Sheila Dixon Has Swamp Baggage In Corrupt Baltimore But Leads In Mayoral Race

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Written by Ann Brown
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Sheila Dixon has swamp baggage in corrupt Baltimore but still leads in the upcoming race for mayor. The primary election is set for June 2. Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon is pictured during a news conference, Jan. 13, 2009. She was indicted by a grand jury on 12 counts, including perjury, theft and misconduct in office. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)

Former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon is one of the favorites in the upcoming Baltimore mayoral race, despite her past corruption scandal.

She’s one of the top three candidates for mayor, along with former T. Rowe Price executive Mary Miller and current City Council President Brandon Scott, according to a poll conducted by The Baltimore Sun, WYPR-FM and the University of Baltimore.

Still, the race is close. Dixon and Miller are tied at 18 percent support among possible primary voters surveyed. Scott follows closely behind with 15 percent support, WBAL reported. 

“It’s definitely a three-way race,” said Steve Raabe, president of OpinionWorks, the Annapolis-based firm that conducted the poll, according to the Baltimore Sun. “Sheila Dixon and Mary Miller are literally tied. Brandon Scott is right behind, but he’s a leading second choice. The three of them are really competitive.”

The race is divided among racial lines, with Dixon getting support from 26 percent of Black voters and just 3 percent of white voters. Miller has 31 percent of white voters and 11 percent of Black voters, the poll showed. 

Scott, however, has a racial balance of support — 17 percent white voters and 16 percent Black voters. 

The primary election is set for June 2 with many residents voting by mail due to the current covid-19 restrictions in place.

This could be Dixon’s second time around as the city’s mayor after her first term ended in disgrace.

On June 17, 2008, investigators from the state prosecutor’s office executed a search and seizure warrant at Dixon’s residence. Subpoenas were issued to aides and local reports indicate that the investigation included a look at gifts including several fur coats, as well as Dixon’s spending habits. Dixon, the city’s first female mayor, was being investigated for alleged bribery.

On Jan. 9, 2009, Dixon was indicted by a Baltimore grand jury on 12 counts: four counts of perjury for failure to list gift cards on financial disclosure statements from the fiscal years 2004-to-2006; two counts of misconduct by a fiduciary for the use of the gift cards on various dates at various stores; three counts of theft of more than $500 of gift cards that she had solicited for donations to needy families but had then used for her own personal use; and three counts of fraudulent misappropriations.

Dixon pleaded not guilty and went to trial. On Dec. 1, 2009, the jury found her guilty on one charge of misdemeanor embezzlement for violating her fiduciary duties by using approximately $530 in retail store gift cards that were meant to be distributed to needy families. Dixon, however, was found not guilty on two more serious felony theft charges, and not guilty on one charge of misconduct of office. The jury could not reach a verdict regarding the second charge of misdemeanor embezzlement.

After more than four years of investigation and a month after a guilty verdict in the first corruption trial, Dixon took a plea deal, Christian Science Monitor reported.

On Jan. 6, 2010, Dixon resigned as mayor and got four years of probation. She kept her $83,000 pension but she was required to donate $45,000 to the Bea Gaddy Foundation and to serve 500 hours of community service. She agreed to sell the gifts she received from developers, including a fur coat and electronics that she purchased with gift cards. 

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Lastly, Dixon, a Democrat, agreed to not seek office in the city of Baltimore or state of Maryland during the term of her probation.

Then in November 2012, Dixon was charged with violating the terms of her probation because she failed to make restitution payments to charity on schedule. She went ahead and made her full payments to charity and her probation was lifted after December 2012.

“I love this city,” Dixon said at the time of her resignation. “I love the people of this city. And I am committed to this city in whatever capacity or talent that God has called me to continue to do…What I owe the citizens is to move on and bring closure to this so we can continue to stay focused on the city.”

Now Dixon wants to run the city once again.