Welcome, Mr. Abramoff

November 16, 2006

Admittedly, there will be no chartered jets. No golfing weekends in Scotland. Not even a Super Bowl luxury box to share with his friends on the Hill. But if Inmate No. 27593-112 likes hills, at least he'll be surrounded by them. Of course, that won't be the only thing surrounding Cumberland's newest and most famous resident, former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. He's also got prison bars and razor wire.

As of yesterday, Mr. Abramoff's new address is at the minimum-security camp next to FCI (that's Federal Correctional Institution to you civilians) in Cumberland. Instead of earning millions of dollars lavishing outrageously expensive gifts, meals or campaign donations on politicians, he'll likely be making 12 cents to 40 cents an hour performing some menial work at the facility.

Western Maryland may not be located inside the Capital Beltway, but it has its perks. For instance, while Mr. Abramoff may no longer own a restaurant, there's no shortage of dining options. They include the suitably named Crabby Pig that features both steamed crabs and barbecue. For the power lunch, there's a hot dog with Coney Island sauce at Curtis' Coney Island Famous Weiners. And while the local demand for limousine or private jet service is somewhat limited, there's always an authentic $23 steam engine ride on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad ($44 for big-timers who like to ride first-class).

Mr. Abramoff probably won't be taking in the sights of Maryland's Queen City anytime soon, of course. The federal Bureau of Prisons plans to keep him incarcerated for the next five years and 10 months - and that's just for his conviction on a fraudulent casino ship deal in Florida. He's still to be sentenced for corrupting government officials. So there's really just one more piece of advice for such a powerful Washington insider who felt himself above the law: Please make yourself at home.

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