Please share this information about how the Baltimore riots of today are related to the unconstitutional policies of Mayor and then Governor O’Malley.

All through the Governorship of Martin O’Malley,I sat in the Judiciary Committee listening to citizens of Baltimore come before the committee and tell stories about how they were arrested for seemingly innocuous events. They testified many of these events occurred while Martin O’Malley was the mayor of Baltimore and that some continued after he had become the Governor.

Under O’Malley Baltimore Police adopted a theory of policing based upon zero tolerance. No matter how small the infraction, they arrest the person, sitting on the stoop drinking a beer? Arrest them because they may be tomorrow’s bank robber. Someone litters or spits on the sidewalk? Run them in because that will undoubtedly lead to drive by shootings.

In New York, the theory originated that if you want to keep a neighborhood from going down hill you immediately fix the broken window on the abandoned building before that leads to graffiti and squatters moving in. That is probably a good theory with a building and a neighborhood but people are not buildings and neighborhoods are not families. It does not necessarily translate as a, viable theory for policing a neighborhood to prevent criminal behavior.

The “broken windows” theory for stopping an acceleration of crime does not work as well when human beings are concerned. Human beings have rights, they have lives, feelings and pride. When zero tolerance is applied to law enforcement in a neighborhood and people are arrested for littering while sitting on the steps of their home, or for having an open container on their porch, taken to jail, and then never even charged with a crime it results in an arrest record they end up with a record for having been arrested without having been given the chance to challenge the charges. They end up with a record that has numerous adverse affects, including their ability to get a job and maintain it.

You can not expect to treat tens of thousands of citizens this way and not expect a deterioration in the relationship between the enforcers of this policy and those whom it is being enforced upon. O’Malley was aware of what was occurring and if fact took the same attitude towards minorities in the city as he has toward law abiding gun owners in Maryland. Arrest anyone breaking any law, or carrying any gun and worry about guilt or innocence later.

I sat in the Judiciary Committee as a conservative listening as the Delegate Jill Carter brought this problem to our attention. The ACLU, the NAACP and countless citizens came before our committee and told us of these practices. Interestingly, the Democrat leadership in the legislature chose to protect the former Mayor, and Governor, O’Malley instead of the 250 thousand young black and Latino males who were the victims of the O’Malley policing policy.

By honoring my oath to uphold the Constitution, I found myself, allied with those groups and the one or two brave Democrats, like Jill Carter, who were speaking out for her constituents despite the potential embarrassment to the Democrat Governor.

There were things that were attempted to be done and can still be implemented to alleviate the distrust. We offered a list of crimes for which arrest was not necessary but rather left to the discretion of the officer to either give a citation to the offender to appear in court for the offense or to arrest if it were deemed necessary by the officer. For example, this would allow the officer who was called to a home because the owner saw his stolen car parked across the street to issue a citation to the owner of the car who was sitting on his home steps waiting for the officers to arrive drinking a beer instead of arresting the victim of a stolen car who made the mistake of having an open beer on his stoop while awaiting for the police to arrive. This bill flew through the Judiciary Committee and the House with bipartisan support and was picked apart in the Senate.

Delegate Carter also offered legislation which was rejected and went out of her way to stand up against the tyrannical policies which violated the fourth amendment. I recall a bill, of Delegate Haynes’, was passed which called for automatic expungement of the arrest records of those who were arrested but never charged with any crime. This helped relieve some of the injury done to individuals arrested but not charged as a result of the O’Malley “arrest them all” policy, however it
but did not address the distrust being entrenched within this community by the continued unconstitutional police actions.

Several months ago there was a report released about what can and should be done regarding policing in Baltimore. With this report came a minority report issued by the local FOP which was very specific, requested better training for all officers and punishment for bad officers. Amazingly, the powers that be ignored the call by police to provide what the citizens are now calling for as a result of the death of Freddie Gray.

Former Mayor O’Malley’s policies contributed to the riots last night but he is not alone in responsibility for them. Also responsible for allowing the mistrust to grow are those who knew about the unconstitutional actions of Mayor O’Malley and did nothing when they possessed the power and the obligation to do so.

Now the question is, Will those who have an obligation to report what the truth is about the history of Mayor O’Malley’s failed policies and the continuation of those policies today to lead to further escalation of the problems between police and the citizens of Baltimore?

What we do know is that Presidential Candidate O’Malley, will do what Governor O’Malley and Mayor O’Malley did before, which is, with a straight face, squint and tell us that he has created a better world for all of us.

The Man Martin O,malley Allowed to Run The Jail For Years









That giant flushing sound you hear is Martin O’Malley’s 2016 presidential campaign going down the toilet at the Baltimore City Detention Center.

The BCDC is the city’s jail but, like so many other city facilities, it’s financed and managed by the state. Except, according to last week’s federal indictments, at the BCDC it’s hard to tell the criminal inmates from the criminal guards.

The feds indicted 25 people including 13 female guards for smuggling, racketeering, money laundering, illegal drugs and turning the BCDC into a gang “stronghold” run by the Black Guerrilla Family.

According to the indictments, corrupt jail guards smuggled drugs, cellphones and other contraband, took bribes and let the gang run the jail.

And, apparently the female guards took the term “inmate” literally. While some guards stood watch, other guards had sex with gang members. Tavon White, the BGF’s leader, knocked up four guards, one twice. In gratitude the guards tattooed his name on their bodies.

U.S. Prosecutor Rod Rosenstein said “correctional officers were in bed with BGF inmates.” Wow, talk about an apt metaphor. What’s the most confusing holiday at BCDC? Father’s Day!

Want free food, housing, clothes, cellphones, drugs and sex? Get incarcerated in Baltimore and join the Black Guerrilla Family.

This is O’Malley’s worst nightmare. For years he’s been complaining that the hit HBO TV series “The Wire” unfairly depicts Baltimore’s illicit drug trade and sleazy politicians. Now, this is “The Wire” come true.

Compounding the problem, when the scandal broke O’Malley was thousands of miles away in Israel padding his foreign relations resume and sucking up to Jewish voters and donors.

He’s also made himself a target by creating the perception that his presidential ambitions outweigh his gubernatorial concerns. When you thrust yourself into the national limelight by haunting Sunday TV talk shows, picking fights with GOP governors and campaigning around the nation, you can’t duck a major scandal back home.

But that’s exactly what he’s trying to do. The press corps couldn’t wait for O’Malley, the master of “don’t believe your eyes, believe me” spin, to peddle his version of the story. And he didn’t disappoint.

At his Tuesday press conference he tried passing off the jail scandal as “a very positive development” because “there will now be more correctional officers as well as citizens that come forward because they see that we can actually be effective in coordinating together to attack a problem.” (Have you ever noticed how O’Malley’s eyes squint when he’s lying?)

Using O’Malley’s logic, other “very positive developments” include the Titanic because it proved that ships aren’t unsinkable after all and 9/11 because it alerted us to terrorism.

I can’t wait for O’Malley’s first presidential TV ad, “My record of very positive developments include slots, gay marriage, death penalty repeal, gun control and the Black Guerrilla Family.”

O’Malley also tried spreading the blame: “We’re all responsible and we’re all responsible for cleaning it up,” although most state politicians are frantically distancing themselves from the scandal. And he even hinted that he inherited the problem from Bob Ehrlich, who left office seven years ago.

The governor must have been in a playful mood, too, because he launched this laugher: “We have a zero tolerance policy toward corruption of any kind.”

Right, except the feds found a “pervasive nature of prison corruption in Baltimore City’s Detention Centers,” including an unwritten deal between top brass and the gangs to let the BGF keep order in the jail.

“The inmates literally took over ‘the Asylum’ and the detention centers became a safe haven for the BGF,” said the feds.

FBI wiretaps picked up White, the BGF leader explaining, “This is my jail. You understand that? I’m dead serious … I make every final call in this jail and nothing go (sic) past me, everything come (sic) to me.”

Zero tolerance? In 2006 an honest, by-the-book guard was murdered by inmates at Jessup, and in 2009 the BGF was busted at the Baltimore prison for racketeering, weapons and drugs.

Thanks to corrupt prison officials, the inmates were enjoying “salmon, shrimp and crab imperial, sipped Grey Goose vodka and enjoyed cigars.” And, this week, O’Malley and the Board of Public Works, in order to avoid a lawsuit, paid a former inmate $40,000 because he was beaten by fellow inmates for refusing to sell drugs in prison.

If O’Malley was serious about zero tolerance he wouldn’t have signed the 2010 “Corrections Officers’ Bill of Rights,” another sop to labor unions that, according to the feds, undermines discipline and accountability, giving guards freedom to conspire with inmates without punishment.

Corrupt guards are protected by corrupt union rules passed by corrupt politicians. Or as the feds put it, “procedures and personnel … were completely inadequate to prevent smuggling” and there was “no effective punishment” for guards suspected of corruption.

Instead of being fired, corrupt guards are transferred to other posts.

