Sun coverage: Dixon resignation

Dixon pleads guilty, receives probation, resigns post, effective in February

Surrounded by members of her staff, Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon announces that she will resign, part of a plea deal that brought a years-long corruption investigation to a close and ended the tenure of the city's first female mayor.

Dixon left office Feb. 4, the day she was sentenced both for a guilty plea she entered in a perjury case and for her embezzlement conviction in December 2009. She kept her $83,000 pension, and her criminal record will be wiped clean if she completes the terms of her probation within four years.

A teary Dixon returned to City Hall to announce her resignation, saying that she was doing so "with deep regret and sadness." She did not apologize but said there would come a time, after sentencing, that she could give her full side of the story.

"I love the city. I love the people of this city," said Dixon, who was raised in West Baltimore, where she still lives. "Now it's time to move on." (Baltimore Sun photo by Karl Merton Ferron / January 6, 2010)

Sun coverage: Dixon resignation

February 25, 2010

In public return, Dixon dwells on achievements

Three weeks after resigning as mayor in a cloud of scandal, Sheila Dixon was back in the spotlight Wednesday night.

3:20 AM EST, February 24, 2010

In this case, gifts help start a career, not end one

Turns out gift cards aren't the most unimaginative gift out there. Just ask Pat Turner's wife.

Young unanimously elected Baltimore City Council president

February 9, 2010

Young unanimously elected Baltimore City Council president

Bernard C. "Jack" Young, a veteran East Baltimore councilman, was elected president of the City Council by a unanimous vote Monday evening.

February 5, 2010

Rawlings-Blake sworn in as mayor

Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake was sworn in Thursday afternoon as the city's 49th mayor, pledging to "build a better, safer, stronger Baltimore."

February 5, 2010

Dixon remains unapologetic, silent to the end

Sheila Dixon sat silently in court Thursday during her final hours as mayor of Baltimore, receiving a scolding from a judge who said she was leaving office "in total disgrace" after stealing gift cards intended for needy families and would carry a "badge of dishonor" for the rest of her life.

February 5, 2010

You missed your chance to explain, Citizen Dixon

Sheila Dixon was given one more chance to address or, dare we dream, even apologize for the wayward gift cards, the dalliance with the developer and the rest of the sordid mess that forced her from office yesterday.

An education  in politics

February 4, 2010

SUN PROFILE

An education in politics

On the first day of kindergarten at Grace and St. Peter's School, a quiet girl was sitting alone, a new student in a room of boisterous children. • Stephanie Rawlings marched up, introduced herself and took charge: "You're going to play with us and be our friend." • That she was bossy and self-assured from an early age - her mother thinks her first complete sentence was "I did it myself" - might come as no surprise to those who have seen only the public side of Baltimore's next mayor.

February 4, 2010

Dixon takes time to contemplate

The guest of honor moved through the restaurant in a black suit and pumps, surrounded by colleagues, well-wishers and staff members angling for a moment with the boss.

February 4, 2010

Dan Rodricks: A generational change the city needs

Starting today, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has an opportunity to recharge the city and become the leader of a new generation of public-spirited citizens who have the most to say about what kind of place Baltimore becomes in the next decade.

3:20 AM EST, February 3, 2010

Laura Vozzella: Swearing-in promises to be intimate affair

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's swearing-in will be less ice-sculpture-bedecked "Jewels of Baltimore" and more LBJ on Air Force One. A stricken-looking Sheila Dixon might stand by in a pink suit, if only she were invited.

February 4, 2010

As new mayor starts, police promise results

At the end of 2002, Baltimore's homicide tally stood at 253. It was considered a remarkable achievement: the third consecutive yearly drop that finally ended the stigma of the 1990s, a decade in which more than 300 people were killed each year.

February 3, 2010

Scathing memo backs Dixon deal

The Maryland state prosecutor released a scathing memo Tuesday supporting the plea deal that will lead Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon to step down Thursday, calling her attitude "unrepentant" and "laughable."

February 3, 2010

The work we did

My final full day in office begins like my first -- full of hope for Baltimore City. I love this city and leave City Hall after 23 years in public service secure in the knowledge that Baltimore's best days are ahead. It has been a privilege to serve the people of this great city, but it is time now for me to move on and begin a new chapter in my life.

February 2, 2010

Council members dish up praise for Dixon at her final lunch

The City Council members juggled plates of macaroni and cheese and fried fish with notes on bills to be presented at their meeting that evening. But the focus of Monday's council luncheon was not the proposed hearing on leaf blowers or more beds for an old age home. One by one, the legislators stood up to thank their hostess, Mayor Sheila Dixon.

January 27, 2010

City ethics panel approves new rules on gifts

The city's ethics board approved new regulations Tuesday for the solicitation of gifts by city employees - an issue raised during Mayor Sheila Dixon's legal troubles.

January 26, 2010

A behind-the-scenes push for Cole

Since the announcement that City Council President Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake would become mayor after Sheila Dixon's resignation, a majority of council members have declared their support for a colleague, veteran Councilman Bernard C. "Jack" Young, to fill the president's office.

January 26, 2010

Measures would target ethical issues raised during Dixon probe

Baltimore City Council members took the first step toward ethics reform Monday night when two bills were introduced to address issues that arose during the criminal investigation of Mayor Sheila Dixon, who resigned as part of a plea deal to resolve the case.

January 22, 2010

Rawlings-Blake urged to support Young to succeed her

The contest for Baltimore City Council president took a new turn Thursday when the city's state Senate delegation sent a letter to the current council president and mayor-to-be Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake, asking her to support Councilman Bernard C. "Jack" Young.

January 21, 2010

Rawlings-Blake proposes changes on city ethics board

Baltimore City Council President Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake is proposing broad changes in the way the city handles ethics, an issue that came to the forefront during the corruption investigation that ultimately led to Mayor Sheila Dixon's resignation.

January 13, 2010

Dixon's pension deal draws protest

About 30 people shook signs and chanted in front of City Hall Tuesday afternoon to protest the $83,000 annual pension Mayor Sheila Dixon will receive after resigning from office as part of a plea deal.

January 12, 2010

Rawlings-Blake calls anger over Dixon pension 'understandable'

Baltimore's mayor-to-be Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake vowed Monday to re-examine the city's pension plan for elected leaders in the wake of outrage over Mayor Sheila Dixon's $83,000-a-year benefit and to strengthen ethics laws governing city officials.

January 10, 2010

Dan Rodricks: The crimes, forgivable. But that pension?

Sheila Dixon made history - the first woman elected mayor of Baltimore, and apparently the nation's first female big-city mayor to resign over criminal charges. Her trial took place in the courthouse where, in 1973, a vice president of the United States (and former Maryland governor and Baltimore County executive) named Spiro T. Agnew pleaded no contest to tax evasion in connection with thousands of dollars in kickbacks and bribes gladly taken during all but one of his 11 years in elected office.

January 10, 2010

BACK STORY

City had 9 other mayors resign; a 10th was Union POW

Mayor Sheila Dixon, who announced last week that she will resign and leave office on Feb. 4, is not the first Baltimore mayor to take that path.

