In Dixon case, Developer C might lead to Pastor A

Mayor Sheila Dixon leaves court after a nine-woman, three-man jury was selected for her trial on theft charges.
Mayor Sheila Dixon leaves court after a nine-woman, three-man jury was selected for her trial on theft charges. (Baltimore Sun phtoo by Lloyd Fox)
Yet another man in Sheila Dixon's life could wind up getting hauled into court.

We already have Developers A and B. Now prosecutors want Developer C, Glenn Charlow, to testify about gift cards he donated to Dixon "in connection with her church activities," court documents say.

Which could lead us to Pastor A: The Rev. Frank M. Reid III.

If prosecutors put Charlow on the stand, they might want to hear from Dixon's pastor, to ask if Charlow's gift cards ever made it to Bethel AME Church.

Even if Dixon turned the cards over to Bethel and the church used them for charitable purposes, you have to wonder: Should a city official be hitting developers up for donations to her church?

It wouldn't be the first time Bethel benefited from friends in City Hall. In January 2006, the developer picked to revamp the city-owned Pier Six concert venue announced he would give Bethel a 10 percent cut of the profits.

"The Church does not have to do anything or pay anything for its 10 percent," Reed Cordish proudly announced in an e-mail to The Baltimore Sun.

When the pastor made Baltimore magazine's Power 50 in March 2007, he issued a news release trumpeting his close ties to Dixon and Gov. Martin O'Malley. "The leadership reigns [sic] for State and City government [are] sitting right in the lap of Dr. Reid," the release said.

I wanted to ask Reid if he felt tangled in those "reigns" now, but he declined to comment through a spokeswoman.

The pastor suddenly seems media-shy. On Sunday, Bethel officials had The Baltimore Sun's Annie Linskey tossed out of 9:30 a.m. services, where she'd gone looking for a story on mayoral supporters on the eve of trial.

Reid has used his sermons to give Dixon support before. In the pulpit in February, he took up for Dixon - against Barack Obama, no less - after the newly indicted Dixon was uninvited to a gathering of mayors at the White House. Reid urged the congregation to write and e-mail Obama in protest.

"For an African-American woman to be treated this way by an African-American man does not send a good message to our children," Reid said in a sermon posted on YouTube. "And in my mind, sir, with spousal abuse being such a prevalent problem in our community and in our nation, political abuse is not something we should be showing to our daughters, our sons and our community."

So snubbing Dixon puts Obama in league with wife-beaters? Let's hope Reid is equally colorful on the stand.

Dixon's first trial is the down-market Best Buy-Target affair. The Armani-Coach-Jimmy-Choo case comes later. But the fashion angle can't wait. I asked DannielleKyrillos, editor at large at DailyCandy.com, for her two cents on the mayor's courthouse fashion sense.

Day 1: Dixon paired a dark pinstriped skirt suit with a matching fuchsia blouse and wrap. Day 2: a tan skirt suit with another wrap, this one a mix of colorful stripes and a print that Kyrillos described as "Indian paisley."

"It's clear that a trusted and pretty smart adviser is telling her exactly what to wear. 'Play the sensible, demure, plain, forgettable victim,' " Kyrillos said. "And then she just can't resist, she has to throw on the brightest, wildest patterned scarf that anyone could ever make. She wears a hot fuchsia blouse. She can't resist letting her wild side out."

The message Kyrillos reads: "I am who I am. I'm a fashion plate."

What struck her most was the eye-popping second-day wrap.

"It sucks the eye in and it almost looks like a beach towel the way she's wearing it," she said. "It's a bit jarring" against a beige suit, she said, but it might work as part of an "overall Bohemian or rich hippie look."

"If you were a philanthropist going to a luncheon about the rain forest, then it might be entirely appropriate," she said.

But a business-suited mayor going to court?

"All you're supposed to express through your clothing in your appearance in court is what an upstanding citizen you are and how very, very sorry you are," she said. "She had more to say."