“It ain’t nothing new,” said one female guard in an FBI wiretap. “I get moved over there basically because I’m dirty.”

Sadly, when the feds finally raided the BGF’s jail cells in February, they had to use handpicked guards from prisons outside Baltimore because Baltimore guards couldn’t be trusted.

As he runs for the White House, candidate O’Malley will be hard pressed to explain how all this could happen right under his nose.

Blair Lee is CEO of the Lee Development Group in Silver Spring and a regular commentator for WBAL radio. His column appears Fridays in the Business Gazette. His past columns are available at His email address is

O,malley Pardons Killers






GOv. Martin O’Malley said Wednesday that he would erase the last vestiges of Maryland’s death row by commuting the sentences of the state’s remaining condemned murderers to life without parole.

Acting on the last day of the year and with three weeks remaining in his term, O’Malley said he will spare the lives of four men left in limbo after Maryland abolished the death penalty for future offenders in 2013.

The four are Vernon Evans, Anthony Grandison, Jody Lee Miles and Heath William Burch.

Evans and Grandison were convicted in a 1983 contract slaying at a Baltimore County motel. Miles was found guilty of the 1997 murder of a man during a robbery in Salisbury. Burch was sentenced to die in 1996 for killing an elderly couple when he broke into their home in Capitol Heights.

In a statement, O’Malley said he had spoken recently to the survivors of some of the victims of the four men’s crimes. He expressed gratitude toward the family members for sharing their thoughts and said he had concluded that failing to act would “needlessly and callously” subject then to an “endless” appeals process.

“The question at hand is whether any public good is served by allowing these essentially un-executable sentences to stand,” O’Malley said. “In my judgment, leaving these death sentences in place does not serve the public good of the people of Maryland — present or future.”

Spokesman Ron Boehmer said the governor’s office would publish on Friday a notice of his intention to commute the sentences, as is required by the state Constitution. The actual commutation will come at a later date, Boehmer said.

Before the commutation decision, the inmates were in no immediate danger of execution because Maryland has been under a de facto death penalty moratorium since the Court of Appeals voided the state’s rules for imposing the death penalty in 2006.

O’Malley led the effort to repeal the state’s death penalty in 2013, but the legislation approved by the General Assembly did not address the fate of inmates already under death sentences except to give the power to commute death sentences to life without parole.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and attorneys for Miles argued before the Court of Special Appeals that Miles’ sentence should be changed.

Even though the repeal law wasn’t meant to be retroactive, Gansler argued that the state no longer had the authority to execute anyone.

With the death penalty abolished, the state has no way to write new regulations to carry out the executions of Miles and the other death-row inmates, Gansler argued.

Miles’ attorneys had hoped the appeals court would order a new sentencing proceeding at a lower court. They wanted a lower court to decide between life in prison — with or without the possibility of parole.

“He’s the best of the best of the inmates,” attorney Robert W. Biddle told the appeals court. “Is that someone who should get life without parole?”

Biddle said that Miles, 45, was abused as a child and became a model prisoner while incarcerated. Miles was convicted of the 1997 robbery and murder of musical theater director Edward Joseph Atkinson.

Gary Proctor, a lawyer for Burch, thanked O’Malley for what the attorney called “a tough and courageous moral decision.”

“Given that repeal of the death penalty has already occurred in the legislature, it was indeed time that Maryland’s machinery of death was consigned to the history books,” Proctor said.

Before 2012, advocates had lobbied the legislature for a decade to eliminate capital punishment in Maryland. For them, the four remaining death row inmates symbolized a job not yet finished — and enduring anguish for families.

“For everyone involved, this is the best course of action,” said Jane Henderson, who was executive director of Maryland Citizens Against State Executions.

“These cases were going to go through the courts and go back and forth in appeals until some sentence was determined,” she said. “This has been the problem with the death penalty for many, many years. It puts families through a roller-coaster. What the death penalty does to the families of victims is just cruel, and it was always going to be that way.”

Del. Samuel I. “Sandy” Rosenberg, a Baltimore Democrat who led the fight in the House of Delegates to abolish the death penalty, said O’Malley is doing the right thing.

“It’s done. It’s over with, and life without parole was the appropriate penalty for these four persons and consistent with what we did in the legislature,” Rosenberg said.

The veteran lawmaker expressed confidence that once it’s shut down, Maryland’s Death Row will never reopen. “Clearly the trend across the country is to repeal,” he said.

Sun reporters Erin Cox, Pamela Wood and Justin Fenton contributed to this article.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun



The Alleged Affair O’Malley


TV personality Sade Baderinwa reads at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation “Kids for Kids Family Carnival” at Industria Superstudio on October 24, 2009 in New York City. (Getty Images)more pics »This story was made for the Experience. Sade Baderinwa, a local ABC news anchor, has a few secrets and they were exposed this week.  The story surrounds an alleged affair with the married mayor of Baltimore and her supposedly getting pregnant by him. And to save her career and herself, she was shipped off to NYC where apparently a hit was put on her by the wife of the mayor.

No, I am not going to make an assumption or accusation, but this story got so big because it allegedly was with a TV Personality, however, the Current Governor’s infidelity has always been questioned by those in Maryland except the Liberal Media in Maryland, IE, Baltimore Sun, Washington Post, etc.  Should this Governor decide to make a run for President, be sure to know, that, the Gossip Fishwraps (TMZ, CELEB MAG, X17ONLINE, PEREZ HILTON) will be all over this, and will be background digging for as much dirt as possible, if he runs for President.

Lets not forget about his DUI for which no one can get the records opened to see if he admitted this on his entrance into Law School.  It appears that drinking runs in this Irish Family, as his Daughter was taken home from a night of drinking and not arrested.  The Curran family runs much like the old school Sicilian Mafia, get in the way, we will move you out-of-the-way, dare to speak, men with butterfly nets supposedly (allegedly) comes knocking at your door.

The Governor’s personal relationships with the Angelos Family and Padarakis Clan have always been a hot button topic, stories of condos for Sade, stories of Service details transporting the Governor back and forth from his alleged gal pal.

Let us also not forget that this Governor is a stern supporter of Illegal Aliens, calling them his New Americans.  Former Governor Ehrlich waited way to long to bring Illegal Immigration into the Campaign for election.

Lets us also not forget about what this Governor and his alleged friends did to Walter Abbott, (secret meeting with Senate President Mike Miller and Orioles Owner, Peter Angelos) putting him in Jail on a 2 million dollar bail for a threat he made in jest, much like one makes when they are frustrated and aggravated because they are being ignored and the laws broken, or how about the Illegal Aliens whose bails are always much smaller than that of Walts.  The (alleged) manipulations of the police department to move Abbott around on the night of the so-called threat to the Governor.  Let us also not forget, how the Governor himself, threatened a Beat Down on Wbal Radio Personality, Chip Franklin, who right after this episode ended up reporting in another state.  You see the patterns yet?  Walt Abbott, Sade, Chip Franklin, the secrets that one Ex City Police Commissioner knows about but does not speak of.

Here is my take on going public with denials.  If you have to go on TV to deny an affair, IE, William Jefferson Clinton (You Remember Him right?  He looked into the eyes of Americans on National TV and told them, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman”, well we all know now that, that was not a truthful statement.

During the 2006 campaign, the Future Governor himself came out and spoke to Marylanders, telling them, “I did not have an affair”.  Well, in my mind, anytime you have to go before the press to disclaim your infidelities, than there is a pretty good chance that it may have taken place, but you can draw your own conclusions.

Next, if it was being reported that Maryland’s First Lady, Judge Katie Curran was involved with the whole Sade thing, how come she was not questioned and brought up on charges of Conspiracy or to willfully have someone else injured?  Three guesses where this all came from, protection and help from Daddy, Ex States Attorney Joe Curran, most likely.  This kinda reminds me of the whole Parris Spendenning thing when he was Governor and took in a lover much younger than him, got divorced while Governor, than married the woman with whom he had the affair with, than impregnated her.  At least Parris had the balls (excuse the french) to face the facts and truth and handled it much better than the current Governor.

Ok, sure, I don’t like OWE Malley at all, not one bit, in fact, I think the man is a weasel and nothing more than a wannabe who will use all means necessary to remove any obstacle that gets in the Irishman’s way.  Even Ex Senator Don Munson threw a tirade about me once, stating that I hated the Governor and Senate President Mike Miller, or the email attacks that I received from one John D., Delegate, Waco – D, in which he took personal and verbal shots at my past, which had nothing to do with anything, except for the fact he used another Delegates computer to send those emails, Delegate Pete Hammen and he got off scott free even though he violated the Sarbanes Oxley Laws of using someone else’s account to send me vile emails.

