Two fur coats formerly owned by Dixon join Xbox on eBay

State prosecutor to donate proceeds from online auction to city summer jobs program

March 10, 2010|By Julie Scharper | Baltimore Sun reporter

The coats -- one fashioned from lustrous mink, the other from whorls of sable-colored Persian lamb -- rest on hangers from a high-end furrier. A tag is looped around each fur, marked with the name of the woman who once owned them, and, in bold, black letters: "EVIDENCE."

One would not normally expect to find two fur coats hanging in a conference room in the Office of the State Prosecutor. But these furs have a remarkable past: gifts to Baltimore's former mayor, Sheila Dixon, from a developer ex-boyfriend, they were seized by investigators after Dixon failed to disclose them on city ethics forms.

Dixon surrendered the furs to the state last month as part of a plea deal to settle charges of embezzlement and perjury.

And now begins yet another interesting chapter in the coats' histories -- the state prosecutor's office is selling them on the online auction site eBay.

"This is a first for our office," said State Prosecutor Robert A. Rohrbaugh, who led the two-year City Hall corruption investigation.

The coats were posted Wednesday afternoon, joining an Xbox video game system that was seized from Dixon's home and put up for auction earlier this week. Bids on the Xbox have soared to $800, more than seven times the going rate for comparable equipment.

"I never in a million years would have thought the price would go up that high," said Rohrbaugh. "But the higher the better."

The proceeds raised by the coats, the game system and a camcorder that, prosecutors say, Dixon bought with gift cards intended for the poor, will be donated to YouthWorks, one of the former mayor's favorite projects. The program provides summer jobs for city teens.

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