Sheila Ann Dixon (born December 27, 1953) served as the forty-eighth
mayor of Baltimore, Maryland. When the former mayor, Martin O'Malley,
was sworn in as governor on January 17, 2007, Dixon, the president of
Baltimore City Council, served out the remaining year of his term.
In November 2007, she was elected mayor. She was the first
African-American female to serve as president of the City Council,
Baltimore's first female mayor, and Baltimore's third black mayor.
On January 9, 2009, Dixon was indicted on twelve felony and
misdemeanor counts, including perjury, theft, and misconduct. The
charges stem partly from incidents in which she allegedly
misappropriated gift cards intended for the poor. On December 1,
2009, the jury returned a "guilty" verdict on one misdemeanor count of
fraudulent misappropriation and Dixon received probation provided she
resign as mayor as part of a plea agreement, effective February 4,
2010. She was succeeded by the City Council president, Stephanie
Rawlings-Blake, on February 4, 2010.
By December 2012, Dixon had completed all of the terms of her
probation. The case closed by the end of 2012.
In 2015, Dixon ran for mayor of
Baltimore in an unsuccessful comeback
attempt; she was defeated in the Democratic primary by State Senator
Catherine E. Pugh.
3 Mayor of Baltimore
4 2007 mayoral election
5 The "Shoe Incident"
6 Prosecution and resignation
6.1 Fraud trial and guilty verdict
8 External links
Dixon was born and was raised in the Ashburton neighborhood of West
Baltimore. Her father, Phillip Dixon, Sr., was a car salesman, and her
mother, Winona Dixon, was a community activist, active in her church,
political causes, and member of local community groups. Dixon was
active at her son's high school, she attending sporting events when he
was on the track team. She also visited many
Baltimore City Public
Schools during her term as mayor.
Dixon attended the
Baltimore City public schools and is a graduate of
Northwestern High School. She holds a bachelor's degree from Towson
University and a master's degree from Johns Hopkins University.
An active member of Bethel A.M.E. Church and former trustee, Dixon
continues to serve as a member of the Stewardess Board. She serves on
other boards, including the Institute of Human Virology, the
Transplant Resource Center, the Urban Health Initiative, the Baltimore
Public Markets Corporation, the Living Classrooms Foundation, and the
Walters Art Museum.
Twice divorced, Dixon is raising her two children, Jasmine and
Joshua. She is the aunt of professional basketball player Juan
Dixon, who led the University of
Maryland to the 2002 NCAA
championship, and Jermaine Dixon, who played guard for the University
of Pittsburgh Men's Basketball Team. She is a lifelong resident of the
city of Baltimore.
Dixon (front, third from left) cuts the parade ribbon at the 2007
Baltimore Greek Independence Day Parade with Congressman John
Immediately after university, Dixon worked as an elementary school
teacher and adult education instructor with the Head Start program.
She then worked for 17 years as an international trade specialist with
Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.
In 1986, Dixon was elected to the
Baltimore City Democratic State
Central Committee representing the 40th Legislative District. In 1987,
she won a seat on the
Baltimore City Council
Baltimore City Council representing the 4th
Council District, where she served twelve years. She was elected the
city council president in 1999 and again in 2003, the first
African-American woman elected to this position. Dixon won her
re-election race for president of the
Baltimore City Council
Baltimore City Council and
defeated her nearest competitor (Catherine Pugh) by 21,000 votes.
As City Council President, Dixon was first in the Mayoral line of
succession and became Mayor of
Baltimore in January 2007 when
Martin O'Malley resigned after being elected Governor of
Maryland in November 2006.
Mayor of Baltimore
Sheila Dixon addressing Baltimore's Annapolis delegation on two
Baltimore City gun related bills.
During her tenure, Baltimore's homicide rate dropped for the first
time in the 30 years. This was due to a crime plan she introduced
in 2007 that focused on more community policing and using police
resources to target the most violent offenders. To combat crime, Dixon
appointed Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III, who
supported her neighborhood crime strategy. In February 2008, the
Baltimore City Police reported a sharp decline in homicides in
Baltimore. According to police there were 14 murders in the city for
the month of January, the lowest monthly total in 30 years. As of
April 2008, there had been a 40% reduction in murders in the city
after experiencing a record high in 2007 during Dixon's first year in
office. By April 15, 2008, the number of murders in the city had
grown to 54, the lowest total to this time of the year in recent
memory, putting the city on pace for 189 murders in 2008. By the end
of 2008, the murder count was 234—a 17% reduction over the previous
While her critics complained that crime had risen in
her tenure and that she did not pay enough attention to the issue, her
record shows that she had increased police patrols, cracked down
on the possession of illegal guns, and actively secured federal
and state funds for crime-fighting programs.
