The woman with whom U.S. Senate candidate Kweisi Mfume admits to making a "bone-headed" mistake is D'Andrea Lancelin, a supervisor with the Maryland Department of Transportation.
Mfume, 56, said yesterday that he had a "brief" affair in 1997 with Lancelin, 33, while he was the president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and she was a subordinate at the Baltimore headquarters.
Public records and interviews show that the relationship between the two spans more than a decade, going back to at least 1994 when he was a member of Congress. It was then that he adopted her son Christopher, now 15, when he was 4 years old, according to an article last month in The Washington Post.
Two years later, in October 1996, Mfume hired Lancelin at the NAACP as an executive assistant for Youth Programs at a salary of $35,000. And in 1998, allegations that Mfume gave Lancelin preferential treatment led to a shouting match between her and another female employee, according to a May 1999 report requested by NAACP Chairman Julian Bond.
"This is something that I did," Mfume said yesterday about his relationship with Lancelin during the first of a series of news conferences he is holding in his run for U.S. Senate. "Even though it was short-lived and I feel bad about it, I think, more than anything else, this was my mistake and my mistake solely."
Lancelin declined to comment about the matter.
Lancelin left the NAACP in February 1999, when she was earning $43,000 as an assistant to the acting coordinator of special projects. She took a job in Gov. Parris N. Glendening's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and later as a staff member of the Board of Public Works.
After Lancelin left the NAACP, she and Mfume continued spending time together and engaged in business dealings beyond the relationship with their son. In May 2000, Lancelin was his guest at a White House dinner for the president of South Africa, according to the guest list.
And in 2001, Lancelin sold Mfume a house on Brigadoon Trail in Baltimore County in a "not arms-length" transaction for $85,131, state property records show. Last month, Mfume sold the house to another woman who worked for the NAACP, Dewana F. Daniel, for $140,000.
Lancelin now works as manager for the Transportation Department's Office of Statewide Quality Compliance.
The Ehrlich administration had planned to cut Lancelin's position but reversed that decision. Shareese DeLeaver, an Ehrlich spokeswoman, declined to say what led the administration to change its mind.