JANUARY 12, 2009
After a lengthy corruption investigation, the mayor of Maryland’s largest city has been indicted with a dozen felony counts including theft, perjury, fraud and misconduct in office.
Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon—who made headlines as the crime-infested city’s first female mayor—made bigger headlines for becoming the first in office to be criminally charged by state prosecutors. Last summer authorities raided her home as they searched for evidence of her criminal activity, which evidently dates back to her years as City Council president between 2001 and 2005.
In a 31-page indictment Dixon is charged with using gift cards donated by real estate developers and the city’s Housing Department for poor families to buy herself expensive electronic equipment, fur coats and other items. As City Council president Dixon solicited the gift cards for the city’s underprivileged families.
One of the real estate developers that donated gift cards was Dixon’s boyfriend, whose company (Doracon Contracting) she helped get millions of dollars in tax breaks and zoning changes. In fact, the developer boyfriend also showered Dixon with lavish gifts as she used her power to help him secure several lucrative, high-profile Baltimore development deals.
Dixon, under state probe for about three years, has also been investigated for steering at least $600,000 worth of public contracts to firms that employed her sister and former campaign chairman. Most deals didn’t have a written contract and Dixon helped craft a way to keep payments under $5,000 so they wouldn’t need approval from the Board of Estimates.
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