Gov. Martin O'Malley and a longtime aide to former Gov. Bob Ehrlich had an interesting little exchange during the Dundalk 4th of July parade.
The story came to me by way of Annapolis lobbyist Bruce Bereano, who attended the parade with the aide, Greg Massoni, and former Gov. Marvin Mandel.
Massoni's brother lives along the parade route, and Bereano, Mandel and Massoni gathered at the house to watch it, as they've done for years. Massoni had a banner with anti-O'Malley slogans: "We deserve better than O'Malley. Illegal tuition. $8 tolls. Highest tax increase. No jobs."
(Bereano, incidentally, wore a T-shirt reading: "Lobbyists have issues." But I digress.)
O'Malley was in the parade, riding on the back of a convertible. The governor's car happened to pause in front of chez Massoni, and Massoni took the opportunity to needle him.
"You missed saying hello to a great governor, Marvin Mandel," Massoni said.
O'Malley shot back: "Greg, they haven't gotten you yet?"
That was a reference to the state prosecutor's investigation into deceptive Election Day robocalls made on behalf of Ehrlich's campaign. Another longtime Ehrlich aide, Paul Schurick, was indicted last month in the voter-suppression case, as was political consultant Julius Henson. Massoni has not been charged.
Massoni confirmed Bereano's account, as did O'Malley's director of public affairs, Rick Abbruzzese. They had only slightly different recollections when it came to how Massoni replied to O'Malley.
It was either "good try" (according to Massoni) or "not yet, but they're trying" (according to Abbruzzese).
Massoni declined to comment on the exchange, except to confirm it. "It did happen," he said.
Abbruzzese, noting Bereano's 1994 mail fraud conviction and Mandel's 1977 mail fraud and racketeering conviction (which the Supreme Court later overturned), said this: "The company one keeps speaks for itself, but even convicts and practitioners of voting suppression are entitled to enjoy a good parade."