January 10, 2010

A few words of advice

As the daughter of a renowned state legislator and a member of the Baltimore City Council for nearly her entire adult life, Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake has seen the city transform in the hands of numerous leaders. On Feb. 4, when she is sworn in as the city's 49th mayor, she gets her own chance to shepherd the city into a new era.

A new mayor's capital ties

January 9, 2010

A new mayor's capital ties

Gov. Martin O'Malley greeted mayor-to-be Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake on Friday, exuding pride that a politician he had mentored had risen to the small circle of Baltimore chief executives.

January 9, 2010

Dixon says Lipscomb lied about gifts

Two days after pleading guilty to perjury and announcing she would resign from office, Mayor Sheila Dixon on Friday lashed out at the former boyfriend and developer whose lavish gifts to her contributed to her downfall.

January 9, 2010

Other mayors' pensions top Dixon's

With her annual pension secured by a plea agreement and a promise to leave office, Mayor Sheila Dixon can soon enjoy one of the most lucrative retirement benefits of any public employee in Maryland.

Rawlings-Blake orders review, stresses public safety

January 8, 2010

Rawlings-Blake orders review, stresses public safety

City Council President Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake ordered Thursday a comprehensive review of all city agencies and pledged to keep key public safety leaders in place as she began taking the reins of the city's highest office in the wake of Mayor Sheila Dixon's resignation. Rawlings-Blake, who will ascend to mayor as the city struggles with a historic budget crisis, spoke of the "awesome and enormous responsibility" that comes with the mayor's office.

January 8, 2010

4 council members vie for presidency

Now that City Council President Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake will become mayor in February, the job she is leaving is up for grabs and council members wasted little time expressing their interest in the office.

January 8, 2010

Dan Rodricks: For city, Rawlings-Blake a fine reflection of her father

In Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake, Baltimoreans get a young, bright and serious new mayor who could bring some urgently needed stability to city government even as she faces one of the toughest fiscal challenges in municipal history. She's the No-Drama Queen, and that should suit everyone around here just fine. Faced with a projected budget shortfall of $127 million or more in the coming fiscal year, the last thing Baltimoreans need from City Hall is more drama.

January 8, 2010

Laura Vozzella: Rawlings-Blake's different style may be what city needs

Sheila Dixon had her faults, but I'll say one thing for her: She wanted to be mayor. Dixon had passion for the city and politics, sometimes too much of it, having famously brandished a shoe in a heated debate in City Council chambers.

January 7, 2010

Dixon resigns

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon resigned Wednesday, part of a plea deal that brings a years-long corruption investigation to a close and ends the tenure of the city's first female mayor.

January 7, 2010

Career built on grit and empathy ends

Sheila Dixon's natural instinct has always been to fight. She battled to become City Council president, and, later, mayor of Baltimore. She attained the office in 2007 after a decade of preparation.

January 7, 2010

Ambitious Rawlings-Blake faces big challenge

Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake, the daughter of a powerful former state delegate, knew she wanted to pursue a career in politics at an age when most girls are playing with dolls. And within months of graduating from law school, she was elected to the City Council, where she earned a reputation for a terse, businesslike style and eventually rose to the council presidency.

January 7, 2010

The Dixon plea agreement and what it means

Mayor Sheila Dixon's plea deal - crafted in legal terms such as Probation Before Judgment and Alford plea - left many questions about her criminal record and her future. Here's a primer on the arrangement and the events it will trigger:

January 7, 2010

Dan Rodricks: An apology from Dixon? Forget about it and be glad it's over

And there you are, my fellow citizens - resignation by the mayor of Baltimore, and without a formal apology. But you can't always get what you want. Sheila Dixon was not about to say she was sorry for anything. If you were thinking that might happen, you need to see a doctor; your expectations are too high and you probably need to go on a reduced-Pollyanna diet.

January 7, 2010

Jean Marbella: Mayor kept fighting, even after last bell rang

A plea agreement that settles a case never quite has the drama of a verdict - like a boxing match that ends in a decision rather than a knockout.

January 7, 2010

Jay Hancock: Pension should cushion fall from grace

What's the difference between a criminal conviction and "probation before judgment"?

January 7, 2010

Laura Vozzella: Dixon leaves City Hall as the giver who just plain keeps on giving

Politicians everywhere get sold to the highest bidder. In Baltimore their coats do, too. Sheila Dixon's furs are bound for eBay.

January 7, 2010

People speak out on Dixon's plea deal

"The biggest thing this does, it removes a cloud that has been in existence over the city since she was convicted. ... The credibility of the office was hurting. ... You can't govern being convicted."

January 6, 2010

Dixon talks of trial, legacy

On the eve of a court hearing that might represent her best chance of remaining in office, a reflective Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon said the prospect of stepping down is "not the best feeling" and that she regrets an affair with a developer that she believes led to her legal troubles.

January 5, 2010

Dixon jurors said to still chat on Facebook

Some of the jurors who convicted Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon of a misdemeanor embezzlement charge have reportedly continued to communicate on Facebook even though a judge asked them not to talk about the case.

December 30, 2009

5 Dixon jurors recalled as witnesses

Five of the 12 jurors who convicted Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon of embezzling retail gift cards this month have been asked to return to court - this time, as witnesses.

December 17, 2009

Dan Rodricks: What's appropriate sentence for Dixon?

The other day, while waiting for the bread dough to rise in my kitchen, I filled out a Maryland Sentencing Guidelines Worksheet for the mayor of Baltimore, and this is what it looks like: probation to six months, with the possibility of the judge hitting Sheila Dixon harder or softer - and I'll tell you why it could go either way in a moment.

December 13, 2009

Marbella: Dixon jurors soak up a flickering limelight

Years from now, or maybe merely hours from now, they'll merge into one indiscernible blob, the collagen-ed lips of one blurring into the coy glances of another, their slightly funny names interchangeable. We won't remember exactly which scandalette belonged to which eager face splashed for a time seemingly everywhere.

December 8, 2009

Charity event tied to Dixon case disbanded

The Baltimore housing department holiday charity event at the heart of three criminal charges against Mayor Sheila Dixon has been discontinued, city officials said Monday.

A Sun snapshot: Should Dixon stay?

December 6, 2009

A Sun snapshot: Should Dixon stay?

In the market and at the bus stop, over glasses of wine and under the barber's clippers, the daily rhythm of life in Baltimore has been interrupted by a question reverberating through many a conversation: Should Mayor Sheila Dixon, convicted of embezzlement, continue to run the city?

December 6, 2009

Dan Rodricks: Baltimore deserves better, needs better

So, here in the grand city of Baltimore, Mayor Sheila Dixon, who embezzled gift cards intended for poor children, gets to stay in office for who-knows-how-long - as if nothing has happened - while a city cop who took part in that goofy mock raid/marriage proposal at the behest of a politician gets charged with misconduct and could lose his job.

December 5, 2009

Juror contact in '06 with Dixon, witness could cause mistrial

A juror who helped to convict Mayor Sheila Dixon of embezzlement participated in a public event with Dixon and a key prosecution witness three years ago, receiving a $324 prize in a sweepstakes sponsored by a city agency. The prior contact, which was not disclosed before the trial, could give the mayor's lawyers grounds to pursue a mistrial, legal experts say.

December 5, 2009

Dixon likely to seek new trial

Mayor Sheila Dixon's attorneys signaled Friday that they plan to ask for a new trial in her gift card misappropriation case, while the state prosecutor said he would not "at this time" retry the one count that hung the jury this week.

