Hey, Judge, he's a good guy


November 16, 2007|By LAURA VOZZELLA

Tommy Bromwell can't be all bad. He got something good out of Bob Irsay.

The former state senator will be sentenced today by U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz, who could send him away for nearly eight years. Exhibit A in Bromwell's case for mercy: a stack of "Dear Judge Motz" letters. A congressman, a banker and scores of others vouched for Bromwell's years of constituent service and many personal kindnesses.

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger wrote as if he were dutifully answering a public information request. "Former Senator Tommy Bromwell requested I write to you to communicate my experience working with Tommy when he was a member of the Maryland General Assembly," the congressman began.

But other letters - some handwritten, a couple typed in all caps - came across as heartfelt. They talked about a politician who cared about the little guy, who helped form a Boy Scout troop for handicapped kids, who dropped everything to pick up a friend's kids from school so she could stay at the hospital with her dying father.

They entirely avoid the bribes and no-show job for Bromwell's wife, or tiptoe around the subject. One of his all-caps defenders went the "Recent Unpleasantness" route: "DESPITE THE ISSUES THAT BRING ABOUT THE COMPOSITION OF THIS LETTER ... ."

One of the more emotional appeals came from Barbara Preis of Perry Hall, who's known Bromwell since they were grade-schoolers in Perry Hall. Several months ago, she bumped into him. He was no longer the Tommy she'd known, the young man considering the priesthood. But neither was he the cocky, corrupt wheeler-dealer caught on FBI tape. He was a grown man reduced to tears at a gas station.

"He hugged me and cried and said `I am not a bad person,'" Preis wrote. "I believe that to be true."

Also vouching Bromwell was John Phillips of Sparks, who said he was his best friend when they were schoolboys.

"My father was a diehard Baltimore Colts fan," Phillips wrote. "He didn't miss a game from the time the Colts came to Baltimore [in 1953] until they left in 1983. As he got older and his health declined it became a little more difficult to walk from where we parked to the stadium. Tommy took the time to write a letter to Robert Irsay, the owner of the Colts at that time, and requested a special parking spot for my father. The next thing I knew, we had a special permit to park with the members of the Press."

Enclosed with Phillips' letter was the one Bromwell wrote to Irsay, Oct. 11, 1979. If the Colts owner could be swayed by mail, Phillips reasons, Motz might be, too.

Blow out candles; wish for a tax bill

If Martin O'Malley eventually gets his way with the General Assembly, don't credit gubernatorial arm-twisting. Credit William O'Malley's birthday cake.

On Saturday, the governor was living the live-near-your-work dream - dashing back and forth between the State House, where delegates were meeting, and Government House, where 10-year-old William was having his birthday party.

"At one point, a number of delegates made their way over to the house to have some birthday cake," O'Malley spokesman Rick Abbruzzese said.

Which delegates? Abbruzzese wasn't saying. And no, there were no moon-bouncing lawmakers - but only because there was no moon bounce. (Inflatable fun went out with the last regime.)

The governor's son and the mooching delegates didn't have to settle for one of those Crisco-frosted sheetcakes from Giant. (No offense, of course, to the union bakers who make those trans-fatty supermarket cakes.)

Government House pastry chef Cathy Ferguson created a three-tiered confection of chocolate cake and mousse. She dolled it up in Ace-of-Cakes-quality fondant to look like a pile of presents. The boy known around the mansion as "junior governor" likes presents, mansion manager Ruth Roadarmel said.

Forget Wii. For his birthday, the politically precocious William probably wanted his dad's tax package passed.

Connect the dots

Looks like Charles Ramsey really did want to return to big-city policing. The former D.C. chief, a front-runner for Baltimore's top cop in Mayor Sheila Dixon's less-than-global search, was picked yesterday to lead the Philadelphia police. ... A 70-year-old Catholic woman was miffed to read in this space about a bunch of bishops drinking $55-a-bottle Vino Nobile de Montepulciano, Avignonesi 2004 at Baltimore's swanky Cinghiale restaurant. "I doubt very much that they serve that as communion wine," she said. ... While reporting on those wining-and-dining bishops, I managed to give one of them a promotion. I referred to Archbishop Edwin O'Brien as "His Eminence." That honorific applied to O'Brien's predecessor, William Keeler, but only because he's a cardinal. So attention, Cinghiale servers: Please address the conventioneers at tables 32 and 42 as "Your Excellency" or, in the case of the archbishop, "Your Grace."

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