Baltimore Mayor Charged With Theft

sheila dixon, baltimore, mayor CBS

Mayor Sheila Dixon was indicted Friday on charges that she accepted illegal gifts during her time as mayor and City Council president, including travel, fur coats and gift cards that she allegedly used for a holiday shopping spree.

A grand jury indicted Dixon on 12 counts, including four counts of perjury and two counts of theft over $500. She was also charged with theft under $500, fraudulent misappropriation by a fiduciary and misconduct in office.

The State Prosecutor's Office, which has been investigating corruption at City Hall for nearly three years, said Dixon received holiday gift cards for four years from several people. Prosecutors said the gift cards were to be distributed to needy families, but were instead used by Dixon to buy herself electronics, clothes and other merchandise and also handed out to members of her staff.

"I am being unfairly accused," Dixon said in a statement. "Time will prove that I have done nothing wrong, and I am confident that I will be found innocent of these charges."

Dixon said she would not step down. "I will not let these charges deter me from keeping Baltimore on the path that we have set, or from carrying forward the significant progress we have made thus far," she said.

Dixon, a Democrat, served on the City Council from 1988 through 2007 and as council president from 1999 through 2007. She became mayor in January 2007, finishing the term of Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley, and was easily elected to a full, four-year term later that year.

The indictment against Dixon does not name Ronald H. Lipscomb, a prominent developer who briefly dated the mayor and who was indicted Wednesday on one charge of bribing a City Council member. However, previous court documents leave no doubt that Lipscomb is the "Developer A" mentioned in the indictment who showered the mayor with gifts and took several lavish trips with her in late 2003 and early 2004.

Both were married at the time, although they were separated from their spouses. Dixon has since divorced.
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