I think what I am trying to say here, is that, Maryland is keen on corruption, it fuels the Democratic Machine in Maryland, one which has a long list of Dirty Laundry, Marvin Mandel, Spiro Agnew (republican) when he was VP, Ex Baltimore County Commish Ted Venatoulis and Nancy Pelosi, and so much more.  The utter vileness of such politicians coming from Maryland and their total disregard for the Legal Citizen is astounding, but I would not say I am shocked.  Its politics.  You know, the stories I have could go on and on, and it’s like talking to a brick wall.  You have a corrupted States Attorney General in Gansler, who refuses to prosecute Illegal Aliens by enforcing the law, you have the ties of Gustavo Torres, Director of Casa De Maryland who pretty much runs the PG, MoCo, Baltimore City, Delegates and Sens, and has them lobby for our Tax Dollars.

Delegate Jolene Ivey, sits on the board of Casa De Maryland, questions of unethical behavior have surfaced regarding her voting record and lobbying for Casa De Maryland for our Tax Dollars.  There has to be an ethics violation for sure.  This is just Part 1 of an expose of Maryland Politicians who prefer to walk the line of unethical behavior, as opposed to those who are there trying to do right by the People, only to be cut off at the path.  Soon we will get into Ike Leggett, Ana Sol, Madaleno, Frosh, Vallario, Jill Carter, Donna Edwards, Chris Van Hollen and many others, so stay tuned.  I can back my information up with validated resources as well.

Disclaimer:  I am in no way saying that this is the way it is, but it is an opinion piece written on media resources to author the information.

Why am I sick and tired of sick and tired?  Well, being that my family is first generation Marylander’s, descendant to the Calvert Family, I feel it is my duty to bring out in the open the Corruption that is emanating from our State House.  It must stop, it has to stop.

We the people must demand open door policy’s and transparency, something this states Government has not been able to do for a very long time.  Its all lies.

Another thing that really bothers me.  Those who wish to see change in our state house never find the time to have someone investigate the claims of wrong doing.  Its like they are afraid to do anything.  Is this because they are afraid of “The Teflon Leprechaun” and the repercussions?

Ask yourself this question, if an elected official needs to go to the media or TV to explain they did nothing wrong, did they do something wrong in the first place?

Kopp, Franchot Criticize O’Malley Pension Shift To Balance Budget

franhot     Two Maryland fiscal officials are urging state lawmakers to reject Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposal to use some money intended to shore up pension liabilities to fill a budget hole. Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy Kopp testified against the proposal Wednesday afternoon before a Senate committee. Kopp, who also chairs the state’s pension board, says the move threatens the stability of the state’s pension fund. “A long term permanent reduction, in the reinvestment of the employee’s contributions and benefit cuts, would in fact be costly to the employer (state taxpayers) and the employee, and we urge you as fiduciaries not to do it,” Kopp told members of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. O’Malley is proposing to cap money used for future pension liabilities at $200 million a year, instead of $300 million. T. Eloise Foster, O’Malley’s budget secretary, says the change will only postpone getting the state to 80 percent of pension funding from 2024 to 2025. “I say, we are still going to make a commitment to pay the pensions of state employees,” Foster told senators. She added that the proposal, “will get our fiscal house in order, and get to a place in time, where we won’t have a structural deficit.” But Franchot says the idea threatens the state’s reputation in the eyes of the financial community. Kopp says she believes it’s the wrong choice. “The short term, the $100-million, please I beg you, do not remove that from the pension system,” Franchot told senators. Maryland lawmakers will be working on O’Malley’s budget proposal for much of the legislative session.

State Prison Chief Leaving

      After more than six years on the job, Gary Maynard is stepping down as the Secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections. In a news release late Tuesday announcing the resignation,  Governor Martin O’Malley credited Maynard with closing the House of Correction in Jessup in just 12 days, shortly after taking the job in 2007.  The nearly 130 year old prison had been plagued by inmate violence, including the stabbing death of a corrections officer in 2006. O’Malley also credited Maynard with policies that drove down both recidivism among inmates and serious violence from 2007 to 2012. This year, Maynard was in charge of making improvements at the Baltimore City Detention Center, a state run jail in Baltimore City. Earlier this year 44 people, including 27 corrections officers,  were indicted by a federal grand jury for smuggling drugs, cell phones and other items in to the facility. Maynard’s resignation was announced one day before a legislative task force announces its recommendations to lawmakers on ways to improve the jail. In June, he told that task force that he could see the day when the state would transfer control of the facility to an independent party. Maynard is expected to leave his job by the end of the month, and will become senior vice president of the Criminal Justice Institute.  It’s a non-profit consulting firm for prisons. The governor has named Gregg Hershberger, Acting Secretary of Public Safety and Corrections.  He is currently the Deputy Secretary for Operations.  Hershberger as worked for the department for more than 31 years, beginning his career as a corrections officer.

Wised UP Baltimore


Ex-Gangster Charlie Wilhelm is Making a Different Kind of Book These Days, and it’s Opening Up a Lot of the City’s Secrets

wisedup om2
Crime and the City Solution: Charlie Wilhelm recounts his days in Baltimore’s criminal underworld in Wised Up, his new book with Joan Jacobson.

By Van Smith | Posted 10/6/2004

Mobtown is not, by reputation, a mob town. Baltimore’s nickname derives from its citizens’ proclivity to riot, not from its role as a home to organized crime—a role that until very recently has been little recognized, much less resisted. Sure, there was Julius “The Lord” Salsbury, who hobnobbed with city pols and lawmen as he ruled Baltimore’s rackets in the 1950s and ’60s, until he skipped bail and fled the country in 1970, never to be heard from again. (Barry Levinson’s Liberty Heights in 1999 retold the Salsbury story). And sure, there’s a 16-month-old outfit in the Baltimore City Police Department called the Organized Crime Division, but it claims to target low-level drug dealers, not racketeers involved in loansharking, narcotics-running, gambling, arson, and murder. Poker-machine guys and titty-bar owners with ties to police and politicians, rogues who maybe bring some coke in from Ocean City or Miami or New York every now and then—they’re not The Sopranos. They’re more like Jimmy Breslin’s The Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight.But with the release this week of Wised Up (Pinnacle Press), by gangster-turned-informant Charlie Wilhelm and ex-Sunreporter Joan Jacobson, Mobtown’s long-held denial of its own entrenched organized-crime problem may start to dissolve. Recognition and frank discussion of a problem, as everyone knows, are the first steps on the road to recovery. And Wised Up—Wilhelm’s story, fully corroborated and retold by Jacobson, almost entirely in Wilhelm’s voice, as if he were regaling the reader over rounds of beer at Showalter’s Saloon in Hampden—promises to let that process begin.

The recovery process for Wilhelm—a longtime loan shark, bookmaker, arsonist, drug dealer, and extortionist—started when he hit bottom in the summer of 1995. The police staged an early-morning raid on his house on Keswick Road in Hampden, and Wilhelm’s gut wrenched as he saw his youngest son, a 7-year-old, scared and crying while the house was searched. Wilhelm wasn’t arrested, though, and a few days later his partner in crime, Billy Isaacs, with whom Wilhelm had run for nearly 20 years, appeared at his front door, fresh out of prison after a federal stint for witness tampering. Wilhelm knew Isaacs had gotten away with a murder in 1978. He also knew Isaacs wanted him to kill two men who Isaacs believed were stealing from their operation. Wilhelm, who had never killed, didn’t want to do the job, and was quickly getting sick of the gangster life. Within a week, Wilhelm went to Washington to tell an FBI agent—a childhood acquaintance of his, Wilhelm’s brother’s best friend—that he wanted to turn informant. He brought no lawyer, sought no deal for the crimes he’d committed, and had no pending charges hanging over him. It was the only way Wilhelm saw to get out.

And it worked. Ultimately, Wilhelm’s dicey errands as an undercover informant led to the arrest of 23 people, including Isaacs, who went to prison for the 1978 murder. Wilhelm supported his family on government funds—$2,500 per month, for a total of $140,000—until he could land a legitimate job as a Baltimore-area carpenter, a career he still has. He never entered the federal witness-protection program, instead leaving town in 1996 to live quietly in Alabama, until homesickness drew him and his family back in 1998. Meanwhile, Wilhelm kept a journal to help beat back chronic anxiety, and eventually was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, from which he still suffers. But the journal became the basis for a four-part series by Jacobson in The Sun, published in November 2001, as well as for Wised Up.

“It’s the only thing I ever did right in my life,” Wilhelm said recently during a sit-down at City Paper’s offices, with Jacobson in tow. “Why should I be the one persecuted for doing something right? Even though all that stuff I did before was wrong—if they told me I had to do 30 years, I’m perfectly happy with that. But why should I have to run? You know what I mean? Why can’t the guys that I dealt with be on the run? Why can’t regular people, hard-working people say, ‘Hey, those guys don’t run. He’s right, he did the right thing, letthem run off,’ and get them to run away?”

That, in a nutshell, is the central message from Wised Up: Baltimore has to recognize that organized-crime henchmen live and do their dirty work in its neighborhoods, and it needs to reject them, just like Wilhelm rejected his earlier life. “The general public has to make these guys the criminals—the bad cops, the bad politicians, the wise guys,” Wilhelm says excitedly. “Make them be the wrong guys. The public has to say, ‘That’s not right, what you’re doing.’ Like Billy [Isaacs]. Billy goes into Hampden, everybody looks up to him. He’s a murderer! Why don’t you have a problem with that? Why can’t people’s opinions change? That’s the problem. Billy will come out of jail, and everybody will think he’s a hero. That has to change.”

