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Spiro Agnew's portrait decorates his old office Former VP's visage on permanent view


There may not be a place in the U.S. Senate building for a bust of disgraced former Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, but his visage is now on display in the halls outside the Baltimore County executive's offices in Towson.

His portrait, painted in 1972, appears with those of seven other former county executives, including Dale Anderson, the feisty Democrat forced from office in 1974 after his conviction on extortion, conspiracy and income tax evasion charges.

Mr. Agnew resigned from the vice presidency in October 1973 after pleading no contest to a federal charge of tax evasion. Both men were accused of taking kickbacks from architects and engineers.

In Washington, marble busts of all former vice presidents except Mr. Agnew stand in niches throughout the U.S. Senate building -- an absence termed "a snub" by Rep. Helen D. Bentley, R-Md.-2nd.

The Towson display was approved by County Executive Roger B. Hayden, the first Republican to win the office since Mr. Agnew. Mr. Hayden said he wasn't a bit concerned about displaying the portraits of Mr. Agnew and Mr. Anderson.

The executive, who is scrambling to save money, last month nudged the head of the arts commission into retirement and eliminated the position. That meant bare walls outside the executive's suite because the director scheduled the displays of art works there.

Mr. Hayden gave his approval when someone suggested establishing a permanent display of the portraits.

The portraits on display are of Michael J. "Iron Mike" Birmingham (1957-58); Christian Kahl (1958-1962); Mr. Agnew (1962-1966); Mr. Anderson (1966-1974); Frederick Dewberry (1974, finishing Mr. Anderson's term); Theodore G. Venetoulis (1974-1978); Donald P. Hutchinson (1978-1986), and Dennis F. Rasmussen (1986-1990).

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