December 4, 2009

Dixon voices regret for city's 'ordeal'

Mayor Sheila Dixon said on Thursday that she felt deep regret for the "ordeal" her just-concluded criminal trial inflicted on Baltimore, but did not apologize for embezzling gift cards intended for the needy.

December 3, 2009

Dixon keeps low profile after conviction

A day after being convicted of embezzling gift cards for the needy, Mayor Sheila Dixon kept a low profile, remaining for hours at City Hall and ducking reporters' questions at her only public event late in the afternoon.

December 3, 2009

City Council president can only wait for other shoe to drop

Baltimore City Council President Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake can do little more than wait - at least publicly - before learning whether or when she becomes mayor.

December 3, 2009

Prosecutor ponders retrial on one count

While Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's defense team mulls over what to do about the single guilty verdict returned against her for misappropriating gift cards, prosecutors are considering whether they can get one more by retrying Count 6, which hung the jury with a 9-3 vote in favor of conviction.

3:20 AM EST, December 2, 2009

THE TALK

At City Hall, there's wiggle room to go around

Everyone at City Hall claims to be back to work after that pesky corruption trial. And what a relief! For a minute there, it looked like it wouldn't be business as usual.

December 2, 2009

Found guilty, fate in doubt

Mayor Sheila Dixon was found guilty Tuesday of embezzling about $500 in retail gift cards meant for charity, a misdemeanor conviction that could end her tenure as Baltimore's first woman mayor. The Maryland Constitution calls for removing elected officials from office when they are sentenced for a crime related to their public duties, and questions swirled about how long Dixon can continue to lead the city.

December 2, 2009

What happens after Dixon verdict?

Sheila Dixon will likely remain Baltimore's mayor until she is sentenced - which could be months from now - or steps down, according to city and state lawyers. But even that is open to legal interpretation.

December 2, 2009

Reviewing tape before holiday broke deadlock, juror says

An 80-minute videotape viewed by jurors shortly before they adjourned for Thanksgiving provided the breakthrough that led to Mayor Sheila Dixon's conviction, one of the jurors said Tuesday.

December 2, 2009

Differing views on Dixon's future

Despite widespread perception that Sheila Dixon has done a laudable job as Baltimore's mayor, she faces a challenge in trying to maintain a political career while carrying the burden of a criminal conviction, political observers say.

December 2, 2009

Raw deal or right call? Verdict opinions abound

In the middle of his oyster and beer lunch inside Lexington Market, Melvin Burgess got word that Mayor Sheila Dixon had been found guilty of a single charge of embezzlement, then proceeded to debate the closest person with a dissenting opinion.

December 2, 2009

Dan Rodricks: Dixon verdict: The cynics were wrong

All the cynics were wrong this time: A jury of her peers - nine women and three men, the majority of them black - found the city's first African-American female mayor guilty of a crime. We didn't have the jury nullification many had predicted - that is, acquittal in the face of strong, conclusive evidence, something that many lawyers, cops and judges have seen for years in the old courthouses on Calvert Street.

December 2, 2009

Jean Marbella: A defendant of few words looks to find her mayoral oratory

Maybe it was denial, maybe it was just a need to never let 'em see you sweat - whoever 'ey are.

December 2, 2009

THE TALK

Laura Vozzella: The prolific Juror No. 11 finally gets to speak out

Elaine Pollack's mom didn't know it, but she entertained a special guest for Thanksgiving dinner: Juror No. 11.

WJZ, WBAL dominate early Dixon coverage

December 2, 2009

WJZ, WBAL dominate early Dixon coverage

WJZ and WBAL dominated early coverage of the breaking news of Mayor Sheila Dixon's midday conviction Tuesday, and that is not surprising, because they are the only stations in town with noon newscasts.

December 2, 2009

What they're saying about Dixon conviction

• "The city will continue to move forward. We won't miss a step."

December 1, 2009

Key developments in the case against Dixon

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

December 1, 2009

Maryland politicians and their legal troubles

1974: Baltimore County Executive Dale Anderson, a Democrat, is convicted on 32 counts of extortion, conspiracy and tax evasion.

3:05 PM EST, December 1, 2009

Maryland Constitution Article XV, Sec. 2

MARYLAND CONSTITUTION -- Article XV, Section 2

December 1, 2009

Judge has discretion to accept partial verdict

A note from the jury on Monday in Mayor Sheila Dixon's criminal trial offered a subtle but tantalizing hint that the case could be headed for a split decision, an outcome that legal analysts say is available, if procedurally perilous.

December 1, 2009

Amid hints of gridlock, Dixon jury to press on

Jurors in the theft trial of Sheila Dixon signaled Monday that they were stymied on one or more charges against the Baltimore mayor, then abruptly changed course and asked the judge to let them resume deliberations this morning.

December 1, 2009

Jean Marbella: Dixon jury, judge exchange notes

The doors weren't slamming, but Day Six of jury deliberations in Mayor Sheila Dixon's trial ended something like a French farce, with clerks entering and exiting the courtroom bearing crisscrossing notes and resulting in just-missed connections.

Dixon trial maneuvers' effects disputed

November 30, 2009

Dixon trial maneuvers' effects disputed

When jurors resume deliberations this morning in Mayor Sheila Dixon's theft trial, so will area attorneys.

November 29, 2009

A house of (gift) cards at City Hall

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's theft case, which remains before a jury this week, has shed light on little-known charitable efforts she ran from City Hall with few controls over solicitations and vague guidelines for who should benefit.

November 29, 2009

JEAN MARBELLA

Dixon jurors and reporters, a hallway and worlds apart

Time seemed to stop when Mayor Sheila Dixon's trial began three weeks ago - although maybe that was just because the clock in the courtroom was broken, stuck at 9:47.

November 29, 2009

Z ON TV

Dixon talk-radio divide may reflect the one in jury room

If the debate among the jury in the Sheila Dixon trial sounds anything like what's transpiring on Baltimore's talk-radio airwaves, it is no wonder that a verdict hasn't be reached. After weeks of passionate debate, talk-show hosts across the dial report only "deepening" divides and "50-50 splits" among listeners.

Jurors head for long weekend

November 26, 2009

Jurors head for long weekend

Judge Dennis M. Sweeney bid the jurors in Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's theft case farewell for a four-day holiday break Wednesday after rejecting repeated requests by defense lawyers for a mistrial.

November 26, 2009

Their holiday task: Don't talk or listen

The jurors in Mayor Sheila Dixon's criminal trial are home today, preparing for turkey dinners, post-holiday shopping and one of their greatest challenges since courtroom proceedings began nearly three weeks ago: avoiding news or discussion of the case.

3:20 AM EST, November 25, 2009

The talk

Awaiting Dixon verdict, people tweet, tweet, tweet

WBAL's Dave Collins spotted something sparkly on Sheila Dixon's ring finger, and soon, someone else's fingers were flying.

November 25, 2009

Jury gives no signs of a direction

The Baltimore jury deliberating the theft case against Mayor Sheila Dixon has met for about 25 hours -- nearly as long as testimony presented in the trial -- and is to return this morning to begin its fifth day.