A crucial turning point in Wised Up comes in that pivotal 1995 encounter, when Isaacs ordered Wilhelm to murder the two men, and he balked. Wilhelm figured it would only be a matter of time before a contract would be out on him, too. But what’s most interesting, in terms of the larger lesson of Wised Up about the presence of organized-crime figures in city life, is the identity of one of the men Isaacs wanted killed: a fellow named in the book as Ronnie Jones, whom Wilhelm and Jacobson do not describe further.

City Paper, during the mid- to late 1990s, published numerous stories involving Ronald David Jones, an ex-city cop with a history of involvement in vending machines, bars, real estate, and strip clubs. The paper’s interest in Jones was due to his political ties to then-City Councilman, now Mayor Martin O’Malley. Those ties apparently ended not long after O’Malley was elected mayor in the fall of 1999, according to Jones and others interviewed during the intervening years. But during O’Malley’s formative years as a Baltimore politician, Jones was one of his earliest and most generous financial backers. Jones made donations through his wife, ex-wife, and businesses to O’Malley’s campaigns, and the sum reported in campaign-finance records approaches $10,000. (O’Malley isn’t the only political pony Jones has backed. State Sen. George Della, outgoing City Councilwoman Lois Garey, former City Council President Lawrence Bell, and former state Senators Tommy Bromwell and Vernon Boozer all have campaign ties to Jones, and the full list is likely longer.)

During the decade that Jones was betting on O’Malley and others, he was also involved with Joe’s Tavern, an infamous Dundalk Avenue bar that looms large in Wised Up as Wilhelm and Isaacs’ base of operations. Joe’s took its name from its earlier owner, the late state senator, Joseph Staszak, who died in a mysterious boating accident in 1979 on Old Road Bay near Sparrows Point, three months after pleading guilty to federal charges of mail fraud and filing false tax returns. In 1990, Isaacs and Wilhelm were taking over Joe’s, and Jones was at the table with them from the start—though, in a series of Oct. 1 telephone conversations with City Paper, Jones discounted his involvement with the bar, and the Isaacs-Wilhelm crew, and questioned the truth of the claims Wilhelm makes in Wised Up.

Jones says that “because I lent [Isaacs] money at one point, [Wilhelm] said I had something to do with [Joe’s], but I was never a partner, nothing like that. I lent him 7 or 8 thousand dollars for setting up Joe’s, and that was it.” As for whether there was a contract that Isaacs put on his life, Jones says, “It was bullshit. If Billy had killed all the people he said he wanted killed, you’d have to put [all the names] in a phone book.”

Also, he says, Wilhelm wanted out of the gangster life not because of his unwillingness to do the killings Isaacs ordered but because he had “no money. [Wilhelm and another Isaacs associate] put their own hits in—they were robbing the book and blowing [the money] all over town.” In other words, Jones contends that Wilhelm was stealing from his and Isaacs’ own bookmaking operation, and spending so much money that he was running out of juice, so he ran to the feds in order to make government cash as an informant. “The guy wrote a book,” Jones concludes. “To me, it’s fiction.”

“I robbed all the bookmakers—that’s the way it was,” Wilhelm explains in a follow-up interview, while at his carpentry job. “In July of 1995 [when Wilhelm offered himself as a federal informant], I still had $60,000. I did it for money? Who would put their whole family what I had to put them through for $2,500 a month? That little piece of shit.”

When told of Jones’ contention that Jones had virtually nothing to do with Joe’s Tavern, Wilhelm went ballistic: “He’s an absolute liar—I’ve got the paper on that!” And then he left his job site to retrieve a document, which he shortly delivered to City Paper. It was a handwritten promissory note (apparently in Jones’ hand) for $71,000, with a promise to spend $15,000 more on equipment, lent to Joe’s Tavern by Jones, who signed the document along with Isaacs associate Richard A. Payne (the other man Isaacs later ordered Wilhelm to murder) on behalf of Joe’s. Wilhelm signed the note as witness to the December 1990 transaction, which also secured a 50-50 split between Joe’s Tavern and Ron Jones for all the tavern’s vending-machine business for 10 years. Wilhelm says the document was drawn up and signed at the offices of Baltimore criminal-defense attorney Michael Marr.

“I don’t recall anything like that,” Jones responds, adding, “I never got a dime out of” Joe’s vending-machine revenues. Then he remarked about the promissory note, “Goddamn, I gotta get a hold of that—I could collect on it. If you find anybody else who owes me money, call me.” In a phone message left at City Paper later the same day, he said that his wife at the time, Lois Arreguin, was on the Maryland State Lottery license for Joe’s Tavern for one year in 1990.

The absolute truth of the matter is hard to ascertain, despite the documentation. It’s still possible that the money was never loaned, and that Jones never shared the vending-machine take at Joe’s. But Jones freely admits to a long-term relationship with O’Malley. “I’ve known Martin for 14 years, going back to when he ran against [former state Sen. John] Pica” in 1990. Jones recalls being introduced to O’Malley through John Hubble, a real-estate investor who later, in 2001, served for three months as real-estate officer for Baltimore City government. “Once [O’Malley] became mayor, he got a different life,” Jones says. “I don’t want to be in that circle. If you need the mayor, you’re in trouble.”

In response to questions about the mayor’s relationship with Jones, O’Malley spokesman Steve Kearney would only say that “the mayor’s office has nothing to say other than there have been over 10,000 donors to the mayor’s campaigns over the years.” With Wised Up hitting bookstores on Oct. 9 and also available online (www., though, one of the mayor’s longtime—though erstwhile—political benefactors is now fingered in print as having been in business with organized-crime figures. Journalists, voters, and other political observers are sure to notice, and it’s safe to predict that a discussion about organized-crime ties to Baltimore politics will enter the civic debate.

Despite Wised Up’s remarkable disclosures and descriptions of mob life in Baltimore, it remains at its core a story about a man who made a change. “I really wrote the book because I thought it was a great story about how [Wilhelm] changed his life,” Jacobson says. “And I understood that there needed to be chapters about loansharking and bookmaking, and it was fascinating, but I really see this as a book about a guy who really turned his life around. And that’s what I think is the most interesting part about this book. That’s what really kept moving me along. I’d never written a book before, and it’s a big, long process. And that’s what kept me going—it’s a great story. It’s a story of hope.”

Gov. Martin O’Malley alleged ties to organized crime

Will MGM’s alleged mob ties scuttle Maryland casino deal?

 JULY 24, 2012 9:46 AM

Gov. Martin O’Malley has spent the summer working behind the scenes on a deal toexpand gambling in Maryland. His goal is to clear the way for MGM Resorts to partner with a local developer to builda large casino in Prince George’s County. One issue that has not been addressed: MGM is partners with a family in China that has alleged ties to organized crime? Those ties were enough for New Jersey gambling regulators to balk at MGM’s co-ownership of a casino in Macau with Pansey Ho, the daughter of China casino magnate Stanley Ho who has been linked to organized crime in China. An investigation by New Jersey gambling regulators did not accuse Pansey Ho of illegal activity but found her “unsuitable” as a business partner because of her financial dependence on her father, who provided 90 percent of the funds she contributed to the MGM casino in Macau. The scrutiny prompted MGM to sell its stake in an Atlantic City casino, choosing instead to keep doing business with Ho in more lucrative Macau. The question raisedby The Washington Post is whether Maryland gambling authorities would have the same concerns as New Jersey regulators. Some think it won’t be an issue, pointing to Las Vegas where MGM owns casinos. Elected officials all talk about making sure that casinos avoid doing business with organized crime. But in Maryland, where casinos are just getting off the ground, the governor is working overtime to change the state laws to pave the way for a casino company with alleged ties to organized crime. That says all you need to know about how lawmakers look the other way when it comes to doing business with casinos.


OLD BUSINESS O,malleys Crime Dream


Martin O’Malley’s Failed Promise As Baltimore Mayor Will Stay With Him, No Matter Who Wins The Governor’s Race


<div “=””>

Download the entireBlue BookorGreen Bookin pdf format.

<div “=””>

<div “=””>

<div “=””>

<div “=””>

By Van Smith | Posted 11/1/2006

You Really Oughta Vote: Part Two of Two

IN THE SUMMER OF 1999, when then-City Councilman Martin O’Malley was running for mayor of Baltimore at age 36, he wrote With Change There Is Hope: A Blueprint for Baltimore’s Future. It was a two-part, two-booklet title, one bound in a green cover, the other blue. They were handed out far and wide during the last weeks of the 1999 campaign. O’Malley dubbed them collectively as “my epistle” or “my book,” and separately as “the Green Book” and “the Blue Book.”