Several city developments were completed during Dixon's tenure such as
Inner Harbor East
Inner Harbor East community, the Legg Mason Tower, and the
Baltimore Hilton Hotel.
2007 mayoral election
Dixon ran for a full term as mayor in the 2007 election and won the
Democratic Party primary in September. Dixon maintained a strong
fundraising advantage throughout the campaign. Scores of public
officials, unions and newspapers endorsed the Mayor's campaign. This
Baltimore Sun, The
Baltimore Afro-American, the AFL-CIO,
former Rep. Kweisi Mfume, Minority Contractors Association, SEIU, SEIU
United Healthcare Workers East, Gov. O'Malley, Comptroller Peter
Franchot, Unite Here, United Auto Workers, and others.
A major issue during the primary mayoral campaign was crime. By
mid-2007, homicides in
Baltimore were on pace to surpass 300 for the
year, the most since the early years of the O'Malley administration.
On June 19, Dixon presented her crime plan to 500
officers, but Dixon was attacked by Mitchell and Carter for not
doing enough. Dixon's crime plan departed from previous Mayor
Martin O'Malley's as it stressed community policing and focusing on
apprehending the most violent offenders as opposed to zero tolerance.
As of June 19, there were 146 homicides and 340 non-lethal shootings
in the city.
By the end of July 2007, Dixon's campaign had been endorsed by the
Baltimore Metropolitan Council of the
AFL-CIO collectively as
well as several individual union endorsements.
Peter Franchot was the only statewide elected official to endorse
Dixon until an August 13 rally where Governor
Martin O'Malley gave his
endorsement. Former Congressman
Kweisi Mfume also endorsed Dixon at
the same event in front of Baltimore's City Hall. State Delegates
Tom Hucker (Montgomery County), Maggie McIntosh, Curt Anderson, Cheryl
Glenn, Melvin L. Stukes, Talmadge Branch, Senators Nathaniel J.
McFadden and Cathy Pugh and
Baltimore City Council
Baltimore City Council members Robert
Curran, Bernard "Jack" Young, Ed Reisinger, Stephanie Rawlings Blake
and Agnes Welch have endorsed Dixon and were at the rally as well.
Dixon won the 2007
Baltimore Democratic Mayoral Primary over her
closest opponent, Keiffer J. Mitchell, Jr., with 63 percent of the
total votes; she won against Republican Elbert Henderson in the
general election in November.
The Democratic primary results were:
Keiffer J. Mitchell, Jr.
Jill P. Carter
A. Robert Kaufman
The "Shoe Incident"
In 1991, Dixon waved her shoe at white colleagues on the Baltimore
City Council and yelled, "You've been running things for the last 20
years. Now the shoe is on the other foot." This incident led many
people, including some of her supporters, to view her as a divisive
Dixon explained her earlier comment by stating that she has "matured"
since making the shoe comment and that she now attempts "to
communicate better with individuals."
In her first inaugural address as Mayor, Dixon alluded to what she
considers people's wrong impression of her and stated, "I want you to
know that I am much more than a newspaper headline or a sound bite on
the evening news."
Prosecution and resignation
In 2008, investigators from the Office of the State Prosecutor
executed a search warrant at Dixon's residence in southwest Baltimore.
Around the same time, several subpoenas were issued to aides. The
investigation looked at gifts, including several fur coats, as well as
Dixon's spending habits. Two of Dixon's associates—campaign chair
Dale Clark and Mildred Boyer, a businesswoman who had hired Dixon's
sister—pleaded guilty in 2008 to tax charges and cooperated with
prosecutors during the Dixon investigation. The affidavit filed to
support a search warrant on the company Doracon was published by the
Baltimore Sun in June 2008; the affidavit stated that Dixon was being
investigated regarding bribery.
On January 9, 2009, Dixon was indicted by a
Baltimore grand jury on
twelve counts: four counts of perjury, two counts of misconduct, three
counts of theft, and three counts of fraudulent misappropriations.