November 25, 2009

Jean Marbella: Finding clues to Dixon jury's mood in a member's hair

Someday in a future that seems to grow more distant by the day, there presumably will be a verdict. Maybe not until there's snow on the ground, it can seem as we wait and then wait some more, but if and when jurors decide the fate of Mayor Sheila Dixon, I'll look back and think: Ah, this was the turning point.

November 24, 2009

Jury reports it is making 'progress'

Jurors in Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's theft and embezzlement trial are heading into a fourth day of deliberations today but reported Monday that they were making "progress."

November 24, 2009

Jean Marbella: What's going on in Dixon jury room?

I'm sure there will be a verdict today.

6:30 PM EST, November 23, 2009

Dan Rodricks: Dixon trial just one of city's problems, but an important one

Of course, there are bigger issues, and bigger offenses against society, than the alleged theft of gift cards by the mayor of Baltimore. Monday morning, you could walk across North Calvert Street, from Courthouse East to the Mitchell Courthouse, and find an auctioneer in a suit on the broad sidewalk there and, promptly at the top of the hour, he started a sale of houses upon which a bank has foreclosed in the lingering aftermath of the subprime mess and the massive financial meltdown that pushed us into recession.

November 23, 2009

Waiting for the jury

Day 3 - and Hour 12 - of jury deliberations in Mayor Sheila Dixon's theft trial are scheduled to begin this morning, and the waiting will resume.

November 22, 2009

Judge acts to put jury at ease

As the trial of Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon drew to a close last week, Judge Dennis M. Sweeney descended from his courtroom dais and spoke to jurors at their own level, rather than from on high.

November 22, 2009

Casting call: Picking stars for Dixon trial movie

The real-life drama of Mayor Sheila Dixon's criminal trial is still unfolding, but it's not too early to start thinking about the inevitable.

November 21, 2009

Dixon jurors feeling the heat

Baltimore jurors deciding whether to convict Mayor Sheila Dixon on theft-related charges signaled Friday for the second straight day that deliberations have been tense. They left the courthouse before reaching a verdict and will return Monday for a third day of debate.

November 21, 2009

Rumblings from the jury room may echo emotions in the city

I was ready to hand over my tickets to the Springsteen concert and tell them, "You need these more than I do, have a blast." If only I had 12 to Sunday's Ravens game.

November 20, 2009

Dixon's fate in jurors' hands

Twelve Baltimore residents are now deciding the fate of Mayor Sheila Dixon, who stands accused of five criminal charges involving theft or embezzlement of gift cards. The jurors deliberated for about four hours Thursday, sending the judge several questions before the end of the day.

November 20, 2009

City Hall awaits verdict on Dixon

Ask employees how life has been in City Hall for the past two weeks and most will say: "It's business as usual."

November 20, 2009

Closing arguments aren't meant to be applause lines for audience

Do I have to explain everything around here?

6:20 PM EST, November 19, 2009

Dan Rodricks: As Dixon trial nears end, a demand for 'equal justice'

I am sticking with my instinct: Lindbergh Carpenter Jr. could turn out to be the most effective witness for the prosecution in State v. Dixon. It wasn't so much the testimony he presented, because certainly that of the Baltimore developer Patrick Turner was the most damaging. But Lindbergh Carpenter gave the state an opportunity to remind the attentive jury in Circuit Court East of a principle engraved in the Supreme Court building in Washington and resonant in the memory of every American who paid attention in civics class: Equal Justice Under The Law.

Closings set today in Dixon case

November 19, 2009

Closings set today in Dixon case

Jurors are set to hear closing arguments today in the criminal theft trial of Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon - without ever having heard from Dixon herself.

November 19, 2009

How do these jurors go about un-ringing all these tolling bells?

One day after jurors in Mayor Sheila Dixon's theft trial were told to disregard evidence and testimony related to Ronald H. Lipscomb and the gift cards prosecutors said he gave her, the first witness called Wednesday was a shop owner who testified about ... a gift Lipscomb bought and sent to Dixon.

November 19, 2009

Dan Rodricks: Mayor's defense hopes silence is golden

When he instructs the jurors in the Dixon theft case, Circuit Judge Dennis M. Sweeney will tell them not to infer anything from the defendant's silence during trial - and they certainly should not interpret it as a sign of guilt. The judge will do this, of course, because, by the time her underwhelming defense came to a rest Wednesday morning, Mayor Sheila Dixon had not uttered a single word.

3:20 AM EST, November 18, 2009

THE TALK

OK, so in Dixon case, who's pulling what on whom?

The real crime in State of Maryland v. Sheila Ann Dixon: By resting their case without testimony from the mayor's former boyfriend, prosecutors robbed us of the spectacle of ex-lovers turning on each other.

4:55 PM EST, November 17, 2009

Dan Rodricks: The Dixon case turns into an episode of CSI-Target

The last time I visited the Baltimore courtroom where Mayor Sheila Dixon is on trial, it was for a homicide case, and a medical examiner was among the many witnesses. This time, the alleged crime is theft and, instead of a medical examiner, the state calls to the witness chair the "asset protection manager" for a major retail chain.

November 17, 2009

Dan Rodricks: Is taking some gift cards a big deal? Ask Lindbergh Carpenter — he lost his job for it

In the buildup to the trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon on theft charges, we did not hear much about Lindbergh Carpenter Jr. He was not billed as the leading man or even a star witness. He is not, as far as anyone knows, a former boyfriend of the mayor. He's not a current boyfriend, either. He's not a real estate developer. He's neither mover nor shaker.

DIXON ON TRIAL

The four biggest surprises so far in Dixon's trial

A third batch of cards

November 13, 2009

Defense: Dixon thought cards were meant for her

Mayor Sheila Dixon's lead attorney told jurors in her criminal theft case Thursday that Dixon spent gift cards donated by city developers for one simple reason: She thought they were meant as gifts for her.

November 13, 2009

From Dixon's lawyer comes an early shot across Lipscomb's bow

It's just one of the giant white binders that Mayor Sheila Dixon's lawyers keep at hand on the defense table, their way of organizing documents for her trial, but it's apparently the most important one.

November 13, 2009

The Talk

Laura Vozzella: Nothing says 'I love you' like an anonymous envelope of gift cards

Now here's a courting ritual perfect for a big-city mayor: Leave $1,000 in Target and Best Buy gift cards in a plain envelope -- no note, no name -- at her office in City Hall.

November 13, 2009

Dan Rodricks: Defense message: Dixon cares

The lawyers defending Mayor Sheila Dixon in her trial on theft charges will attempt to convince the jury -- the one in the courtroom and the much bigger one out here in the rain -- that that the only pattern of behavior in the case was a pattern of caring for the poor, of generosity and charity. You wait and see. It's coming up.

1:00 PM EST, November 12, 2009

Potenial witnesses in Dixon trial

An alphabetical list of the 72 potential witnesses in Mayor Dixon's theft trial

November 12, 2009

Spotlight turns on new evidence in Dixon case

Revelations that a third city developer might have donated gift cards to Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon are more likely to cause political damage than legal harm, observers said.

3:20 AM EST, November 11, 2009

THE TALK

In Dixon case, Developer C might lead to Pastor A

Yet another man in Sheila Dixon's life could wind up getting hauled into court.