Today, With Change There Is Hope represents a sweeping archive of O’Malley’s promises to voters. In politics, that’s a contract, a document that sets down what’s expected of the victor in return for votes. There is no penalty for failing to uphold the contract, but when its terms aren’t met, elections–such as the gubernatorial one that will decide between Democrat O’Malley, Republican incumbent Robert Ehrlich, and Green Party candidate Ed Boyd on Nov. 7–can result either in punishment or forgiveness.

Baltimore’s voters held up their end of the bargain with O’Malley when they first backed him seven years ago. O’Malley was expected to deliver–a lot. He’d set his plan down in the 40-page Green Book, which focused on crime reduction, and the 80-page Blue Book, which covered everything else–and how all of it is tied to the crime rate. Those who supported O’Malley’s re-election in the 2004 election did so despite the fact that many of his pledges remained unmet. Now, joined by voters in the rest of the state, they will decide whether to back him again in his bid for governor. O’Malley still owes Baltimore. If he wins the election, he’ll be expected to pay it back from the statehouse. If he loses, he’ll work off his debt at City Hall.

O’Malley focuses on the debt paid, not the debt remaining, as he makes the campaign rounds for governor. He has plenty of accomplishments with which to fill speeches. The main one, perhaps, was described in an Oct. 5 speech at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health: “Instead of wallowing in a culture of failure and excuses, we came together to take on the tough challenges and made progress.”

Running to replace Ehrlich this year, O’Malley recites a concisely packaged 10-point plan instead of handing out lengthy manifestos. Copies of With Change There Is Hopeare hard to come by today. They are not available online (until now: visit Google its title with the word “Baltimore,” and all that comes up is a link toCity Paper‘s 2002 Best of Baltimore “Best Scandal: Police Corruption” blurb. But O’Malley’s 7-year-old collection of green and blue IOUs remains in the archives of history, ready to be dusted off once again.

“My approach as mayor will focus on two basic concepts–urgency and accountability,” he wrote in the Blue Book’s conclusion, after setting the bar for his own performance. He wanted change, urgently, and change came after he became mayor. But it often came not as promised, or sometimes not at all. That’s not surprising, given O’Malley’s great expectations. Urgency is hard to measure (he certainly seemed urgent), but accountability is O’Malley’s middle name. Now he’s accountable for how things changed, or have not.

Just as the mayor’s CitiStat program tries to keep city agencies on their toes by measuring government activities, journalists can apply statistical yardsticks to O’Malley’s promises. There are two sources of information for this exercise: what O’Malley said would happen, and what happened according to the numbers and known circumstances. (Numerous phone messages and e-mails to the mayor’s communications director, Steve Kearney, and O’Malley spokespersons Rick Abbruzzese and Raquel Guillory, were not returned.) Given the vast landscape of his panoramic vision for Baltimore in With Change There Is Hope, it’s best to begin by concentrating, as O’Malley did when he first ran for mayor, on a single issue: crime, and how everything hinges on it.


O’Malley’s June 23, 1999, mayoral campaign announcement speech, delivered at the corner of Harford Road and the Alameda, drew a small crowd. He made up for the lack of attention by using the speech’s text as the Green Book’s opener: “My name is Martin O’Malley. I believe I can turn this city around by making it a safer place, and I mean to begin doing it now.”

First, though, O’Malley had to get elected, and right off the bat his credibility was questioned. He told a story in the speech about having been to the same corner the previous midnight, when he was approached by a drug dealer, who asked, “What do you want?” The exchange gave O’Malley a rhetorical hook for his announcement.

“That’s a question,” the would-be mayor said to 30 or so supporters gathered to hear his speech, “that each of us in this city needs to answer in this important election year.”

Sun columnist Dan Rodricks suspected the hook was hogwash and immediately got on the case. Rodricks visited the neighborhood and found a resident who said that Harford Road and the Alameda is not a drug corner, but a “hackin’ corner” where “guys hang out lookin’ for rides.” O’Malley told Rodricks “it’s no big deal,” and explained that the guy on the corner who gave him his “What do you want?” line for the speech “was doing that hand motion they do when the markets open. It’s a notorious corner. That’s what they do there.” But, Rodricks reported, O’Malley “can’t say for sure that the young guy wanted to sell him drugs. It’s a hunch.” The columnist gave O’Malley’s poetic license its propers: “Good stuff, councilman. Even without that Monday-midnight story.”

O’Malley is prone to hunches, and has thus far benefited from people forgiving him when they don’t pan out. His main hunch as a councilman with mayoral ambitions was that if you solve the crime problem, everything else will fall into place. From O’Malley’s perspective, the revival of schools, housing, health, jobs, population, investment, tax revenues, the real-estate market–in short, all that makes cities tick–depended on public safety, government’s primary responsibility. He waxed on this theme in the Green Book, asking voters to “Imagine how quickly our great City will come back to life when we get hold of public safety and start closing down our expanding drug markets.” He pointed to other cities, such as New York, as crime-fighting models and suggested we simply copy what worked elsewhere.

In a 1999 phone interview about his crime plan, O’Malley was emphatic. “There is no way to create jobs or to improve the business environment if the only businesses expanding are these open-air drug markets. So that’s first and foremost,” he asserted. “It affects everything.” He went on to spell out his policing strategy, which had various names: “quality of life,” “zero tolerance,” and “broken windows.” The idea, he said, was to “improve the reality of public safety” by “changing enforcement priorities, by redefining the mission of the police as restoring public order on our corners and improving quality of life on our corners. When you do that the bigger crimes become easier to solve and easier to deter, and you drive the drug markets indoors, which drives down the random violence that is inflating our numbers to be some of the worst in the nation.”

At O’Malley’s announcement, he called the corner where he was standing an “open-air drug market,” and promised within six months to make it and nine others like it “things of our city’s past.” He added that “in the second year, 20 more open-air drug markets will likewise be shut down, and thus will the people of this city easily measure our success or failure.”

After six months in office, in a letter to The Sun, the mayor explained that he’d taken care of the 10 drug corners. And he described how it had happened: Police, city inspectors, and public-works crews had tidied them up, pronto. It was that easy.

The two-year mark in 2002, by which time O’Malley promised 20 more cleaned-up corners came and went without fanfare. As 2003 began, public frustration about the continuing crime problem was evident.

“We still have open-air drug markets on our corners,” City Councilman Bernard “Jack” Young (D-12th District)–usually, like most members of the council, an O’Malley ally–told the Baltimore Afro American in late January 2003. “Point-blank, nothing’s changed. We’re paying all of this overtime to the police. Where is the change?” O’Malley’s hunch was being called into question.

The experience of crime in Baltimore neighborhoods is as varied as the neighborhoods themselves. What feels to many like improvements under Mayor O’Malley–seemingly safer and clearly more prosperous communities around the waterfront, along the north-south axis of Charles Street, along the Northeast Baltimore thoroughfares of Belair and Harford roads, and in certain other key neighborhoods like Hampden–feels to others like it’s not happening in their neighborhoods. Because the improvements are concentrated in waterfront neighborhoods and the central north-south spine of the city, they are more evident than the sluggish expanses of the east and west sides, where change has come more slowly, if at all.

With or without dramatic crime reductions, though, the city has been rebounding in many ways, and O’Malley’s re-election in 2004 affirmed and affixed the notion that he was doing alright as mayor. Many understood that he would soon run for governor. Once he announced his candidacy for state office, O’Malley’s record as mayor became Republicans’ main message when promoting Ehrlich. They can do that because O’Malley’s hunch hasn’t worked itself out yet.


IF O’MALLEY WAS WRONG ABOUT CRIME being the foremost determinant of the city’s fortunes, then there’s room for forgiveness. Crime in many ways has trended downward, particularly in some parts of the city and for some types of crime. But low interest rates, not reduced bloodshed, likely had more to do with the city’s improved performance under O’Malley.

In the Blue Book, O’Malley noted that in 1999 “City houses fetch roughly one half of what they do in Baltimore County,” because of the prevalence of crime in the city. Since 1999, “thanks to reductions in crime and increased investment in the city, average home values in Baltimore have risen 120%,” according to O’Malley’s campaign web site.

Crime reductions may have helped, but the key factor was the residential real-estate market boom created by historically low interest rates and rising demand. The 2004 median sales price for a Baltimore single-family home was $130,500, compared to $215,000 in Baltimore County. Thus, instead of city houses selling for half the value of county houses, under O’Malley they began selling at about 60 percent of what county houses get. The value of city single-family homes gained slightly more than 35 percent between 2002 and 2004, an amount a tad higher than in Baltimore County.

Real-estate values and tax revenues tend to rise and fall together, and they both jumped under O’Malley, as expected during times of cheap money. In 2000, city revenues stood at about $1.4 billion. In 2004, they broke $2 billion, and stood at $2.1 billion in 2005. Increasing real-estate values helped a lot on the property-tax front, aided by new taxes instituted by O’Malley.

