Let's litigate ourselves a few brews


August 30, 2006|By LAURA VOZZELLA

If Sam Adams can be both brewer and patriot, why shouldn't Steve Fogleman be beer-taster and prosecutor? The Democratic challenger for Baltimore City state's attorney is the sole, official "consumer taster" for the Boston Beer Co. Every month or two, the makers of Sam Adams ship Fogleman some experimental brew to see what he thinks of it - the aroma, body, mouth feel, etc. Fogleman, who got the gig by winning a national tasting contest a year ago, feels like Charlie getting the run of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. No matter that the job pays peanuts. "They pay me in the low three figures," Fogleman said. "That's only so they can sue me for some trade secrets if I went and took one of their beers to the Otto Slugworth of Baltimore."

So it seems that Fogleman won't commit political suicide at his fundraiser tonight, when he serves supporters his own, homemade beer and wine. How does he rate his own stuff?

"I would say it's a B beer," he said. "But I think B home-brew beers are A-minus beers, and sometimes A-plus beers. Most of the time when you home brew, you make something better than any macro brew."

The ticket to Princeton

It's tough to truth-squad campaign ads that are the touchy-feely, biographical sort. If Martin O'Malley's mom says she loves him, how do you check that out? One of Gov. Robert Ehrlich's TV ads describes how, as a working-class kid, he got an Ivy League education. The spot is titled "Opportunity." And it deserves a look-see for what it leaves out. Namely, means and motive.

"My folks didn't come from a lot of money," Ehrlich says, his boyhood Arbutus rowhouse in the background. "College was going to be difficult under any circumstances. So I worked hard. Received a few scholarships. Played some football. And sold sandwiches for pocket money."

All true. But Ehrlich forgot to mention another, more colorful moneymaking scheme from his Princeton days.

"While wealthier classmates enjoyed weekend ski jaunts, Ehrlich pushed a hoagie cart around campus to earn extra cash, worked construction and scalped tickets to sporting events, which was illegal," The Washington Post reported in October 2002. "A teammate rounded up complimentary tickets to Princeton basketball and hockey games. Ehrlich hawked them, netting the pair as much as $ 1,500 a game. `I was the face guy,' he says."

"Ehrlich's scalping career ended with a police sting operation," the article continued. "A police officer told Ehrlich that he was under arrest, but a Princeton proctor rescued him. `The proctor took good care of me,' Ehrlich says. `He was a big football fan. He got me out of there.'"

No, he wasn't there to FIX a leak

Please, please, please tell me there is more to the break-in at Martin O'Malley's campaign HQ than a drunk guy from outta town looking for a place to go potty. Here are the fishy details that offer hope for Watergate-style entertainment.

No. 1: Third-Rate Burglary, First-Rate Access. Jason Yereance of Walpole, Maine, was supposedly able to pull open the back door of a big office building - one that requires swipe cards for the elevator; walk up a stairwell and through a door that should have been locked, but was propped open; and stroll into O'Malley's office, which the campaign's finance guy - someone trusted with money! - forgot to lock. Even the Watergate crew needed tape on the doors.

No. 2: Political Ties. Yereance's fiancee told The Sun's Nicole Fuller, "He's not political." But there he was, bashing a fishery conservation law in the Providence Journal two years ago, when he worked as a fisherman. "They need to slack off on the regulation," Yereance said, sounding suspiciously GOP.

No. 3. Shady Occupation. It's not like Yereance is ex-CIA. Or a "plumber." But a tugboat operator on a business trip? Do tugboat operators take business trips? Aren't tugboaters a short-haul lot?

Here, sadly, the story holds water. Turns out tugboats don't just hang out at the mouths of their home harbors anymore, waiting to give big ships an assist. For reasons tied to things like licensing rules and improved tugboat technology, tugboats often move barges laden with oil and containers up and down the coast, says Warner Ogden, owner of Sea Tow, in Boothbay, Maine.

If that's news to you, Ogden says you shouldn't feel bad. "It's an arcane side of American shipping."

Connect the dots

Romance was on the menu at Morton's in Baltimore two Saturdays ago. No fewer than three men proposed to their dinner dates. One per weekend is more the norm, the staff says. ... Plastered on the back window of Bruce Bereano's Mercedes: bumper stickers for Robert Ehrlich, William Donald Schaefer, Stu Simms, Paula Hollinger and George Johnson. "Today, someone called my car a pimp mobile," Bereano said. "And I'll proudly say it is." ... Wegmans offers a sweet deal for blood donors: "a pint for a pint." Anyone who gives blood at the Hunt Valley store Sept. 16 and 17 gets a free pint of ice cream. ...

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