The Elvis memorabilia are gone from the Graceland Cafeteria in the basement of Baltimore County's old courthouse in Towson.
"It's not Graceland anymore," Betty Lou Hanes, the widow of the former manager, said Friday -- her last day behind the cash register. She said that the cafeteria's new blind manager had not made her a fair job offer.
The cafeteria's operation has been in dispute for two months, since the death of Mrs. Hanes' husband, Lou, who had managed it under the state's blind vendor program. State law requires that subsidized food concessions in public buildings be managed by the blind, as her husband was.
Because Mrs. Hanes is not blind, state officials told her she would have to give up the cafeteria. But she objected, arguing that after losing her husband after working 20 years at his side, she should not also lose her livelihood.
Because of Lou Hanes' popularity among county workers, who marveled at his huge collection of Elvis Presley memorabilia, county officials forged an agreement for Mrs. Hanes to stay as assistant manager for at least one year, at a salary to be negotiated.
Scott A. Dennis, administrator of the blind vendors program for the Division of Rehabilitative Services, said the state lived up to its bargain. "A job was offered," he said.
But Mrs. Hanes said she was not offered a job as an assistant manager and rejected what she termed an "entry-level job at entry-level pay" -- an offer to pay her $7 an hour instead of her current $12 an hour. Her two daughters who worked at the cafeteria also left.
The new manager, Don Glover, will take over tomorrow.