The level of private investment in the city, likewise, has increased substantially. Little scaffolding and few cranes were part of Baltimore’s streetscape in the 1990s, but they are common sights today. The O’Malley administration says the value of development activity under way in 2005 was estimated to be $2 billion, whereas ongoing projects in 2000 added up to a little less than $900 million.

O’Malley’s gubernatorial campaign biography states that, as mayor, he has “promoted job growth by attracting over $10 billion in economic development” and “nearly ended Baltimore’s decades-long population loss.” But jobs and population declined in the city, and unemployment rose from 5.9 percent in 2000 to 7.1 percent in 2005. Job loss from 1999 to ’04 hit Baltimore hard, taking away about 40,000 jobs–the most among Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions, as was the city’s loss of about 15,000 residents from 2000 to ’05. A 2002 U.S. Census snapshot of the city’s unemployment situation pointed out key disparities: While the overall unemployment rate was 6.8 percent, white men were at 2.1 percent and black men at 11.8 percent. The city made the top-10 list in the country for average weekly wage growth in 2005, but at the same time lost more jobs–5,800–than almost all of the 323 large cities and counties studied. While the city’s employment outlook hits some harder than others, the jobs that remain are paying better, and the loss of jobs went along with ongoing loss in population.

The jobs lost under O’Malley came on the heels of all the jobs lost before him. In the Blue Book, O’Malley painted a bleak picture of the Kurt Schmoke years, describing job declines in manufacturing, transportation, retail, banking, and hospitals. The situation hardly improved after O’Malley was elected. Between 2001 and ’04, Baltimore lost nearly 5 percent of its jobs. A quarter of its manufacturing jobs, 15 percent of its banking and finance jobs, 5 percent of its retail jobs–all disappeared in a four-year span. The drop in public employment was pronounced, especially local government jobs, which fell by nearly 4,000 positions, more than 12 percent. Only three sectors posted major job gains: hospitals, educational services, and the hotel and restaurant industry.

Under Mayor Schmoke, the city lost an average of 722 jobs per month, O’Malley calculated in the Blue Book. Between 2001 and ’04 under O’Malley, the city lost an average of 432 jobs per month. That’s a dramatic improvement, but it is still a drastic rate of job loss–especially when the surrounding counties are alive with job growth. The Blue Book pointed out that the surrounding counties posted a gain of 104,000 jobs when Schmoke was mayor, an average of 963 new jobs each month. Between 2001 and ’04, with O’Malley as mayor, the surrounding counties added nearly 63,500 new jobs, an average of 1,322 jobs per month.

Thus, while the city’s job loss has slowed under O’Malley, it has not reversed, as O’Malley predicted. And the surrounding counties’ job growth accelerated by about 40 percent. Baltimore remains the hole in the doughnut of regional employment trends.

The public schools, well, they’re still a mess, but there are bright spots. As the city’s population declines, so does school enrollment–by an average of 2,900 students per year since O’Malley became mayor, bringing the total down to about 85,000. While some of the trends in standardized test scores are good, many others are not. Graduation rates are up for seniors getting a regular education, but down dramatically for the increasing share of students in special education. The money spent to achieve these results has increased dramatically on a cost-per-student basis, and has been the target of near-permanent scandal over the school system’s financial accountability.

In the Blue Book, O’Malley reported that in 1997 only 16.6 percent of third-graders’ scores were “satisfactory” under the state reading tests. This statistic is recited again on O’Malley’s campaign web site, and updated with the claim that O’Malley “helped 61% of the third graders meet those state standards last year.” The standardized tests were changed in 2002. Under the new ones, the percent of third-graders with “proficient” reading scores has risen annually, from 38 percent in 2003 to 59 percent in ’06, when the statewide scores had risen from 50 percent to 63 percent. The same happened with third-grade math scores, with the percent of proficient third-graders rising to 52 today from 40 in 2003, when the statewide scores had jumped only four points, from 50 to 54. That’s some of the good news.

Some of the bad news is that only 2 percent of special-education high-school students passed the high-school English standardized test in 2005. That 2.1 percent passed in 2006 is nothing to brag about, since it indicates that students in the city’s large special-education program don’t have much of an education to look forward to.

As students continue in school, their improved scores in earlier grades should be reflected in improvements as they reach higher grades. In some cases, this has happened, but not in others. The third-grade class of 2004, for instance, was tested again as fifth-graders this year, when its proficiency in math and reading both were significantly higher than those of prior fifth-grade classes. But the sixth-grade class of 2004, which was entering first grade when O’Malley was elected mayor, is another story. When the class reached eighth-grade this year, its share of students scoring proficiently dropped in both math and reading compared to its sixth-grade scores.

O’Malley’s Blue Book measured city schools’ graduation rates harshly, saying that “only 25 percent of ninth graders . . . ever graduate. This is unacceptable.” The percent of regular-education 12th-graders graduating is rising, from 58 percent in 2002 to 64 percent today. But the drop in the share of special-education 12th-graders graduating went from 65 percent in 2002 to 35 percent today.

When running for mayor, O’Malley’s intentions about special education were clear: He wanted significant improvements, and a reduction in the size of the program. He said that, at the time, 18 percent of the student population was enrolled in special education, and he wanted that number to drop to 13. By 2000, it had dropped to 17 percent, which is where it remained in 2005. Meanwhile, by O’Malley’s figures from his first mayoral campaign, the cost of educating each special-education student per year was $9,680. Since then, it has increased by a fifth, and stands at $11,722 per student.

In his governor’s campaign biography, O’Malley expresses pride in city schools, claiming that “for the past three years, elementary school students have posted higher scores in reading, language arts, and mathematics at every grade level.” That’s an accomplishment that would make any mayor proud. But O’Malley, by law, does not control the city school system. As mayor, he is an equal partner with the state in its success or failure–an equal partner with the government headed by his gubernatorial opponent, Robert Ehrlich. “Our children should not suffer due to adult disagreements,” O’Malley wrote in the Blue Book. “In the future, Baltimore should, once again, take greater responsibility for our school system. But we also must build continually on the partnership we have established with Annapolis–it is in the best interest of our children.”

The city-state partnership has suffered from scandal after scandal arising from lack of accountability in recent years, leaving the city school system in such a shambles that it is surprising some children are able to learn adequately. Neither the city nor the state has stepped up to take unilateral responsibility, though their collective responsibility is there for all to see. O’Malley takes credit for the good where he can–with some improved test scores in some grades–and, either as governor or as mayor, may be in a position to do more for at least a couple more years. But he’ll also have to live with the bad, until the system gets fixed.


BALTIMORE UNDER O’MALLEY IS A MIXED BAG OF RESULTS, and it’s hard to say changes in the crime rate made it so. By the raw numbers, though, Baltimore is safer now than when O’Malley started. In the first six months of 2000, when he was working off his obligation to clear the 10 corners, the city logged 141 murders, 161 rapes, 3,010 robberies, and 4,530 aggravated assaults, including 700 nonfatal shootings. In 2005, the totals from January to June were much rosier. Murder was down 3 percent, rape had dropped by more than half, robbery saw a 40 percent reduction, and aggravated assaults were reduced nearly a quarter, including a near 30 percent drop in shootings. The same number of under-18-year-olds–47–were murdered in 2002 as were in 1996, but in the first 10 months of this year 22 kids were killed, and all of last year saw only 14 juvenile homicides, so the situation appears to be getting less bloody for Baltimore’s teens.

Yet, despite these numbers and O’Malley’s optimism and declarations of success, frustrations and distrust about the prevalence of crime abound. Some of O’Malley’s crime numbers remain under the pall of a state effort to audit his numbers this year, an effort that the mayor rebuffed. And O’Malley’s earlier use of an audit of the 1999 figures to establish the baseline for his claims of crime reduction has been called into question.

O’Malley’s handpicked benchmarks in the Green Book set a high bar, and, although he didn’t meet many of them, they often moved in the direction he promised. His Green Book said public-safety improvements in the first two years of the O’Malley administration, for instance, should reflect New York’s as it first adopted quality-of-life policing under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in the mid-1990s. When Giuliani was first starting out, murder went down 40 percent, robbery 30 percent, burglary a quarter, and rape by 8 percent, according to the Green Book’s figures.

By three of these measures, O’Malley fell short. His first two years saw nearly a fifth fewer murders and burglaries, and a quarter fewer robberies–all smaller drops than what Giuliani delivered. (Given the doubts about the Baltimore’s 1999 crime numbers, 1998 was used as the base year for this analysis, giving O’Malley three years to accomplish what Giuliani did in two.) But on the fourth category, rape, O’Malley achieved a reduction of about 40 percent, more than five times larger than New York’s. Rape later became a category of crime suspected in 2003 of being under-reported by Baltimore police, and, after an audit, a 15 percent upward correction in the 2002 numbers was ordered.

