From Creativity to Corruption, Mandel Was a Political Force

31 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Former Gov. Marvin Mandel dies.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A colorful and complex figure in Maryland politics, Marvin Mandel was seen by some as an innovator who reorganized state government to be more efficient. Marvin Mandel, whose record of modernizing Maryland’s state government was overshadowed by a messy divorce and a fraud conviction for helping associates profit from a racetrack deal, died on Sunday in St. Marvin Mandel, who won acclaim during two tumultuous terms in the State House as one of Maryland’s most effective chief executives only to be forced from power on corruption charges in 1977, died Sunday afternoon, his family said.

Marvin Mandel died Sunday, ending a remarkable life that made him one of the most influential Maryland governors of the past century and one of the most colorful, with personal drama providing flourishes to his large public accomplishments. He was 95. “The state of Maryland lost not only a former governor but also a truly great leader and someone countless people thought of as a friend, including myself,” Hogan said. “I will be forever grateful for the advice, wisdom, and stories Governor Mandel has shared with me throughout the years. A half length portrait of Governor Marvin Mandel at this desk, the first governor the come under criminal indictment in the history of Maryland, for mail fraud and racketeering, 1977. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images) Mandel was known for being one of Maryland’s most effective governors, bringing Maryland into the 20th Century by significantly modernizing all three branches of government, building a subway in Baltimore and spending $1 billion on school construction. If you live long enough in politics, all may not be forgiven, but most is forgotten, and if you’re lucky, only the good stuff is remembered, MarylandReporter.com wrote in May.

Mary’s County celebrating the 50th birthday of his stepson Paul Dorsey. “The First Lady and I send our deepest sympathies and condolences to the Mandel family and all those who loved and cared for him. But the former governor’s accomplishments were overshadowed by personal problems, including a divorce in which he moved out of the governor’s mansion to marry another woman. That’s certainly true of Mandel, who turned 95 in April and was feted at a birthday celebration that was an old-timers reunion for a man who left office 36 years ago. He was widely acknowledged as a creative and effective governor who restructured state government and pushed big school construction and mass transit initiatives. The charges stem from a scheme in which prosecutors say Mandel was given money and favors for vetoing one bill and signing another to help his friends make money on a horse racing track deal.

Back then, the legislature chose the speaker of the House of Delegates, Mandel, since there was no lieutenant governor. “I’ll Never Forget It” is what Mandel called his memoir published in 2010 when he turned 90 – a title that could have been applied to a thousand autobiographies. It might better have been called “The Accidental Governor.” Based on a series of interviews conducted by Christopher Summers of the Maryland Public Policy Institute over the years, the book is “written” in the colloquial style of a plain-spoken man, a Jewish kid from East Baltimore. It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to Governor Mandel, but I know that his legacy will live on, through the many people he touched during the course of his life,” Gov.

He lived life to the fullest.” In recent years the lifelong Democrat re-emerged in the public arena as a regent of the University System of Maryland appointed by Republican Gov. The conviction remained the dominant event of his career even after it was overturned on a technicality in 1987 because of a Supreme Court ruling in another case. Mandel had almost 10 years as governor, though 19 months of that was spent in a federal prison camp in Florida, on a mail fraud conviction that was later overturned on appeal.

Mandel, a Democrat, had compiled a substantial record that included placing strict limits on carrying handguns, protecting the environment, streamlining the court system, helping Washington and Baltimore build subways and having the state assume school construction costs that were burdening localities. But prosecutors said the federal mail fraud charge was applicable to Mandel, because at the time it allowed prosecutions for people who defrauded someone out of property. In a brief interview for this obituary in 2011, he said he was proudest of reorganizing state government, consolidating 248 independent agencies into 12 cabinet-level departments. “We reduced the government to a sizable figure of agencies where we could adequately work with them,” he said. “You have no idea how difficult it was to get them to surrender their ‘freedom,’ as they called it.” He added, “I had legislators crawling out of my pocket.” In his first two legislative sessions, 93 of the 95 measures he proposed were enacted. But it was a later legislative episode that brought him down and sent him to prison for 19 months before President Ronald Reagan commuted his sentence in 1981. Mandel has been called “the architect of modern Maryland.” He took hundreds of disparate state agencies, and put them together under a modern cabinet system.

