When Gov. William Donald Schaefer offered to have lunch with a successful bidder at the WBAL Radio Auction for Center Stage, he probably didn't expect to be breaking bread behind bars with a killer.
But, if the governor's true to his word, that's probably where the meal will be -- at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Jessup, where Douglas Scott Arey is serving a life sentence for a 1973 murder in Baltimore.
He was convicted of shooting a man three times in the chest and dumping the body in Pennsylvania.
For $1,750, which the 42-year-old inmate charged on his credit card, Arey beat out several other bidders Sunday for the right to dine with Mr. Schaefer, who donated his time to benefit Center Stage in its 14th annual charity auction.
"I'm certain there are facilities for lunch here at the facility," Arey said yesterday in a telephone interview from prison.
"I'm not sure he'd be pleased with the cuisine," Arey said, laughing. "It might bring some changes."
News of the winner's identity drew a dour reaction from the gover
nor's aides yesterday.
"The governor is aware of this . . . and it's still being considered," said Paul E. Schurick, Mr. Schaefer's press secretary.
"We're still considering it," he said. "The governor has raised many questions, which have to be answered before a decision can be made.
"There are questions. There are many questions, but no answers yet," Mr. Schurick said.
The spokesman did not rule out the possibility of the governor's backing out of the lunch, given the unusual circumstances.
Asked if that wouldn't be a breach of contract on the governor's part, Mr. Schurick said, "That remains an unanswered question. How the hell do I know?"
Arey said he had "every expectation the governor would honor" the bid.
But, he said, "If he declined, it wouldn't hurt me, it'd hurt the charity."
The inmate said he did not make the donation "for the publicity" but to benefit Center Stage, which he said he had attended in the past.
Arey said he has made other charitable donations from money he earned while on work release. He said he has made two $1,000 donations to St. Dismas Lutheran Church, which serves inmates at six state prison facilities in Jessup and Baltimore.
He did acknowledge that if the opportunity arose, he would bring his case and problems with the state's pre-release system to Mr. Schaefer's attention, though he said he would not ask for a sentence commutation "or anything outrageous like that."
"First, I don't know if he would let me talk about business," he said. "I'm sure there are ground rules about this."