O’Malley’s second-guessed crime numbers have historical poignancy. When he was a councilman, O’Malley made a name for himself by proving that then-Mayor Schmoke’s police department was cooking its books to augment its mid-1990s crime-reduction claims. Today’s data-accuracy doubts suggest that perhaps O’Malley’s police department somehow has been aping the bad behavior of Schmoke’s department, though hard evidence of this has yet to arrive. Pending future findings, which themselves may end up subject to charges of inaccuracy, the numbers O’Malley’s police department reported to the FBI are the best available data about Baltimore crime.

The raw numbers about crime reduction that O’Malley likes to cite, though, tend not to take into account the decline in the city’s population. Do so, and Baltimore’s murder rate goes from 40.3 murders for every 100,000 residents in 2000 to 42 in 2005. Thus, it makes sense that many people believe Baltimore remains as murderous as it was before O’Malley became mayor–because Baltimore was, in fact, a bit more murderous, per capita, in 2005 than it was in 2000.

O’Malley pledged in the Green Book to make Baltimore a lot less murderous, by taking the toll down to 175 homicides in 2002. This bold goal helped him get elected 1999, when there were 305 murders. But when 2002 closed out, there were 78 more homicides than he’d promised. Boston, a city of a little less than 600,000 people, and one which the Green Book points to as a model for Baltimore to follow, had 60 murders that year, by way of comparison.

Baltimore’s crime rates look bad when compared to other large U.S. cities, and the numbers hardly improved from 2000 to 2005. After five years of O’Malley, there were 17.6 violent crimes for every 1,000 Baltimore residents in 2005, nearly 80 percent more than the big-city average. In 2000, as in 2005, the city’s murder rate was nearly three times higher than the average for cities of between a half-million and a million people. Robberies in 2000 were 2.6 times more common in Baltimore than in other large cities, and aggravated assaults (including shootings) were 2.2 times more prevalent. Five years into the O’Malley administration, the violence had fallen off, but still occurred at nearly double the rates in other large cities.

In With Change There Is Hope, O’Malley observed that “Baltimore is today the fourth deadliest city in the nation, and the city’s murder rate is seven times higher than in the average city.” Time hasn’t changed much in that regard. In 2005, Baltimore’s murder rate was still seven times the average for U.S. cities. In the 2005 Detroit mayoral race, the fact that only Baltimore had a higher murder rate than Detroit was put in play on the campaign trail. This year, in a ranking against 31 other cities with populations over a half-million, Baltimore was second most dangerous, with Detroit earning the top dishonor.

Where violence is concentrated is where the greatest crime reductions are possible. Traditionally in contemporary Baltimore, the brunt of the violence has disproportionately fallen on the Eastern and Western police districts, compared to the other seven districts. After a period of increasing violence in O’Malley’s first term, it is here, in the Eastern and Western districts, where crime numbers show improvements–fulfilling some of the expectations O’Malley created.

From 1999 to ’02, the share of the citywide homicides happening in the Eastern and Western districts rose from nearly 30 percent to more than 40 percent. Murders were dropping in the city (from 305 in 1999 to 253 in 2002), yet these two districts were showing substantial increases in their body count. That’s now changed. In 2005, the Eastern and Western’s combined tally had dropped 30 percent from 2002’s level, while the rest of the city’s homicides had jumped up a quarter. The burden is shared now by four other districts–the Southern, Southwestern, Northern, and Southeastern–joining the Western with more murders in 2005 than they’d had in 1999.

The recent geographical shift in Baltimore homicides suggests O’Malley in some ways is starting to mirror Giuliani’s 1990s crime-fighting success in New York. In 1999, just before O’Malley declared for mayor, theNew Republic ran a cover story on Giuliani that examined an important trend in the Big Apple’s crime reduction: The sharpest crime drops were seen in the area’s that needed them the most. Harlem’s crime fell 61 percent between 1994 and ’98, for example, and East New York’s murders went from 110 in 1993 to 37 in ’98. Similarly, in Baltimore, the Eastern and Western police districts have recently shown substantial improvements, although several other districts have experienced increases in crime.

Overall, though, the picture on the crime front is pretty bleak compared to O’Malley’s expectations and how it compares to the rest of urban America. “With public will, energy and political leadership,” O’Malley wrote in the Blue Book in 1999, “Baltimore will join the ranks of America’s great rejuvenated cities that are growing safer, larger, and more diverse . . . That is my pledge.” Now it’s seven years later, and Baltimore continues to earn its title as one of the most violent cities in America.


UNLIKE HIS CRIME FIGURES, O’Malley’s budget figures aren’t a matter for debate. In the Green Book, O’Malley indicated that the added cost of his crime plan was, well, nothing, or not much more. “The real solution in Baltimore is not to double size of the broken system,” he wrote about the police department, “but to implement the simple procedural reforms that will make greater use of the substantial resources already in place.” And in the 1999 phone interview, he said crime reductions under his watch would cover the reform costs, explaining that he planned to “increase city revenues by making this city a dramatically safer place quickly, and thereby reversing our loss of population.” He predicted that crime reduction would pay for everything, and then he pulled a George Bush I, promising that “I am dead-set opposed to raising taxes.”

The upshot from the police budget trends is this: a growing proportion of cops at desks, costing a larger amount of money. The department’s budget went up 25 percent from 2002 to ’07, the current fiscal year. Two parts of the departmental budget went up more than 100 percent: Administrative Direction and Control jumped from to $15.5 million to $32 million, while money for the Office of Criminal Justice Policy more than tripled, from $3.5 million to $12 million. Together, the administrative and policy slices of the police pie grew from 7 to 13 percent, while all other parts of the department saw their slices shrink. Though the overall budget went up, department-wide staffing levels dropped by nearly 5 percent from 2002 to today. Administrative staffing jumped nearly 8 percent–the only kind of police staffing that grew. Yet O’Malley’s campaign web site states that he “put more cops on the streets as part of a comprehensive plan to reduce crime.”

The five-year growth of the police budget wasn’t paid for with revenue resulting from an increased city population, as O’Malley had predicted. Population continued to fall, though more slowly. Rather, money was available to expand the police budget because of rising real-estate values and the mayor’s new taxes on energy, cell phones, and real-estate transactions, O’Malley’s prior no-new-taxes pledge notwithstanding. Because of the additional revenues, he was able to keep some promises.

O’Malley vowed in the Green Book to increase funding for the State’s Attorney’s Office “as long as it stays committed to the path of reform, and committed to keeping repeat violent offenders off the street.” The city’s contribution to State’s Attorney Patricia Jessamy’s office has been boosted from $21.6 million in 2002 to $30.4 million today, a more than 40 percent raise that has allowed staffing levels for prosecutions to increase by 55 positions.

The mayor has been true to drug treatment, too. “Since 1996, annual funding for drug treatment in Baltimore has doubled from $16.5 million to $33 million,” O’Malley wrote in the Green Book, indicating this is a positive trend he’d like to continue. And he has. Drug treatment funding under O’Malley increased to $53 million in 2005.

Teen motherhood and other health indicators affect crime trends over the long term, and O’Malley aimed to oversee their decline. He pointed out that in 1997 “nearly 10 percent” of city girls aged 15 to 19 had babies. There was a steep decline after O’Malley took office, and in 2004 the proportion of girls that age who had babies was 6.8 percent. He wanted infant mortality to decline, reporting that the city in 1997 lost newborns at a rate of 14.4 babies per 1,000 live births, “nearly double the state’s rate,” he wrote. It dropped significantly. In 2005, the infant mortality rate had declined to 11.3, half again as high as the state’s.

O’Malley pointed out in the Green Book–as Jay Leno was saying, too, on The Tonight Show at the time–that Baltimore is “the syphilis capital of the United States.” As O’Malley wrote those words, the syphilis rate was in steep decline. In 1999, Indianapolis became the syphilis capital, after Baltimore’s rate had dropped 45 percent in one year. In 2002, Baltimore was ranked 11th among U.S. cities, with an incidence rate of 18.6 cases per 100,000 people. That year, 120 cases were reported. But the disease jumped sharply in 2004, when 209 cases were reported for a rate of 33.2, placing Baltimore third in the nation, behind San Francisco and Atlanta.

Two other sexually transmissible diseases were mentioned in O’Malley’s book, gonorrhea and chlamydia. Baltimore “is rated number two in the U.S. for active cases of gonorrhea,” he wrote at the time. It has dropped significantly since then, but Baltimore was still the fourth-highest city on the list for active cases of gonorrhea in 2004, the most recent ranking available. When O’Malley sought to become mayor, he explained that Baltimore’s national rank was “third for active cases of chlamydia.” The city’s chlamydia rate has actually risen significantly since then, yet its national ranking dropped to seventh highest–an improvement, of sorts.

O’Malley recently summed up his disease-fighting record much more succinctly, and no less truthfully: “Syphillis [sic] is down 75% since 1997 and Gonorrhea is down 45% since 1995.” These surgically selected statistics are posted, along with the rest of O’Malley’s Oct. 5 Hopkins speech, on his campaign web site (

Baltimore’s improved status on drug-related emergency-room visits, an important indicator of drug abuse, is impressive, but still marginal in the national context. In 1999, O’Malley wrote that Baltimore is “rated number one in the nation for hospital emergency room admissions involving substance abuse.” In 2005, it was tied with New York and Boston for third in the nation.


