Jacqueline McLean's city car goes on block


Looking for a used car? How about a twilight blue, 1992 Mercury Grand Marquis that has just 32,000 miles, comes equipped with cruise control, air-conditioning and a tape deck, and has been featured in The Sun?

The city of Baltimore has a deal for you.

After no one in City Hall wanted to claim former Comptroller Jacqueline F. McLean's luxury car, the city decided to sell it tomorrow at an auction of surplus vehicles.

"It is being sold because we do not have a use for the vehicle," said Vanessa C. Pyatt, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Works.

Mrs. McLean, who retired in July and has since been convicted of theft in a corruption scandal, took possession of the $19,889 car the day she was sworn into office. Although she said she ordered it strictly for city business, Mrs. McLean was hit with a barrage of criticism for buying the luxury car at a time when the financially strapped city was cutting basic services.

She told a Sun columnist that she needed the car because she did not own one. But Motor Vehicle Administration records showed she had three.

Mrs. McLean turned over the keys to the Mercury in December 1993 when she went on an unpaid leave amid allegations that she had a fictitious employee on her payroll.

Three months ago, Mrs. McLean was placed on probation for five years for stealing more than $25,000 in taxpayer funds and failing to disqualify herself from voting on a proposed city lease of the one-time headquarters of her travel agency.

Acting Comptroller Shirley Williams did not want the car along with the job. Ms. Williams, who drives her own car, a Volvo, to work, said, "I haven't used [the Mercury]."

Neither has anyone else at City Hall. Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke is most often seen about town in his Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo. City Council President Mary Pat Clarke still drives a 1981 Buick.

So the Public Works Department decided to include the former comptroller's car in an auction of more than 100 surplus cars, tow trucks, scooters and vans that will be held tomorrow starting at 9 a.m. Bidding on the Mercury will start at $10,000.

The car is equipped with power steering and brakes, power windows, air-conditioning and cruise control, Ms. Pyatt said.

Prospective buyers should show up by 9 a.m. at 3646 Falls Road to place their bids.

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