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"Developer B" throws bday fundraiser for Rawlings-Blake

Patrick Turner, a developer who played a key role in the trial of former Mayor Sheila Dixon, is throwing a birthday bash and fundraiser for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake next month.

Guests will enjoy "amazing culinary treats and drinks" from Ruth's Chris, The Wine Market and Miguel's Cocina and Cantina in the penthouse suite at Turner's Silo Point luxury condominium building on March 2, according to the invitation.

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Tickets run from $1,000 to 125 for the fete, with discounts available for "public servants," according to the invitation.

Turner and his wife Jeanine, a model-turned-artist, are among the 30 members of the party's host committee.

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Turner's testimony that he delivered a stack of $1,000 in gift cards to City Hall in 2005 played a key role in Dixon's 2009 trial on embezzlement charges. Turner , who was identified as "Developer B" in court documents, said he thought the cards were to be distributed to poor children. Dixon used some of the cards to buy gifts for family and employees.

Turner appeared uneasy on the witness stand. Here is how my colleagues Annie Linskey and Julie Bykowicz described him at the time:

"Turner, whose $1.4 billion planned community of offices, stores and housing in Westport is benefiting from the largest tax incentive the city has ever approved, appeared uncomfortable on the stand. He gripped the wooden arms of the witness chair and smoothed his mustache and beard, sometimes quickly dabbing his lips with a napkin. His face reddened at times, and he frequently glanced toward the defense table, where Dixon sat scribbling notes."

Other members of the host committee include developers Thibault Manekin, Arsh Mirmiran and Evan Morville, along with Peter Auchincloss, a former city planning commission chair and president of the Watermark Corporation.

Rawlings-Blake has a huge fundraising edge over her competitors in the mayor's race. She had raised $840,000 by late last month, more than twice as month as all of her challengers combined. She raised $600,000 at a single event that was scheduled for the same night comedian Bill Cosby appeared at an event for her competitor and former city planning director Otis Rolley.

Many of Rawlings-Blake's donations have come from developers and contractors who do business with the city, which is certainly not unexpected for an incumbent mayor.

Incidentally, the birthday celebration comes a little early for Rawlings-Blake. She will turn 41 on St. Patrick's Day, March 17.

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