The Dixon Legal Battle, Through The Years

The Mayor On Trial

December 02, 2009

Here's how the legal issues for Mayor Sheila Dixon have unfolded over the years:

July 27, 2003: The Baltimore Sun reveals that then-City Council President Sheila Dixon and nine council members have hired relatives as paid assistants and that all members receive gifts and other perks. Federal prosecutors subsequently launch a public corruption investigation of the council.

March 18, 2005: Federal prosecutors shut down their investigation without charging anyone.

Feb. 9, 2006: The Baltimore Sun details how Dixon voted on government contracts awarded to a company, Utech, that employed her sister.

March 12, 2006: The Baltimore Sun reveals that Dixon steered at least $600,000 of government work to her former campaign chairman, Dale G. Clark. The state prosecutor's office begins an investigation.

Dec. 19, 2006: A grand jury indicts Utech owner Mildred E. Boyer for theft, lying on loan documents and filing false tax returns.

Aug. 30, 2007: Clark is charged with failing to file state income tax returns for several of the years in which he did the government work.

Sept. 24, 2007: Clark pleads guilty and agrees to cooperate with the state prosecutor's investigation into City Hall spending practices.

Nov. 28, 2007: Prosecutors search the East Baltimore offices of developer Ronald H. Lipscomb's company, Doracon Contracting Inc., alleging a "corrupt relationship" between Dixon and Lipscomb in their affidavit for the search-and-seizure warrant.

March 10, 2008: Boyer pleads guilty to falsifying tax returns and agrees to cooperate with prosecutors.

June 17, 2008: Dixon's West Baltimore home is raided by the state prosecutor's office.

June 24, 2008: An article in The Baltimore Sun says prosecutors are investigating gifts that Dixon received from Lipscomb at a time that she, as City Council president, was supporting tax breaks for his development projects. Dixon and Lipscomb acknowledge that they had a personal relationship in late 2003 and early 2004.

Jan. 7, 2009: A Baltimore grand jury indicts City Councilwoman Helen L. Holton and Lipscomb on bribery charges in connection with his payment of a political poll for her at the time that he was seeking tax breaks for one of his development projects.

Jan. 9, 2009: Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon is indicted. Among the 12 charges were perjury for failing to report gifts from Lipscomb on her city ethics forms and theft for spending gift cards intended to be distributed to the city's needy.

May 28, 2009: Judge Dennis M. Sweeney dismisses four perjury charges and one misconduct charge against Dixon, saying they were based on improper evidence. He dismisses all criminal charges against Holton.

June 22, 2009: On the day his trial is to begin, Lipscomb accepts a deal in which the bribery charge is dropped and he pleads guilty to violating campaign finance law for paying for Holton's poll. He also agrees to cooperate with prosecutors in their case against Dixon.

June 28, 2009: Bakery magnate and Inner Harbor East developer John Paterakis is indicted for campaign finance violations for helping to pay for Holton's poll. Holton is indicted again and charged with violating campaign finance law.

July 29, 2009: Dixon is re-indicted and charged with nine criminal counts, including perjury and theft. The charges stem from the same incidents as the original indictments - failure to report gifts from Lipscomb on ethics forms; spending gift cards intended for the needy - but based on different evidence.

Sept. 4, 2009: Paterakis pleads guilty to campaign finance violations.

Sept. 30, 2009: Attorneys decide that Dixon will face two separate trials, one on theft charges related to the gift cards and the other on the perjury charges stemming from the failure to report Lipscomb's gifts.

Nov. 9, 2009: Dixon goes on trial facing charges of theft, embezzlement and misconduct in office in connection with gift cards donated for the city's poor.

Dec. 1, 2009: Jurors convict Dixon on a single charge of taking gift cards.

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