November 11, 2009

Gift cards to Dixon from 3rd developer alleged

The jury of nine women and three men selected for Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's criminal theft trial will begin work Thursday morning, but first a judge will weigh new allegations involving another batch of gift cards said to have been donated by a developer not previously named in the case.

November 11, 2009

Picking Baltimore mayor's jury: Yes, get around race issue, but how?

I met someone at a party once, and when he told me where he worked, I asked if he knew this friend of a friend who also worked there. Mike Somebody, I said, an Asian guy.

November 11, 2009

In unusual move, state employs jury consultant

The Maryland State Prosecutor enlisted a private consultant to help select the jury that will weigh the theft charges against Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, a potentially costly move that is unusual for prosecutors in criminal cases.

November 10, 2009

Dixon theft trial opens with plea of not guilty

Mayor Sheila Dixon stood before a judge for the first time Monday, the beginning of a long day of jury selection in her criminal theft trial that will resume this morning.

November 10, 2009

Impressions of court: Dixon's 4-inch heels, sense of inevitability

After watching Mayor Sheila Dixon stand for four hours straight at the judge's bench, next to the mostly male lawyers prosecuting her and those defending her, I thought of that famous line about Ginger Rogers.

November 10, 2009

Dan Rodricks: Mayor Schaefer kept it clean during dirty times

The irony is 7-foot-2 and made of bronze: A statue of William Donald Schaefer goes up along the Inner Harbor promenade just a week or so before the current mayor of Baltimore goes on trial, accused of stealing gift cards intended for the needy. What a town!

November 9, 2009

1st act of Dixon trial: jury selection

Today begins the process of choosing 12 Baltimore residents who will decide whether or not their mayor is a criminal.

November 8, 2009

Reading between the lines of the Dixon indictment

Dec. 21, 2006, was a long and busy day for then-City Council President Sheila Dixon.

November 8, 2009

After nearly 4-year probe, Baltimore mayor to get day in court

It was a day packed with official events for Mayor Sheila Dixon: approving millions of dollars in contracts at a Board of Estimates meeting, holding a news conference to urge parents to vaccinate their children against swine flu, pushing health care reform at a town hall meeting, surprising a Baltimore school with a visit, even playing bingo at a senior center that she had fought to keep open.

November 8, 2009

The charges, possible penalties Dixon faces

What the mayor faces
These are the charges, and possible penalties, that Mayor Sheila Dixon faces at her trial beginning Monday:

November 6, 2009

Waiting to learn who pays Dixon's legal bills

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's legal bills, racked up during a years-long corruption probe that has led her to enlist seven criminal defense attorneys for a theft trial next week, could run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, legal observers say.

October 30, 2009

Lipscomb apologizes for role in City Hall scandal

Baltimore developer Ronald H. Lipscomb apologized in court Thursday for violating campaign finance rules and accepted a sentence of three years of unsupervised probation, 100 hours of community service and a $25,000 fine imposed by Circuit Judge Dennis M. Sweeney.

October 13, 2009

NAACP raises questions about mayoral succession

Leaders of the Maryland NAACP, worried that a Baltimore mayor's criminal conviction could result in the appointment of a white or Republican leader who may not fully represent the majority black and Democratic city, are asking state lawmakers to strip the governor of authority to permanently fill the office.

October 9, 2009

Holton's charges stand

Baltimore City Councilwoman Helen L. Holton's on-again, off-again criminal trial is back on, after a judge's ruling that portends a steady flow of court action in the City Hall corruption case through the remainder of the year.

October 8, 2009

Charges should be dropped, Holton argues

Baltimore City Councilwoman Helen L. Holton appeared in Circuit Court on Wednesday to listen as her defense attorneys argued that the campaign finance charges against her should be dropped.

October 6, 2009

Dixon may get 2 trials

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon should stand trial on charges that she perjured herself by not disclosing gifts from a developer boyfriend, a judge ruled Monday as he rebuffed objections from the mayor's defense team that the accusations rest on faulty evidence.

October 1, 2009

Charges against Dixon are divided for two trials

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon could have two separate criminal trials, defense attorneys announced yesterday, saying that the theft and perjury indictments will not be combined.

September 22, 2009

Dixon inquiry notes 'unexplained cash'

Investigators with the State Prosecutor's Office found that Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon made $13,800 in "unexplained cash" deposits in a six-week period during the spring of 2004, one of many details to emerge in a mammoth court filing that raises questions about Dixon's financial dealings as City Council president.

September 17, 2009

Prosecutors ordered to hand over 2 subpoenas in Dixon case

Defense lawyers for Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon won a legal victory Wednesday morning when a judge ordered state prosecutors to hand over two subpoenas that a grand jury had issued in the City Hall corruption probe.

September 15, 2009

Lipscomb paid for foe's poll

Developer Ronald H. Lipscomb paid $8,750 for a political survey for a state delegate running against Sheila Dixon for mayor in 2007, according to an account of the transaction in court papers filed Monday.

September 9, 2009

Dixon lawyers ask dismissal of new charges

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's lawyers say that the new criminal charges brought against her by the state prosecutors rely on faulty evidence and a vaguely worded city ethics statute and should be dismissed, according to court papers filed Tuesday.

September 5, 2009

Paterakis pleads guilty; will pay $26,000 in fines

John Paterakis Sr., the baker and well-connected developer who bankrolled Harbor East, pleaded guilty Friday afternoon to two misdemeanor campaign finance violations and will pay $26,000 in fines and be barred from donating to Baltimore politicians until his probation ends in January 2012.

September 3, 2009

City Councilwoman Holton will go on trial Dec. 7

Baltimore Councilwoman Helen L. Holton will go on trial Dec. 7 on charges that she violated campaign finance laws. "Ms. Holton would like to have this case finished," her lawyer Joshua R. Treem said Wednesday after a brief hearing at which the trial date was set. Holton was indicted in late July in connection with a political poll for which Baltimore developers Ronald H. Lipscomb and John Paterakis paid $12,500. State law limits campaign donations to $4,000 from individual contributors per four-year election cycle.

September 2, 2009

Dixon lawyers seek review of all grand jury subpoenas in case

Lawyers for Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon continued a legal quarrel with state prosecutors and filed new papers Tuesday aimed at forcing the state to turn over all grand jury subpoenas issued since January when the mayor was first charged with perjury and theft.

September 1, 2009

Prosecutors defend use of grand jury in Dixon case

State prosecutors in the City Hall corruption cases defended their investigation of Baltimore's mayor, arguing they did not abuse the grand jury process when they issued three subpoenas this summer before dismissing their initial indictment of Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon.

August 21, 2009

Dixon defense outlines strategy

Attorneys for Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon gave the first hints about how they will defend against charges that Dixon stole gift cards intended for needy families, arguing in documents filed this week that prosecutors will have to prove she knew the cards she was spending were purchased by developers and not someone else."One of the principal issues at the trial of this case will be ... whether the defendant knew which gift cards came from which party," Dixon attorney Dale P. Kelberman wrote in a Baltimore Circuit Court motion.

August 6, 2009

Dixon to go on trial Nov. 9, plead not guilty

Mayor Sheila Dixon will go to trial Nov. 9 on charges of theft and perjury, and plans to enter a not-guilty plea, according to her lawyers.

