The parking puts it over a million

Ordinary Joes trapped in upside-down mortgages, take heart: even a real smarty-pants like the ex-Hopkins president is taking a bath in the real estate market.

Dr. William Brody bought a Federal Hill rowhouse two years ago as an off-campus get-away. His family trust paid $1.5 million.


Now that Brody has retired from Hopkins and taken a job as president of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies out in California, the place is for sale. List price: $1.3 million.

Brody has a doctorate in engineering and a medical degree. He can play piano, fly an airplane and - no less impressive - operate a Segway. And he's good with money: During Brody's 12 years at Johns Hopkins, the university's endowment tripled.


If a guy like that can lose $200,000 on a second home, maybe all the ordinary real estate losers out there shouldn't feel so bad.

Then again, maybe that's why Brody can afford to lose $200,000.

I reached Brody via his Salk e-mail. He didn't respond to questions about his market timing.

But he offered a bit about the sale of the house and indicated that his luck with real estate hadn't changed.

"We are sad to be selling our Federal Hill home," he wrote. "... it is really a unique property, but if we want to buy a home here (quite a bit more expensive in La Jolla, where I work) we will have to sell our Federal Hill home."

Brody's 4,764-square-foot East Montgomery Street rowhouse boasts "killer Inner Harbor views," "hand-blown, imported light fixtures" and - the real luxury in that part of town - "5 PARKING SPACES." That's according to listing agents Yerman, Witman, Gaines & Conklin Realty.

"The ultimate in urban sophistication," reads the flier. "JUST PLAIN AWESOME!"

Wide-ranging tastes


Michael Steele can't decide if he's pro-life or pro-choice. If he likes Rush Limbaugh or loathes him.

Or, it seems, if he likes rappers or Rat Packers.

Trying to prove his hip-hop cred in his recent interview with GQ, the RNC chief says he listens to P. Diddy, Chuck D . and Snoop Dogg.

Snoop, he says, "reminded me of the fellas back home."

Then reporter Lisa DePaulo lobs one of those trick follow-up questions.

"Who else?"


Steele: "I like Sinatra. I like old-school. You know, Bing Crosby, Sinatra, Dean Martin. Love Dean Martin. He was one of these guys who just didn't give an [abbreviated expletive]. He just didn't. Life was a party, and you either want to party or you don't. But yeah, I like those. I'm a big Pack Rat. I love the Pack Rats from the 1950s - Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, those guys."

DePaulo: "You mean the Rat Pack."

Steele: "The Rat Pack, yeah."

Connect the dots

Michael Steele isn't the first politician to put his foot in his mouth for GQ's Lisa DePaulo. In Philadelphia Magazine in 1994, she reported that then-Mayor Ed Rendell had made sexual comments to her. Rendell admitted to the remarks, but said he thought it was all in good fun. Rendell could have warned Steele: Beware of reporters who put you at ease. ... For the first time, Baltimore magazine ranks area restaurants. No. 1 Charleston, No. 2 Cinghiale, No. 9 Pazo and No. 13 Petit Louis Bistro all have the same owners. Said Allison Parker-Abromitis, marketing director for the restaurant group: "We weren't unhappy at all." ... Top Baltimore law-enforcement types are chasing bad guys and Baltimore marathon glory. Two rival teams - police command staff boys against the criminal-justice girls - are already training to run the October 26.2-miler as a relay. The men's team: Chief of Patrol John Skinner , Eastside Area Commander John Dodson, Maj. Tony Brown of the Southwest District and Maj. Ross Buzzuro of the Northern District. The women's team boasts Deputy Police Commissioner Deborah Owens and three people from the Mayor's Office on Criminal Justice: Director Sheryl Goldstein, Deputy Director Jean Lewis and criminal justice associate Erin Cunningham. ... I've heard from a few people claiming to have witnessed the alleged Michael Steele Oreo incident. And I'm sure at least one of them doesn't have a political ax to grind because her last name is Townsend. The Laura Townsend who e-mailed me is not, however, related to Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the gal who debated Bob Ehrlich that night in 2002. ... While she was e-mailing me, Laura Townsend weighed in on another recent column, about Fred Bealefeld III's lost-and-found dog. "And by the way," she wrote, "why doesn't the police commissioner's dog have a tag?????" Scooby does have tags, said Fred Bealefeld Jr., the chief's father. "He was tagged, but the tag was for the other house up in Harford County," Fred Jr. said. Fred III and family moved to a rental house in Southwest Baltimore in May to comply with a City Charter requirement that he live in Baltimore. The woman who found the dog in Southwest couldn't reach anybody at the Harford number, so that's why she called the animal shelter, the chief's dad said.