this to be a brief ceremony."

Pub Date: 7/19/96

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