August 4, 2009

Baltimore political leaders eager for Dixon's problems to be resolved

The new indictments issued last week in the City Hall corruption probe have some Baltimore political leaders impatient for resolution to a case that has spanned three years and left the city's reputation in limbo.

August 2, 2009

The state prosecutor comes for Baltimore's 'bread man'

Back when I first joined The Baltimore Sun, a photographer and I were coming back from an assignment in Fells Point, and he was doing what all good old-timers do - pointing out significant sites along the way for a newbie. That's where Grace Hartigan paints, that's where the body turned up the other day.

July 31, 2009

New charges against Dixon mean more time

The new criminal indictments handed up Wednesday against Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon guarantee one thing: The legal questions that have been hanging over the mayor for the past three years will not be settled by September, when a jury trial on the original charges was scheduled.

July 30, 2009

Dixon faces new charges

A Baltimore grand jury handed up two new indictments Wednesday charging Mayor Sheila Dixon with nine criminal counts and painting a picture of a top city official who repeatedly sought gifts - and even cash - from local developers who stood to benefit from her favor.

11:04 AM EDT, July 29, 2009

Paterakis, Holton are indicted

John Paterakis Sr., the self-made baking magnate and developer of the Harbor East complex, was indicted Tuesday on two counts of campaign finance violations accusing him of contributing $6,000 to help pay for a city councilwoman's political poll.

July 10, 2009

3 subpoenas are withdrawn in Dixon case

Three subpoenas for witnesses in the criminal case against Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon were withdrawn Thursday after her attorneys objected to the legal move by the state prosecutor.

July 9, 2009

Dixon seeks to block subpoenas

Attorneys for Mayor Sheila Dixon have moved to block the state prosecutor's attempt to get additional information from one current and one former city employee he has called to testify before a grand jury.

Lipscomb accepts plea deal

June 23, 2009

Lipscomb accepts plea deal

A developer scheduled to go to trial Monday on charges of bribing a city councilwoman instead pleaded guilty to a lesser violation and agreed to cooperate with the state prosecutor's case against Mayor Sheila Dixon.

June 22, 2009

Lipscomb trial to open today

Jury selection and opening statements are set to start today in the public corruption case against developer Ronald H. Lipscomb, a trial that could reveal much about how development deals are fashioned in Baltimore.

June 18, 2009

Prosecutor signals intent to pursue Holton

The state prosecutor's office filed papers Wednesday signaling its intention to appeal the dismissal of bribery and misconduct charges brought against Baltimore City Councilwoman Helen L. Holton.

May 29, 2009

Dixon scores significant legal victory

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon won a significant legal victory Thursday when a Circuit Court judge dismissed four perjury charges and one misconduct charge against her, saying they were based on improper evidence. Dixon still faces seven other criminal charges, including theft.

May 29, 2009

Old law helps Dixon, Holton avoid charges

Even if it was bought and paid for, a vote cannot be used as evidence of wrongdoing against an elected official, Circuit Court Judge Dennis M. Sweeney ruled Thursday, ending the entire case against Baltimore City Councilwoman Helen L. Holton and dismissing some of the charges against Mayor Sheila Dixon, the former City Council president.

May 29, 2009

Dixon ruling seen as setback for Rohrbaugh

State Prosecutor Robert A. Rohrbaugh suffered a setback Thursday when a judge threw out perjury charges against Mayor Sheila Dixon and tossed the bribery case against City Councilwoman Helen L. Holton.

May 29, 2009

The Talk: Thrill is gone from Dixon court case

Fur coats - gone.

April 21, 2009

Dixon defense reiterates that charges are flawed

Defense lawyers for Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon reinforced their arguments Monday that the 12 criminal offenses against the mayor should be dropped, with her lawyers insisting that four perjury charges are based on "a fundamental misreading" of the city's ethics code.

April 17, 2009

Prosecutor defends Dixon case

State Prosecutor Robert A. Rohrbaugh defended Thursday the indictment he brought against Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon and asserted in court papers that a jury needs to decide if Dixon falsified ethics forms and stole gift cards intended for needy Baltimore families.

April 9, 2009

Jean Marbella: City tax sale list is a hall of shame

Fur coats, trips and other treats for the mayor? At least $15,348.

April 3, 2009

Dixon's lawyers move to dismiss charges

Lawyers for Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon are seeking to dismiss criminal charges against her, calling a lengthy investigation into her activities a "misguided mission" by a state prosecutor that ended with a "hopelessly confused" 12-count indictment, according to court documents filed Thursday.

April 2, 2009

Jean Marbella: Holton poll seems downright quaint

It may be the second-most-noteworthy thing about the now infamous poll conducted during City Councilwoman Helen L. Holton's 2007 re-election campaign - the response to a name-recognition question. After serving on the council since 1995, and thinking she might have a shot at a citywide office in the future, Holton surely had to be taken aback by these results:

March 27, 2009

Dixon corruption case could expand

The City Hall corruption case against Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon and other officials could widen to include additional development projects, one of several fresh details revealed Thursday when prosecutors and defense attorneys met in open court for the first time.

March 19, 2009

Mystery developer identified in Dixon case

Patrick Turner is the second city developer mentioned in a 12-count indictment against Mayor Sheila Dixon, his spokeswoman confirmed yesterday.

March 11, 2009

Dixon's trial on theft, perjury charges could be in Sept.

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's trial on theft, perjury and misuse-of-office charges could be held in early September, a Circuit Court judge ruled yesterday after meeting for the first time with prosecutors and defense attorneys.

February 20, 2009

Dixon's invitation to White House abruptly withdrawn

After being invited yesterday to join more than 70 mayors for a meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House today, indicted Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon was abruptly un-invited hours later, according to her spokesman.

February 19, 2009

Pollster in City Hall corruption case identified

New court filings in a City Hall corruption case identify the pollster who conducted a $12,500 survey for a Baltimore councilwoman as part of a transaction that prosecutors allege was a bribe.

February 18, 2009

Dixon 'floored' by charges, 'bothered' by Obama snub

Mayor Sheila Dixon, in her first extended television interview since she was indicted in January, told WJZ that she was "floored" by the accusation that she stole gift cards from needy families and "bothered" that Barack Obama snubbed her during a pre-inaugural visit to Baltimore.

February 18, 2009

Holton, Lipscomb lawyers ask prosecutors for data

Defense attorneys for Baltimore City Councilwoman Helen L. Holton and developer Ronald H. Lipscomb have filed requests for the state prosecutor to disclose details about the evidence that led to last month's grand jury indictment against them on bribery charges, including information about conversations between them and her role in helping to secure tax breaks for his company.

February 16, 2009

Dixon's pull in session critical

One after another, the Baltimore lawmakers spat complaints at Mayor Sheila Dixon.

February 12, 2009

City Ethics Board considers broader gift disclosure rules

The Baltimore City Ethics Board is considering broader rules that would require officials to disclose gifts from businesses beyond the initial year that companies secure contracts.

February 11, 2009

Retired Howard judge to hear Dixon case

Retired Howard County Judge Dennis M. Sweeney will hear the corruption cases against Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, City Councilwoman Helen L. Holton and developer Ronald H. Lipscomb, according to a ruling yesterday from a Baltimore Circuit Court judge.

