Beds, desks, chairs and other items from the governor's mansion were not the only furnishings to occupy Martin O'Malley's time as he prepared to leave office in January.
A table was the focus of a spirited email exchange between O'Malley and Alvin Collins, his secretary for the Department of General Services.
According to emails released through a public records request, Collins wrote to O'Malley on Jan. 9 — a week before the Democrat and his wife purchased 54 furnishings from the mansion at steep discounts. "I have not forgotten the table," Collins wrote. "Should happen next Friday [Jan. 16]. Any remaining items are in progress!!!"
After O'Malley wrote back, calling Collins is his "favorite cabinet secretary," Collins wrote that the incoming administration of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is "throwing me outa here. Sir, know that I will forever be thankful for all you allowed me to do. Always there for you."
O'Malley replied: "What do you mean they are throwing you out? Before the inauguration? What about the table?"
"Table will be fine, sir. Friday [Jan. 16], as I will be monitoring if weather holds up. [Samuel L. Cook, the former director of the Annapolis Capital Complex,] got it covered."
On Thursday — the day O'Malley and his family moved out of the mansion — general services employees formally declared 54 mansion furnishings as "junk."
O'Malley spokesmen said the governor then asked to purchase the items, rather than have them be thrown out. State officials say the process was started earlier, when his wife, Katie Curran O'Malley, asked for the declaration. Cook devised the depreciation formula used to set a $9,638 price tag to armoires, beds, desks and other items that originally cost taxpayers $62,000, according to documents obtained by The Baltimore Sun.
The Department of General Services, which has a new secretary, is reviewing the sale to see if procedures were followed.
As for the table discussed in the emails, O'Malley's former chief of staff, John Griffin, said it was not one of the mansion furnishings purchased by the governor. Griffin said it was a conference table in the governor's reception room in the State House that O'Malley wanted moved to a new government building because it was "cumbersome to take down and reassemble."
He could not explain what Collins meant by "any remaining items are in progress!!!"
Collins did not respond to requests for comment.