Quick to jump to supply those gift cards

The Baltimore Sun

So who is this mysterious "Developer B" who shows up buying gift cards in the indictment of Mayor Sheila Dixon?

Among the names being tossed about is Patrick Turner, the Turner Development Group president, who appeared before the grand jury in June.

The Baltimore Sun's Annie Linskey asked Turner if he's the guy. Turner denied it, adding that he's never been "B" at anything.

Whoever he is, Developer B must rate an A-plus in our ex-schoolmarm mayor's book.

The indictment suggests that Developer B dropped everything and dashed out to the store when Dixon asked for gift cards on Dec. 13, 2005.

At 11:04 a.m. on that day, then-Council President Dixon asked Developer B to buy gift cards for "needy families in Baltimore," the indictment states.

Dixon would eventually spend many of the gift cards on herself, according to the indictment, but Developer B either didn't know that or didn't care. (The indictment is silent on whether Developer B thought he was being charitable or shaken down.)

An hour and 17 minutes after Dixon made her request, Developer B was in Best Buy using a personal credit card to buy $500 in gift cards, the indictment states. Just 40 minutes later, the indictment states, Developer B popped into Target for another $500 in cards.

Now, that's a lot of errands. Could Turner possibly have been the speed-shopping Developer B if he was also busy around that time trying to win city approval for his Silo Point condo project?

Turner is something of a magician. He managed to create those luxury condos out of an old Locust Point grain elevator. What's more, Turner told Linskey that the condos are actually selling, even in this market.

Just salmon, folks

And you thought Mayor Dixon's lawyer was focused on picayune points.

There was Dixon spokesman Ian Brennan featured the other day in the Baltimore Examiner's "Quote of the Day." He was taking that paper to task for its reporting on a City Council luncheon, a public meeting from which news photographers were ejected.

"They were not eating crab cakes; it was salmon cakes," Brennan is quoted saying.

"We need to clarify that. ... They looked and smelled like crab cakes, but they were, in fact, salmon cakes."

Full disclosure: the aforementioned Ms. Linskey reported crab cakes, too, in The Sun's first edition. She changed it to salmon cakes for later editions after another Dixon staffer dashed off a late-night text message alerting her to the error.

Now, the part about the mayor's staff throwing news photographers out of the public meeting? Both papers got that right.

A monumental cake

The first time Baltimore threw Edgar Allan Poe a really big birthday bash, back 100 years ago, the city served up speeches and literary readings, but, alas, no fondant.

"[A] brilliant, animated assemblage of the best known people of the city" gathered on Jan. 19, 1909, to celebrate the writer's 100th birthday, according to a Baltimore Sun article from the time unearthed by intrepid Sun researcher Paul McCardell.

No offense to Mayor J. Barry Mahool and the other assembled dignitaries, but if Baltimore thought it had brilliant and animated back then, what would the city make of Duff Goldman?

The owner of Charm City Cakes and star of the Food Network's Ace of Cakes uses frosting like Poe used language. Predictably shaped, gravity-complying cakes? Nevermore!

Goldman makes dessert in the shape of Foosball tables, brains, cups of french fries. Fireworks and other special effects sometimes spew forth.

What's he baking for the festivities tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Westminster Hall?

A 2-foot-tall cake in the shape of the Poe monument, complete with a raven on top, Charm City Cakes manager Mary Alice Yeskey told me.

What, no explosives? No fog? No creepy music?

"Though the shape is rather simple at first glance, it's actually harder than it looks," Yeskey assured me. "Lots of layers, odd angles, and engraved-in and punched-out text. All that's done on it so far is the raven, who looks appropriately foreboding and glum. We hope to do Poe justice."

Connect the dots

As the General Assembly opened last week, Gov. Martin O'Malley scored a quick victory over Senate President Mike Miller. The subject of their wrangling: lighting the State House purple for the Ravens. O'Malley, who'd already had the governor's mansion aglow in Ravens purple, wanted to spread the team spirit to the State House. But it seems the governor alone can't decide such important matters of state. Miller and House Speaker Mike Busch have a say over the State House, too. And Miller, a history buff, didn't think purple was the way to go for the place where Washington resigned his commission. Busch, who played football in college, lined up with O'Malley, and the rest is history. ... Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich is trying to remind Maryland of the good ol' days: the Seinfeld administration. He's taking part in the Polar Bear Plunge on Jan. 24. "Please support my team - 'Team Shrinkage,'" Ehrlich writes in an e-mail. Donations benefit the Special Olympics ... The usual ceremonial bet was off, what with Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl apparently shy about wagering on today's AFC championship game with his just-indicted counterpart in Baltimore. City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake saw the hole and rushed through it, making a bet of her own with Pittsburgh Council President Doug Shields. The pol whose team loses will have to fork over $25 to two charities, St. Vincent De Paul in Baltimore and the Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

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