Who knew? Ex-mayor's Xbox is the draw on eBay

March 17, 2010|By Laura Vozzella laura.vozzella@baltsun.com

The mink sold! For $2,426. The Persian lamb went for $1,700. The camcorder, $510.

Sheila Dixon's ill-gotten goods went to the highest bidders in eBay auctions this week. We knew the stuff would sell, but there was a surprise: The ex-mayor's Xbox will fetch the highest price. It was up to $3,000 Wednesday, with one more day to go.

A used game system like that normally would go for about $99. Certainly there is a notoriety factor; this game system helped take down a mayor.

But the same is true for the furs. And really, if you're shopping for a fallen-mayor keepsake, isn't it the mink or lamb? Paid for by a lover-developer, the furs speak to Dixon's lust for status and fashion, her mixing of romance and municipal largess.

The Xbox? Bought with gift cards from developer Pat Turner, whom she didn't date. Enjoyed, we can safely assume, by Dixon's kids, not the mayor. I don't get the outsized appeal. Prosecutors don't, either.

But Deputy State Prosecutor Thomas McDonough offered a theory: The Xbox was the only auctioned item that was evidence in Dixon's jury trial. The furs and camcorder were part of a separate case that never went to trial.

"I certainly thought the mink" would be the highest-dollar item, he said.

Then again, as with all things Dixon, we've learned to expect the unexpected. You know, like billing a poor city for hair-styling services - after she'd been convicted of taking gift cards from the poor.

Imagine what those hair clippings could fetch on eBay.

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and some relatives had dinner the other night at Alonso's in North Baltimore, and while they dined, one of their cars was towed from the S'ghetti Eddie's lot across the street.

It was not the mayoral SUV, but a sedan belonging to Rawlings-Blake's aunt, who was visiting from New York.

The car was soon towed back to the lot, and the aunt did not have to pay the usual $250 fee.

Can Aunt Illegally Parked credit mayoral intervention?

No, it was a higher power: Dr. Nina Rawlings, the mayor's mom.

Dr. Rawlings is an old friend of Eddie Dopkin, owner of S'ghetti Eddie's, who called the tow-truck driver.

"We did bring it back," he said, "but it really had nothing to do with the mayor."

City Councilman Nick D'Adamo was meeting with Mayor Rawlings-Blake late Monday morning when someone came in and said the building was being evacuated.

D'Adamo thought it was a ruse to get the mayor downstairs for her surprise 40th birthday luncheon. An SRB staffer had to convince him it was for real.

The true surprise came later - for party planners. Because City Hall was shut down for more than an hour and Rawlings-Blake had an afternoon appointment outside the building, she never made it to the party.

Rawlings-Blake still got D'Adamo's present. A Starbucks gift card.

Connect the dots ...
Michael Steele has been under fire for a GOP fundraising letter masquerading as an official U.S. census document. He should also get spanked for mailing one to a well-known Maryland Dem: Howard County Exec Ken Ulman. ... People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals asked prosecutors to donate Dixon's furs to the homeless instead of auctioning them. "Although we can't give the animals their lives back, these coats can help the destitute," PETA senior VP Dan Mathews wrote. The prosecutor didn't bite. But the money raised from the sale will go to charity. ... Driving Miss Stephanie: The mayor's driver in the St. Patrick's Day parade was Gerard Martin, lawyer for Ronald Lipscomb, ex-Mayor Dixon's gift-lavishing ex. Not that the subject came up. "We chatted about other stuff," Martin said. ... Some ex-Ehrlich associates had a "summit" recently at the Waterfront Hotel in Fells Point. At the end, prince-turned-blogger Joe Steffen asked former Public Service Commission chief of staff Craig Chesek whether he thought Ehrlich could beat O'Malley. "Chesek's answer was an emphatic and succinct 'Hell, no!' " Steffen reports on his blog. I followed up with Chesek, who clarified that he thought it would be "a difficult race" but not impossible. He added: "Having beers with Joe, well, things can get colorful." ...One day we're sure Bob Ehrlich is running for governor. The next, he hints about challenging Sen. Barbara Mikulski. We know this much for certain: He still likes golf. Ehrlich just taped an appearance on "Views From the Rough," an Internet-based golf talk show. ... Speaking of governors with hobbies, O'Malley's March plays Saturday at the Recher Theatre in Towson. The band's Web site still features a photo of Martin O'Malley in a black muscle shirt. ... WBAL-TV's Kate Amara was making small talk with city social services director Molly McGrath after an interview Wednesday. "With a name like that, you must be doing something interesting for St. Patrick's Day," Amara said. Sure enough, McGrath is in an Irish band, the Sock Factory Trio. It opens for O'Malley's March on Saturday.

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