Going for drinks but airing a beef


July 16, 2006|By LAURA VOZZELLA

So, you've got a beef with Baltimore police. You take your complaint to Internal Affairs, but nothing happens. So you go the next logical route: eBay.

Israel Elgamil outbid competitors in an Internet charity auction so he could take his gripe straight to Charm City's top cop. With a bid of $660, he snagged the right to have happy hour with police Commissioner Leonard Hamm and State's Attorney Patricia Jessamy, who'd agreed to have drinks with the winner to benefit the Baltimore Child Abuse Center. The auction was back in the spring, but the three finally got together just this month.

Elgamil arrived at McCormick & Schmick's with a letter for Hamm describing an incident at his Northwest Baltimore house two years ago. According to Elgamil, he was having a Fourth of July cookout that day with at least 60 guests and a live band. A neighbor angered by the noise called police, who Elgamil said barged right into the house and dragged him out. He said he spent 24 hours in Central Booking on an assault charge, which was later dropped. (Elgamil, 32 and the father of four, has no criminal record. He owns a residential construction company.)

"I wanted to give them a personal feel for what happened to me," Elgamil said.

Sounds like that would take the "happy" out of any happy hour. But by all accounts, the get-together was pleasant. Over a couple of margaritas, Elgamil relayed his tale calmly and politely, spokespeople for Hamm and Jessamy said. He even tried to pick up the tab, but Hamm and Jessamy insisted on treating him.

"It was very enjoyable. I enjoyed it. They enjoyed it," said Elgamil. He said he found Hamm, who promised to look into the incident, to be "easygoing" if somewhat "stern." Jessamy "was just unbelievably pleasant." (No surprise there, since she's been beating the bad-arrest drum for months).

Only one person was put out: a rival eBayer. The bidder Elgamil beat out contacted him through the auction site and offered to buy him out for the $660 - plus an extra $500.

"He e-mailed me. He said, `I want to give them a piece of my mind,'" said Elgamil, who wasn't interested in reselling. "The commissioner got off easy."

Ah yes, I remember it well

William Donald Schaefer had something to say after all about the silver anniversary of his seal pool swim. Here's the message I found on my voice mail Friday, the day I ran a bit about the dip he took July 15, 1981, when he was 59: "Laura, you have a - oh, I was going to say `a sweet voice,' but I most likely would get a double editorial about that. But you do have a nice voice. My name is Schaefer. Talking about jumping in the pool. It was a great day. See ya." Click.

The name of the game is the name

No matter the William Donald Schaefer flap du jour, there are people out there who still think it's good politics to drop his name. People like Gov. Robert Ehrlich, who as of late last week was still airing an ad with a WDS quotation praising The Guv - a week after the comptroller demanded that the ad be pulled. "It's not fair to the comptroller," said Schaefer spokesman Mike Golden, who complained that that the ad "plays into the hands of those who unfairly criticize" the Democratic comptroller for being cozy with the Republican governor. "It should come down."

Ehrlich spokeswoman Shareese DeLeaver, who had previously declined to say whether they would kill the ad, told me this Friday: "The veracity of the quote has never been questioned, only its use."

Then there's Mike Schaefer, a Baltimore businessman who is running as a Democrat for U.S. Senate and contends on his campaign Web site that the famous last name will help his chances. "A few years ago, just across the MD line in VA, a businessman named Mark Warner, with no Virginia political experience, filed for Governor," the site says. "Just like in the TV show `Cheers,' everybody knew his name, thanks to longtime Senator John Warner. Mark won, served with distinction, and is now on his way to the White House."

No need for a mulligan

James Bready, a retired Evening Sun editorial writer, files this report:

"In the 1930s, Robert O. Bonnell Sr. introduced his 9-year-old son to golf. Swing like this, putt like that, etc. Robert O. Bonnell Jr. liked the game, and kept on playing. Seven decades later, aka the other day, during one more round at Elkridge, young Robert drove the green, walked after it, couldn't find the ball - until he looked in the cup. There 'twas: At last! His first hole in one."

Bready's source was Robert Jr. of Roland Park, now 81.

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