06 January 2010

Mobtown's Mayor to resign

From investigativevoice.com

In a deal with prosecutors that will preserve her $85,000-a-year pension, Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon has agreed to resign effective Feb. 4, her attorney announced Wednesday afternoon.

She agreed to plead guilty to perjury charges, and perform 500 hours of community service at Our Daily Bread during a period of two to four years, defense attorney Arnold Weiner said outside the Mitchell Courthouse East in downtown Baltimore.

Dixon also agreed to pay $45,000 to the Bea Gaddy Foundation. She also will sell the fur coats that she got through a gift certificate from her developer boyfriend and the electronics that she purchased with gift cards intended for needy families will be auctioned on E-bay and the proceeds donated to Youth Works, a nonprofit organization for Baltimore teens.

In the "probation before judgment" deal, also referred to as an Alford plea, the pending perjury charges against her will be dropped.

"There will be no conviction in either of these cases, and there will be no criminal record in any of these cases," Weiner emphasized.

He said she would eventually seek to have the charges expunged from her record.

Dixon was returning to City Hall, where she would sign a formal resignation in the afternoon, he said.

Weiner said the city would not pay any of Dixon's legal fees, as many had speculated. He said she was taking care of the fees, although he declined to give specifics about the amount or the payment arrangements.

Weiner emphasized that Dixon already performs many hours of community service and donates money to charities.

State Prosecutor Robert Rohrbaugh, when asked why he agreed to the plea deal, told reporters: "I thought it was important that this mayor resign and the city could move forward."

He said Dixon, 55, would not be allowed to work for the city or the state for two years.

When asked whether she could retain her pension, Rohrbaugh said, "That's something we don't get involved in."

However, adter her conviction is tossed out on her sentence date of Feb. 4, there would be no grounds to deny her the pension.

Rohrbaugh said he was satisfied with the outcome of the case.

"It's a victory for justice...I think justice was done in this case."

As City Council president, Dixon took over as mayor in January 2007 after then-Mayor Martin O'Malley became governor. She was elected as mayor in Novermber 2007, 20 years after joining the City Council. Dixon was Baltimore's first female mayor.

-Staff report

Mobtown will miss you Sheila!

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