Michael Steele, the multi-multi-multi-tasker

The Baltimore Sun

Michael Steele's multi-tasking kid sister billed his Senate campaign more than $37,000 for "catering/web" services provided by her investment company.

Serving up coffee, coding in Java and betting on Jamaican Blue Mountain futures - all in a day's work at Brown Sugar Unlimited LLC.

Even with all that catering, Web wizardry and investing going on, Monica Turner somehow found time to be a pediatrician, mom and ex-Mrs. Mike Tyson.

How did she keep all those balls in the air?

Sibling rivalry, baby.

What better explains that kind of maniacal drive than a big brother seminarian, corporate lawyer, small-business owner, GOP consultant, lieutenant governor, U.S. Senate candidate, international lawyer, GOPAC head, Fox commentator and now, RNC chief.

"Michael! Michael ! Michael!" as Jan Brady would whine.

Turner would do well to remember that Steele hasn't done all of those things at once. And he hasn't done all of them well. His small business failed, and liens were slapped on his house. In four years as Lt. Gov, a job that comes with precisely zero constitutionally mandated duties, Steele wrapped up the death penalty study that was his biggest homework assignment by saying we should study the death penalty.

But Steele has done some juggling.

Back in 2002, he managed to find time to work as a $5,000-a-month consultant to the Maryland Republican Party even as he ran for lieutenant governor. Dems accused the GOP of paying Steele to run. I say he was just setting a good example for kid sis.

There was even more multi-tasking after his Senate bid. Steele built the Republican farm team as GOPAC chief and worked as a Fox commentator - all while pulling down a partner's paycheck at Dewey & LeBoeuf.

"I've been asked to sort of build an Africa practice for them," he said in an interview posted on the Web site of Kustom Looks Clothier, the Maryland haberdashery that makes his suits.

(Kustom Looks had invited Steele to model in a fashion show - another talent! - around the time he started at GOPAC and the firm. He talked fashion and career before the event got under way.)

"So we're doing a lot of work - we're going to do a lot - on the continent, trying to bring business here, take business there. ... My attitude is, look, we should be wherever the Chinese are. And the Chinese are in Africa in a big way."

So is Dewey & LeBoeuf in Africa in a big way now? The firm's Web site lists a South African office. Can we chalk that up to Steele?

Firm spokesman Angelo Kakolyris did not respond to voice and e-mail messages left over three days. Maybe he was off moonlighting, too.

He can get it for you retail

Even in an ever-deepening recession, somebody out there must want to get her hands on that $500-a-yard embroidered wool that Michelle Obama wore to her husband's swearing-in. And Michael Bearman can hook her up.

Bearman has been contacting dressmakers to let them know his family business, A Fabric Place in Mount Washington, can supply them with the Swiss-made yellow fabric that designer Isabel Toledo turned into a sheath dress and coat for the first lady.

He doesn't have the stuff in stock, but he has a wholesaler in Switzerland who will ship it to him if need be.

"I'm able to get it," he said.

Bearman didn't supply the fabric to Toledo, but he has had some politically connected customers.

Lynne Cheney came in several times during her husband's vice presidency, most recently about eight months to a year ago, Bearman said.

"I think she was in another fabric store in the Washington area and I think bumped into somebody who told her about us," he said. "The Secret Service calls an hour or two hours before. They stake the place out."

Cheney was fond of double-wool crepes from Valentino and boucle (the stuff used to make Chanel suits).

No word yet if the ex-second lady wants any of the new first lady's fabric, but Bearman figures somebody will.

"It was on the cover of Time magazine."

It could be worse

Before Sheila Dixon gave her State of the City address last week, Pastor J.L. Carter of Ark Church offered a prayer for our indicted mayor.

"We ask that you would bless our mayor, Mayor Sheila Dixon, and her family. Continue to multiply her gifts."

Perhaps Her Honor can expect more gift cards and mysterious ATM deposits to head her way. If the pastor raised Dixon's hopes on that front, he set the bar rather low for the rest of Baltimore.

"O God, in whose presence we take great delight," he said, "we thank you for things not being any worse than what they are."

Connect the dots

A reader wrote to express dismay about my recent column about a plan to put a "naked sushi" restaurant in Baltimore. "It would have been so easy to work [Michael] Phelps into that column, fish, naked women, a couple snarky comments from you. You're letting us down." ... Jay Leno isn't too impressed with Baltimorean naked sushi either. "Is that a good combination? - naked women and seafood in a city famous for crabs?" (Ex-Baltimore Sun night editor David Michael Ettlin, in keeping with his nocturnal ways, first reported that bit on his blog, The Real Muck.)

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