Fraud trial and guilty verdict
Sheila Dixon trial
In November 2009, Dixon was tried for three counts of felony theft,
three counts of misdemeanor embezzlement/misappropriation, and a
single count of misconduct of office. The trial began on November 10,
Arnold M. Weiner serving as lead counsel. During the trial,
two counts (one theft charge and one embezzlement/misappropriation
charge) were dropped when prosecutors declined to call a key witness.
On December 1, 2009, after seven days of deliberations, the jury
returned verdicts on four of the five remaining counts. Dixon was
found not guilty of the two felony theft charges, and one count of
misconduct of office. She was found guilty on one misdemeanor
embezzlement charge relating to her use of over $600 worth of retail
store gift cards that were intended to be distributed to needy
families. The jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision regarding
the final charge of misdemeanor embezzlement.
On January 6, 2010, as part of a plea agreement reached with
prosecutors, Dixon announced that she was resigning as mayor,
effective February 4, 2010. Under the terms of the agreement Dixon
will get probation before judgment (PBJ) in the recent case where she
had been found guilty, as well as in a perjury trial that had been
scheduled for March 2010. Under the Criminal Procedure Article, sec.
6–220 of the Annotated Code of Maryland, a PBJ is not a
conviction, thereby enabling her to keep her $83,000 pension.
Maryland law, a PBJ may be expunged from one's record once
the probationary period is over. Dixon was sentenced to four years of
probation under the terms of the agreement. She also will be required
to donate $45,000 to the Bea Gaddy Foundation and to serve 500 hours
of community service at Our Daily Bread. In addition, she has agreed
to sell gifts she received from developers, including a fur coat and
electronics that she purchased with gift cards. She agreed to not seek
office anywhere in the state of Maryland, including
the term of her probation and she will not solicit or accept taxpayer
money to pay her defense fees.
Dixon was a member of the former Mayors Against Illegal Guns
^ a b "Mayor
Sheila Dixon indicted".
Baltimore Sun. January 9, 2009.
Archived from the original on January 18, 2009. Retrieved January 9,
Baltimore mayor resolves probation violations". WBAL-TV.
December 7, 2012. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013.
Retrieved August 3, 2015.
^ Topic Galleries – baltimoresun.com
^ Luke Broadwater (November 9, 2006). "Dixon to become Baltimore?s
first female mayor". Washington Examiner. Retrieved April 30,
^ "Mayor Reduces Murder Rate". WBAL-TV. Retrieved April 2,
2008. [permanent dead link]
^ "Murders Drop In City In January". Wbal radio. Retrieved February 4,
2008. [dead link]
^ "Baltimore's Murder Rate". WBAL-TV. Archived from the original on
February 18, 2012. Retrieved April 2, 2008.
^ Ditkoff, Anna (April 16, 2008). "Murder Ink". City Paper(Baltimore).
Archived from the original on April 22, 2008. Retrieved April 17,
Baltimore Homicides". Retrieved July 10, 2009.
^ a b Topic Galleries – baltimoresun.com
^ Melody Simmons (May 3, 2007). "
Baltimore Mayor Unveils Strategy to
Attack Increase in Gun Crime". The New York Times. Retrieved January
^ Topic Galleries – baltimoresun.com
^ a b Agents' injuries prompt union call for review –
Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved February
19, 2016. Missing or empty title= (help)
^ O'Malley, Mfume Endorse Dixon In Mayor's Race –
Story – WBAL
Baltimore Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback
^ a b City of
Baltimore – Board of Elections
^ The Washington Informer: National Archived January 23, 2009, at the
^ Campaign Beat: GOP's Campbell Takes on
Sheila Dixon and the Status
Quo October 13, 1999 Citypaper.com Archived January 23, 2009, at
the Wayback Machine.
Maryland Newsline –
Maryland Votes 2006
^  Archived April 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
Archived from the original on September 6, 2008. Retrieved June 17,
2008. Missing or empty title= (help)
^ "probation before judgment". Mitchie. Retrieved January 8,
^ Lang, Robert (January 7, 2010). "In Spite Of Resignation, Dixon Can
Run Again". WBAL radio news. Retrieved January 8,
2010. [permanent dead link]
^ "Dixon Announces Resignation as Mayor of Baltimore". WBAL. January
6, 2010. Archived from the original on February 18, 2012. Retrieved
July 4, 2010.
^ "Mayors Against Illegal Guns: Coalition Members". Archived from the
original on March 27, 2008.
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Mayor of Baltimore
January 17, 2007 – February 4, 2010
Mayors of Baltimore