BUT O’MALLEY FAILED ON SOME IMPORTANT OTHER PROMISES, such as the one about reducing the need to arrest people. The Green Book was adamant about giving police expanded power to issue civil citations for minor crimes, which was expected to free the courts of petty cases. “Through the use of citations–which make fewer arrests necessary–and courthouse reforms that keep innocent people and minor criminals from languishing in jail for weeks before trial,” O’Malley predicted that “fewer people may actually be locked up using quality-of-life policing strategies.” At the very least, he promised that “quality-of-life policing does not mean arresting and locking up our city’s young men indiscriminately.”

Under Schmoke, there had been 70,000 arrests in 1997 and 85,000 in 1998. After several years of quality-of-life police work, in 2004 O’Malley’s expanded civil-citation powers were put in place. In 2005, city police logged around 100,000 arrests. In 2006, the city was sued by the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, who raised charges of widespread indiscriminate arrests. So much for the less-arrests theory of zero-tolerance policing.

O’Malley’s record on police corruption and misconduct has a level of intrigue appropriate to the cloak-and-dagger milieu of internal investigations. His campaign pledges on the issue were zealous. “We know,” he wrote in the Green Book, “that when the police are encouraged to be more assertive, government must become more assertive and open in its policing of the police.” He’d been complaining about police corruption and misconduct under Schmoke’s commissioners for years, and yet “our problem has only gotten worse,” he insisted, adding that “There is nothing more harmful to effective law enforcement, and more devastating to the morale of law-abiding citizens and law enforcement officers, than police misconduct.”

To fight it, O’Malley pledged in the Green Book to “open the Police Department’s internal investigation process, to assure the public that police problems are not being swept under the rug by colleagues’ complicity.”

Immediately after gaining City Hall, O’Malley asked outside consultants to look at the department’s problems. Among their tasks was a survey of police personnel about street-level corruption, which showed that 23 percent of the department believed that more than a quarter of its officers were “involved in stealing money or drugs from drug dealers.” The survey put numbers on the idea that the Baltimore police had a corruption problem.

And yet nothing much happened. Not for years. There were two corruption arrests that didn’t pan out. The case against officer Brian Sewell, suspected in 2000 of planting drugs on an innocent suspect, became suspicious when police evidence against him disappeared during a break-in at internal investigators’ offices, and the charges were dropped by prosecutors in 2001. Officer Jacqueline Folio, accused of a false drug arrest, was found not guilty in a 2003 criminal trial, and the department’s administrative case against her was so full of exculpatory evidence and apparent attempts at cover-ups that she was cleared entirely–and settled her own lawsuit against the city over the whole, career-ending episode. At the end of 2003, police said they had conducted 202 “random integrity tests” to catch bad cops since 2000, yet the only cops nabbed were Sewell and Folio.

The quiet continued. In early January of this year, The Washington Post reported that O’Malley had been booed at a legislative hearing over his department’s high volume of arrests, and that the mayor countered that aggressive arrests would be reflected in increased misconduct complaints, which were down. He was soon to lose the use of that argument at hearings, for 2006 quickly became a memorable year in the annals of Baltimore police misbehavior.

Two days after the legislative hearing, on Jan. 6, a city grand jury charged three officers with rape, unearthing evidence that their undercover squad was corrupt in other ways as well. In April, a federal jury convicted two Baltimore police detectives for robbing drug dealers, a city grand jury charged an officer with stealing rims off a car belonging to an arrested citizen, and an officer caught a gambling conviction. In July, two officers were charged in Baltimore County in separate crimes–fraud and theft in one case, and burglary and stalking in the other. And in August, a Baltimore officer was charged with identity theft in Pennsylvania.

As a councilman and mayoral candidate, O’Malley was passionate about the idea that the police department needed a housecleaning. Police officers “after all are only human,” he said in the 1999 phone interview, so they must be policed “to insure that temptation, unchecked anger, and prejudice do not tarnish the moral authority necessary for a police department to effectively perform its job.” After five years of relative quiet punctuated by weak corruption cases under O’Malley, what he predicted in 1999–“well publicized arrests of clusters of officers who are lured away by the easy money and lucrative money of the drug trade,” as he put it in a 1999 phone interview–is finally coming true.


THE GREEN BOOK SET DOWN AN ANECDOTE ABOUT SCHMOKE’S police commissioner Thomas Frazier coming before the City Council in September 1996, on the heels of councilman O’Malley’s return from New York to study its policing strategies. “You don’t have to tell me about zero tolerance. I know what they do in New York,” Frazier was quoted as saying. “They’re doing the same thing I started doing here with Greenmount Avenue–close down the open-air drug markets, drive them indoors, and you reduce the violence. . . . I have to be a team player. When we start closing down the open-air drug markets, the judges complain that we’re crowding their courts and the Mayor makes me back off. . . . Tell the judges. I’m only one piece of this criminal justice system.”

And so is Mayor O’Malley only one piece of the city’s public-safety complex, though you’d never know that from reading the Green Book. To get elected, he made it seem like he was a one-man crime-fighting machine, that all he had to do was hire a police commissioner to deploy known policing strategies proven successful in other cities, and it would all fall in place–an instant urban revival. It’s doubtful any mayor could have met the expectations O’Malley set for himself, much less one who hasn’t gone through four police commissioners and three interim commissioners the way O’Malley has. Still, he scored points for seeming to try and for being in power when interest rates dropped. This Nov. 7, the state’s voters will decide whether he tried hard enough. Either way, he still owes.




 Fox’s Jesse Watters went to Maryland to investigate a major scandal in the Baltimore jail system.

Watters interviewed a former inmate who highlighted the major flaws in Maryland prisons, including the extensive transport of drugs and weapons throughout the corrupt jail system.

Watters then confronted Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley about the controversy and asked if he was holding anyone accountable for the scandal. Watters highlighted that the Governor’s policies have created a passive environment that allows for corruption in prisons.

Jesse then caught up with Gary Maynard, the Maryland Secretary of Correctional Services, and questioned if he would resign over the scandal. Maynard said he would not.

13 Female Guards Indicted For Smuggling Drugs & Phones




BALTIMORE (WJZ)— A major gang bust is made inside Baltimore City’s jail system.

It was a brazen scheme to smuggle drugs and cell phones into Baltimore jails. More than two dozen people face federal charges, including corrections officers, some of whom got pregnant by the same inmate.

Rochelle Ritchie has more on the case involving the notorious Black Guerilla Family gang.

It’s a jailhouse soap opera involving drugs, sex and money between corrections officers and inmates. The operation was brought down  by tapped cell phones.

Twenty-five people now face federal charges after being part of one of the largest gang-operated criminal enterprises seen at the Baltimore City Detention Center.

“These 25 defendants participated in running the activities of the Black Guerilla Family from behind bars in Baltimore City,” said Rod Rosenstein, U.S. Attorney.

Thirteen female corrections officers, seven inmates and five alleged co-conspirators are charged with racketeering, money laundering and possession with the intent to distribute. Officials say all 13 have been suspended without pay and the department is moving to fire them.

The affidavit says the corrections officers helped members of the notorious Black Guerilla Family gang smuggle cell phones, marijuana, prescription pills and cigarettes into the jail to sell to other inmates and make thousands of dollars.

“This situation enabled BGF members to continue to run their criminal enterprise within the jail and the streets of Baltimore,” said Steve Vogt, FBI.

Corrections officers hid the contraband in their shoes. Unlike other facilities in Maryland, Baltimore City does not require employees to remove their shoes when going through screening.


“We are committed to ensuring that this activity does not happen again,” said Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein.

The ringleader of it all, according to the indictment, is Tavon White, a four-year inmate charged with attempted murder. He reportedly made $16,000 in one month off the smuggled contraband.

Four corrections officers–Jennifer Owens, Katera Stevenson, Chania Brooks and Tiffany Linder, who are also facing charges–allegedly became impregnated by White since he’s been in jail.

Charging documents reveal Owens had “Tavon” tattooed on her neck and Stevenson had “Tavon” tattooed on her wrist.

The indictment seeks the forfeiture of $500,000 and other proceeds of the enterprise, including luxury automobiles.

White allegedly gave Owens a diamond ring and luxury cars to Owens, Stevenson and Brooks.

Secretary Gary Maynard is taking full responsibility.

“It becomes embarrassing for me when we expose ourselves and we participate in an investigation that’s going to show what’s going on in our jails that I am not proud of,” Maynard said.

Despite Tuesday’s takedown, Baltimore City police call members of the BGF gang a spreading cancer that they will continue to find and prosecute.

“We will be relentless in driving them into the ground,” said Baltimore City Police Commissioner Anthony Batts.

As a result of the investigation, Maynard says policy and security changes are forthcoming.

The BGF has been a dominating gang in Maryland detention facilities since 2006.