Earlier Schaefer will left six figures to girlfriend

May 31, 2011

For a man said to have been married to the city of Baltimore, William Donald Schaefer had a lot of women fighting over him.

His longtime companion, Hilda Mae Snoops, didn't get along with Lainy LeBow-Sachs, an aide since his days in City Hall. The rivalry simmered even after LeBow-Sachs married Baltimore developer Leonard Sachs in 1993. Snoops did not allow LeBow-Sachs into the governor’s mansion, so the latter resorted to sneaking in for her first tour as Schaefer was wrapping up his second term as governor, former Sun reporter C. Fraser Smith wrote in his biography of Schaefer.

A new rivalry sprang up after Snoops died in 1999 and Schaefer started dating Jeanne Bell, a friend since she'd volunteered on his first campaign for mayor in 1971. Conflict between the women came to a head in 2008, when Bell tried to help Schaefer stave off LeBow-Sachs' plan to move him to a retirement home.

Now that Schaefer has died, Bell and LeBow-Sachs have turned up on opposite ends of something else: his will, which was written in 2009.

LeBow-Sachs, who could receive close to $1 million, is the only six-figure beneficiary. Bell, who only got his stamp and plate collections, is the only one without a dollar sign beside her gift.

Their windfalls weren't always so mismatched.

I recently got my hands on a copy of an earlier version of Schaefer's will, dated 2005. In that version, LeBow-Sachs' bequest was about the same as in the current will, but Bell would have received money and real estate totaling about $860,000.

Check out the story now online, or in Wednesday's Sun.

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