February 4, 2009

Dixon keeping focus on city

Mayor Sheila Dixon joined a police task force visiting the homes of gun offenders in Baltimore yesterday, a demonstration that she was focusing on her job hours after the first hearing on the criminal charges she faces.

January 23, 2009

Mayor not talking about legal-fee reimbursement

Mayor Sheila Dixon shoved a television reporter's microphone yesterday while declining questions about whether taxpayers should foot her legal bills, and several City Council members expressed surprise that her administration would draft a new reimbursement policy while the mayor is under indictment.

January 22, 2009

City taxpayers could pay for Dixon's defense

Baltimore taxpayers could foot the bill for Mayor Sheila Dixon's legal fees under a new policy being drafted by the city law department.

January 16, 2009

Housing official pleads guilty to stealing gift cards

A Baltimore housing department official pleaded guilty yesterday to stealing from the same batch of gift cards for needy families that Mayor Sheila Dixon is accused of pilfering and has agreed to cooperate in a prosecutor's case against the mayor.

January 15, 2009

Dixon defense gets support from city Law Department

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's legal defense received a boost yesterday from the city Law Department, less than a week after her indictment on public corruption charges.

January 15, 2009

Peter Hermann: Teens can't look to City Hall for role models

A frustrated Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III, facing an upsurge in crime just days into the new year, said at a news conference recently that he and the mayor can't be the only ones "trying to engage people's morality about violence in this city."

January 13, 2009

Evidence, sympathies could vie in Dixon case

Indicted Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's first court hearing is scheduled for three weeks from today, but attorneys have already begun dissecting the case against her, with some outlining bountiful defense options that could prove effective in a largely supportive city.

January 13, 2009

Dixon and Holton get back to work

The City Council and Mayor Sheila Dixon returned to business yesterday, but the reverberations from last week's indictments of the mayor and Councilwoman Helen L. Holton contributed to an uneasy tone.

January 12, 2009

Weiner loud in his defense of Dixon

Hours after Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon was indicted on charges of theft, perjury and misuse of office, she headed to the industrial-chic offices of her lead defense attorney, where dozens of reporters and photographers had gathered.

January 11, 2009

It's business as usual for Dixon a day after indictment

A day after becoming the first Baltimore mayor to be indicted, Mayor Sheila Dixon maintained a public schedule designed to show her steely backbone and close connections with the community - donning boxing gloves at a gym in West Baltimore and later giving heartfelt advice to underprivileged girls at a Boys and Girls Club in Brooklyn.

January 11, 2009

Laura Vozzella: Maybe we guessed wrong about Dixon

No surprise that the prosecutor who's been dogging Sheila Dixon for years thinks she's corrupt. The real shocker, if her indictment is to be believed, is that Sheila Dixon thinks Sheila Dixon is corrupt.

January 10, 2009

Baltimore Mayor Dixon indicted

Baltimore Mayor Sheila A. Dixon was charged yesterday with 12 counts of felony theft, perjury, fraud and misconduct in office, becoming the city's first sitting mayor to be criminally indicted.

January 10, 2009

Mayor's supporters underwhelmed by case

Sheila Dixon looks far from finished.

January 10, 2009

It's difficult to remove a Md. mayor from office

Mayor Sheila Dixon has pledged to fight the charges of theft and perjury she faces and said she will continue to serve in office.

January 10, 2009

Jean Marbella: 'Ah, Baltimore,' Dixon indictment another exasperating moment

It was another "ah, Baltimore" moment. Ever get those? You get exasperated by some bureaucratic runaround at City Hall, and you sigh and steam and maybe that vein on your forehead starts to throb. But after a while, you learn to just surrender - "ah, Baltimore" - and accept you're going to have dial one more number or go to one other office or just do without whatever it is you thought you needed.

January 10, 2009

City Hall scandal: Who's who?

Sheila Dixon
• Baltimore's first female mayor, she assumed the position in January 2007 after Martin O'Malley became governor. She was re-elected later that year.

January 10, 2009

What they're saying about Dixon's indictment

"I am very saddened to hear about the indictments that have just come down against Mayor Sheila Dixon. My prayers go out to her and her family. I am confident that she will be found not guilty of all the charges that have been brought against her. During her tenure as Mayor, she has done a remarkable job in continuing the renaissance of the City of Baltimore."

January 10, 2009

Timeline of allegations against Dixon

2004
Jan. 15: Dixon uses a $2,000 gift certificate for a furrier, purchased by an employee of "Developer A," to buy a Persian lamb coat and burnt umber mink coat.

January 9, 2009

List of charges against Mayor Sheila Dixon

The 12-count indictment against Mayor Sheila A. Dixon filed Jan. 9, 2009, includes four counts of perjury, three counts of theft, and three counts of fraudulent misappropriation by a fiduciary and two counts of misconduct:

January 9, 2009

Timeline of the investigation into City Hall

Feb. 2006: The Baltimore Sun reports that Mayor Sheila Dixon questions officials from Comcast at an investigative hearing, asking them to give more work to the company that employed her sister, Union Technologies. Dixon had not disclosed that her sister worked for the company as city rules require.

January 9, 2009

Bribery charges against Baltimore councilwoman called difficult to prove

Nearly three years into a City Hall corruption probe, the only charges leveled so far against an elected official appear difficult to prove, veteran attorneys said yesterday. And some wondered why a prominent developer also indicted would resort to a questionable political payment, given his long experience using campaign finance loopholes.

January 9, 2009

Councilwoman Holton vows innocence, is 'holding up very well'

In public, City Councilwoman Helen L. Holton casts a formidable figure.

January 8, 2009

Council member, developer indicted

A Baltimore grand jury indicted a city councilwoman and a developer with close ties to Mayor Sheila Dixon yesterday on bribery charges related to tax breaks for luxury buildings under construction on the city waterfront.

January 8, 2009

Jean Marbella: Two indictments, but so many loose ends

For some years now, the state prosecutor's long-running investigation of City Hall shenanigans has played out like Chinese water torture, drip by excruciating drip. A subpoena here, a plea bargain there, even a raid on the mayor's home - but what did it all add up to?

January 8, 2009

Hard work, political ties eased Lipscomb's rise

Ronald H. Lipscomb loved being part of the development team behind the high-end Four Seasons hotel and condominium tower now rising on Baltimore's transformed Harbor East waterfront.

January 4, 2009

As grand jury expires, City Hall probe at crossroads

With the latest grand jury examining Baltimore City Hall corruption allegations expiring at the end of the week, observers say the nearly three-year-long probe hanging over Mayor Sheila Dixon is approaching a pivotal moment.

October 9, 2008

Uplands contract raises questions

Baltimore's Board of Estimates awarded a $4 million contract for the Uplands redevelopment yesterday to a firm whose bid did not meet city women- and minority-owned business guidelines, passing over two firms that followed the city's policies and causing some elected leaders to ask whether the decision compromises the honesty of Baltimore's bidding process.

October 3, 2008

A scramble for documents

Some City Council members are scrambling to provide documents to satisfy the latest demand for information by state prosecutors who want to know about four development projects related to a probe into City Hall spending.

October 2, 2008

New subpoenas issued in Dixon case

The state prosecutor's office has issued a fresh round of subpoenas seeking information about four development projects, the latest chapter in a long-running probe focused at least in part on gifts Mayor Sheila Dixon received from a developer who received tax breaks from the city.

