Trying on the mink that helped topple Baltimore's mayor

Rohrbaugh gives media a look as evidence goes on sale

March 10, 2010|By Laura Vozzella | laura.vozzella@baltsun.com

I tried on Sheila Dixon's mink, and it felt, well, dirty.

The fur itself was perfectly clean, but both pockets contained a strange, pebbly something. Like sand. Or tiny seeds. Or the remains of a tattered soul.

Whatever it is, Dixon's grit goes to the highest bidder, along with the burnt umber coat, the Mano Swartz hanger and - best of all - the red evidence tag.

State Prosecutor Robert A. Rohrbaugh put the mink on eBay Wednesday along with a sporty, worn-looking Persian lamb jacket that also contributed to the mayor's undoing. Rohrbaugh invited the media to his Towson office to take a look at the coats - and try them on.

The Sun's Julie Scharper, WBAL's Jayne Miller and WJZ's Mary Bubala had a look-see and left it at that. But I couldn't resist slipping on that mink. Not that I share Dixon's passion for fur. But a mink that took down a mayor? That's something!

I'm hoping the jackets go to a good home. And I have one in mind. The furs that adorned and destroyed Baltimore's first female mayor would be perfect for the Maryland Women's Heritage Center and Museum.

What was in that thing?
An answer, finally, to one of the last, nagging mysteries of State of Maryland v. Sheila Ann Dixon: What the heck was in the cooler that investigators were seen taking out of Dixon's home after their June 2008 raid?

Peanut butter sandwiches and insulin.

Investigator Drayton Peterson is diabetic. He needs insulin, which must be kept cool, and regular meals, even when he's raiding the mayor's house.

"We didn't know if we'd be in there four hours or 24 hours," said Peterson, who was around Wednesday when Rohrbaugh showed off the furs.

As it turned out, they were there for seven hours - long enough for another investigator to bum a sandwich from Peterson.

Not that mean
So just what did Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake eat the night before she was hospitalized for "gastrointestinal difficulties"?

A Corks pork chop.

Credit City Hall reporter Scharper for sniffing out that nugget.

And credit Corks chef Jerry Pellegrino for having a sense of humor when I called to ask him about it.

The busy chef hadn't heard about the mayor's hospitalization, so I explained that Rawlings-Blake had experienced symptoms that initially sounded like a heart attack but turned out to be agita.

Pellegrino, a fan of the new mayor, said his pork chop should not be construed as an attempted City Hall coup.

"We make a mean pork chop," he said, "but it's not actually mean enough to give somebody a heart attack."

Who pays the tab?
Christopher Gray of Reisterstown would like to know who is going to pay the $112.86 Hilton Garden Inn bill he racked up after the water main break.

"After 3 days of having no water, no ability to flush toilets or take showers ... I finally decided enough was enough and I would spend the night in a hotel in Owings Mills," he wrote to Mayor Rawlings-Blake, County Exec Jim Smith and city public works spokesman Kurt L. Kocher. "I've attached my receipt from my hotel stay from the previous evening. ... [H]opefully one of you can point me in the right direction and help get me reimbursed due to your collectively slow responses (and not to mention vague information provided to the public throughout this crisis) to this issue."

Good luck with that, Chris.

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