Beginning as an accidental governor chosen by the legislature, Mandel, a Baltimore native, quickly established himself as a formidable statewide politician. Maryland became the first state to have a transportation department overseeing roads, mass transit, port and airports that he purchased for the state to run. The governor became enmeshed in a convoluted legal case that led to his conviction in 1977 of accepting $350,000 to help longtime allies obtain extra racing days for a Prince George’s County racetrack they had secretly purchased. Mandel and a former state House majority leader, gave the governor a $320,000 share of a profitable investment company that owned land leased by the federal government for the Social Security Administration. Mandel’s legal travails tainted his image as a dedicated public servant and eroded the enormous political power he had amassed over 27 years of public life.

Mandel announced through his press office on July 3, 1973, that he was leaving his wife of 32 years to marry the woman he loved, Jeanne Blackistone Dorsey. “As (press secretary) Frank DeFilippo said when I gave him the statement and told him to take it down to the press, ‘This is going to be the biggest explosion on July 4th they’ve ever had,'” Mandel recalled in his memoirs. However, his accomplishments as a state legislator and governor could neither be easily dismissed nor readily forgotten by people long familiar with state government.

Serving as governor “is far more difficult today than it was 20 years ago,” Mandel told MarylandReporter.com in an interview five years ago. “I think the legislature and the governor have done a pretty good job at keeping the state functioning, But you can’t keep raising taxes. You just can’t keep doing it.” “We’ve reached a point where we have to reduce the size of government,” Mandel said. “I just think government is getting too big. William Donald Schaefer and Mandel, who told tales about their terms as governor. “Part of us will remember him in a period of great corruption with Agnew and everything else, and part of us will remember him as someone who contributed to the well being of the state,” Glendening said. “The state will be better because of his work long after we’ve forgotten his personal failures.” A short, soft-spoken man, Mr.

I don’t think you should spend money you don’t have.” When he entered the legislature in 1952, Mandel said, the budget was $250 million and today it is $32 billion. “Nobody knew what a billion dollars was,” he said. Mandel recalled that he didn’t raise “general” taxes during his tenure, but according to historian George Callcott, the budget under Mandel rose 180% – going up double-digits all but one year. Agnew’s 1973 resignation as vice president on bribe-taking charges, was not universally popular in Maryland, where some defenders saw only traditional state political practice, not crime, in his actions. The governor’s legislative program included eight constitutional amendments —including reform of the state’s court system — and legislation reorganizing the executive department’s 248 agencies and departments into 11 departments headed by Cabinet-level secretaries.

Mandel’s leadership, hard work and intimate knowledge of state government earned him a reputation as a capable executive when successive presidential administrations had been pilloried over the prolonged U.S. involvement in Vietnam and the Watergate scandal. Jacobs, after praising him for keeping “the state budget commendably tight” while enacting a progressive, modernizing agenda. “He was excellent at legislating, competent at administering, and an embarrassment at acknowledging the difference, publicly perceived, between right and wrong.” Mr. After the war, he began his law practice, forming a partnership with three associates and remaining a member of the firm until he was elected governor. The following year, the State Central Committee was faced with the problem of filling a 5th District vacancy in the Baltimore delegation to the House.

Mandel, and by a son from his second marriage, Paul Dorsey of Gaithersburg, Md.; a stepdaughter, Helen Dorsey of Leonardtown, Md.; two stepsons, Philip H. In April 1974, two of the governor’s friends had been notified by the U.S. attorney’s office in Baltimore that they were under investigation by a federal grand jury.

Mandel and five associates, alleging that the governor used his power to push legislation in Annapolis that benefited his friends, who in turn gave him hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and gifts. Hughes as governor, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the convictions of all six men and ordered a new trial — an outcome that allowed Mandel to shoulder Lee aside and reclaim the powers of office for 451/2 hours. For several years, the former governor devoted much of his time to the care of Jeanne Mandel, who was stricken with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease).

During the 2006 legislative session, the former House speaker took an active role as an advocate for legislation supported by the state’s wholesale liquor distributors, who were locked in a turf battle with Maryland wineries. The Board of Regents determined in May 2006 that Mandel’s actions that year and in the previous two sessions had violated its policy prohibiting members from lobbying the legislature.

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