July 8, 2008

Dixon ally tied to development deal

A development team including a contractor with whom Mayor Sheila Dixon had a relationship was chosen last year for a $200 million project in Southwest Baltimore, even though an independent city panel urged that the contract be awarded to another firm.

June 27, 2008

Probe may turn on taxes

State prosecutors have subpoenaed records from the Maryland comptroller's office, suggesting that the long-standing investigation into City Hall might involve state taxes.

June 27, 2008

Jean Marbella: What do you get for a mink?

You know how you get a song stuck in your head? Ever since the fur started flying in the state prosecutor's investigation of Mayor Sheila Dixon, I keep hearing that song from Guys and Dolls, the one sung by a doll who was shocked, just shocked, at what a guy expected in return for his gifts:

June 26, 2008

Dixon angered over leaks in case

Mayor Sheila Dixon lashed out at prosecutors and reporters yesterday in her first comments since acknowledging having a personal relationship with a developer at the same time that she voted on contracts that benefited his company.

June 25, 2008

Dixon funds linked to firms

Companies linked to a developer questioned in the state investigation of Mayor Sheila Dixon have made nearly $500,000 in political contributions in the past decade, state campaign finance records show.

June 25, 2008

Mayor Sheila Dixon a fan of pricey Jimmy Choo shoes

"I lost my Choo!"

June 24, 2008

Dixon gifts probed

Prosecutors are investigating whether Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon received thousands of dollars in gifts - including fur coats - from a prominent developer whose projects benefited from tax breaks and zoning changes she supported as City Council president, a document obtained by The Sun shows.

June 24, 2008

Three questioned in City Hall investigation

The state prosecutor's office questioned at least three people yesterday in its investigation into contracting practices at City Hall, including Patrick Turner, president of Turner Development Group, which is developing a residential community called Silo Point in South Baltimore.

June 22, 2008

Prosecutor under fire

Maryland State Prosecutor Robert A. Rohrbaugh claims that he has no hobbies, and that he's just not that interesting. He says he spends long days at his Towson office and then heads home to spend time with his family in Montgomery County.

June 21, 2008

Ex-Dixon spokesman receives subpoena

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's former spokesman, a longtime confidant who helped establish the administration's public message, has been subpoenaed in the state prosecutor's widening probe of City Hall, The Sun learned yesterday.

June 20, 2008

Probe includes Dixon's furs

State prosecutors are looking for Mayor Sheila Dixon's fur coats and have been seeking information on gifts she received from people doing business with the city, new lines of inquiry in the probe of City Hall contracts involving her friends.

June 20, 2008

Some see cloud over City Hall

With the raid of Mayor Sheila Dixon's house, the complicated financial investigation that has bubbled through Baltimore news cycles for years officially jumped the local threshold. Political and public relations experts say this whiff of scandal will likely be an investigative cloud hovering over Baltimore's executive office, taking time and attention from pressing city business and potentially thwarting Dixon's agenda for progress.

June 20, 2008

Jean Marbella: The elephant in the room

I'd like to take the opportunity of all those microphones that have been shoved in my face these past couple of days since my house was raided, and speak directly to you, the citizens of Baltimore.

June 20, 2008

Laura Vozzella: A tiny peek into Dixon's closet

Even before prosecutors started sniffing around for Sheila Dixon's fur coats, her people were worried.

June 19, 2008

More subpoenas in Dixon probe

A day after investigators raided Mayor Sheila Dixon's home, more city employees received subpoenas in what appears to be an accelerating investigation into City Hall spending practices.

June 18, 2008

State raids mayor's home

Maryland state prosecutors raided the home of Mayor Sheila Dixon yesterday as part of an investigation into past spending practices at City Hall, the most aggressive move so far in the years-long probe.

June 18, 2008

Inquiry threatens Dixon's momentum

Six months into her historic term as Baltimore's first female mayor, Sheila Dixon has been riding high - the homicide rate is at a two-decade low, the City Council passed her budget almost untouched, and she has won praise for her work on gun control and homelessness.

June 18, 2008

On the scene: Mayor Dixon ducks out

The investigators in dark blue state prosecutor's office jackets arrived at Mayor Sheila Dixon's tidy brick home just an hour after sunrise yesterday. The quiet Hunting Ridge neighborhood on the city's western edge wasn't quiet for long.

June 18, 2008

Council member expresses shock

News that the state prosecutor's office was searching Mayor Sheila Dixon's house gave City Hall a case of emotional whiplash yesterday.

March 11, 2008

Utech head pleads guilty

A city contractor who employed Mayor Sheila Dixon's sister while doing work for the city pleaded guilty yesterday to falsifying tax returns - the latest development in a months-long investigation into questionable spending practices at City Hall.

January 11, 2008

State seeks more city documents

Baltimore's Finance Department and the offices of the city's powerful Board of Estimates have been ordered to turn over documents to the Maryland state prosecutor's office, which has been engaged in a long-standing investigation at City Hall.

November 30, 2007

Prosecutor demanding BDC papers

The city agency that oversees Baltimore development has received a subpoena from the Maryland state prosecutor's office, which has been conducting an investigation into spending practices at City Hall.

November 29, 2007

State raids company with ties to mayor

The office of one of Baltimore's largest developers was raided yesterday by the Maryland state prosecutor's office, which has been engaged in a long-running investigation into questionable spending at City Hall.

September 25, 2007

Dixon friend pleads guilty

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's former campaign chairman pleaded guilty to charges of failing to file tax returns related to his work as a computer consultant for the City Council and has agreed to cooperate in the state prosecutor's probe into no-bid contracts at City Hall.

August 31, 2007

Ex-Dixon aide Clark charged

The Maryland state prosecutor charged Mayor Sheila Dixon's former campaign chairman yesterday with failing to file state income tax returns for three of the six years in which he earned $500,000 working without a contract as the Baltimore City Council's computer consultant.

January 12, 2007

Ethics board clears Dixon

Nearly a year after beginning an inquiry into whether City Council President Sheila Dixon used her influence to direct city money to a company that employed her sister, Baltimore's Board of Ethics announced yesterday that it has found no cause to pursue the allegations.

December 8, 2006

Ethics inquiry could be awkward

Since February, Baltimore's Board of Ethics has delayed a detailed review of City Council President Sheila Dixon's participation in official business that benefited a company that employed her sister.

March 16, 2006

Dixon probe begins

State prosecutors have opened an investigation into the Baltimore City Council's computer services contract, ordering city officials to turn over documents detailing how and why the city paid $600,000 to Council President Sheila Dixon's friend for six years.

March 12, 2006

Dixon steered work to ex-aide

For the past six years Baltimore City Council President Sheila Dixon has steered government work worth at least $600,000 to her former campaign chairman, most of the time without a written contract.

February 21, 2006

Contract presents questions for Dixon

One of the Baltimore contracts that prompted an ethics review of City Council President Sheila Dixon was the subject of contentious hearings in 2004 and 2005 that involved accusations of bid steering.

February 6, 2006

Dixon's use of hearing at issue

In what may be a violation of the city ethics law, Baltimore City Council President Sheila Dixon used an investigative hearing to press a major city contractor on why it was not awarding more work to a company that employs her sister.

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