The party nobody knows about


August 25, 2006|By LAURA VOZZELLA

Remember those blowout "Jamaican Me Crazy" parties that Tommy Bromwell used to throw at Canton's Bay Cafe back in the day? Nothing but boring bull roasts ever since the guy got out of politics and into trouble. But why should a little thing like a RICO indictment get in the way of a good time?

Rumor has it that the ex-state senator is planning a fundraiser for his legal defense fund at the Bay Cafe. A woman who answered the phone there told me the place will be closed for a private party from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 3. The name on the reservation? Tom Bromwell.

I tried to ask Bromwell himself yesterday, but he didn't call me back. Too busy minding the state's worker's compensation insurance fund, no doubt. I did reach his lawyer, Joshua Treem, who said: "I can't help you."

Does that mean he doesn't know about any fundraiser? Or is he just not commenting?

"I can't help you," he repeated. "That's all I can say."

That ship has sailed

Every year for the past 15, Legg Mason's Bill Miller has beaten the S&P 500. But it's not looking good for this year. Miller 'splained himself in a letter to shareholders a few weeks back, but Barron's thinks it has the real answer. A boat. A big boat.

"This summer," the financial weekly reported, "Miller bought a huge yacht in Europe to vacation on and put out for charter. According to the rumor mill, the boat is nearly 280 feet long, close to the length of a football field. Miller initially declined to discuss the boat, or any other aspect of his personal life. Then he offered that the vessel was bigger than a rowboat but smaller than 280 feet. In fact, it's about 190 feet long, according to a person at Legg Mason."

True? Through a spokeswoman, Miller declined to comment on the size of the boat - or the connection Barron's drew between it and his unusual slump: "The purchase might have given Miller solace during his summer of discontent. But where, these days, are his customers' yachts?"

The company goes 'round and 'round

Aether Systems has reinvented itself so many times that it may come full circle. So says a super-secret source. Well, OK, my husband, who worked for Aether way back in the dot-com era, when it was an Owings Mills wireless data giant. It later morphed into a mortgage-backed securities company, then an investment-banking firm, and now, the Athlete's Foot. Surely it's just a step away from re-creating the technology that lets workers share data when the network is down, by walking floppies from one computer to another: "sneakernet." (Google it. It's a tech term.)

What next? Overstimulated toddlers at IKEA's playroom

Dirty bombs. Plane crashes. School bus rollovers. These are the kinds of large-scale disasters that emergency responders hope they never see - but have to be ready for. That's why they do mock disaster drills. But even in a post-9/11 world, how do you explain the "mock party dispersal?"

"Youth volunteers will help simulate an out-of-control underage drinking party," says a news release for the event, sponsored by the U.S. Justice Department. "Dozens of youth acting inebriated will take part. ... Visuals include teens pretending to be drunk, law enforcement breaking up the party and apprehending fleeing youths, and care of alcohol poisoning victims."

The drill, part of what was billed as the "world's largest youth alcohol conference," took place last night at the Pier Five Hotel.

Wouldn't it have been easier just to walk over to Power Plant Live and break up the real thing?

The candidate to have when you're having more than one

Anybody out there think it's a little goofy that there's a guy running for U.S. Senate on nothing more than his famous last name? Well, it gets goofier than that. Turns out that Mike Schaefer - no relation to the former Baltimore mayor, former governor, current comptroller - has run for office in other places where his name rings a bell.

"Perennial candidate Mike Schaefer is once again banking that his surname will help him win an election," a March 2004 Las Vegas Review-Journal article begins.

In that race - Schaefer's "19th bid for office" - he was challenging Nevada state Sen. Ray Shaffer. He also ran in the Las Vegas area to succeed Jared Shafer as a county public administrator, the paper reported. Adding to the confusion, he copied the colors of the other candidates' signs, the paper said.

What does Schaefer, 68 and a Baltimore landlord, have to say for himself?

"I'm guilty of running as a Schaefer," he said. He contends his scheme has a certain political purity.

"It's darn tough to raise campaign funds," he said. "If you have $500,000 in name recognition from one way or another, this allows you to start out with a bang without having sell your soul. It enables me to come to the office without pre-commitments from other donors."

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