January 15, 1979, Monday, Final Edition
SECTION: First Section; A1
LENGTH: 1097 words
HEADLINE: Mandel to Reveal His Plans Today At News Session;
Mandel to Give Decision This Morning
BYLINE: By Michael Weisskopf and David A. Maraniss, Washington Post Staff Writers
DATELINE: ANNAPOLIS, Jan. 14, 1979
For this, the final important decision of his career as governor, Marvin Mandel once again was studying all the angles. He refused to be hurried
as he worked out the best strategy for his all-but-certain resumption of the full powers of office he was forced to surrender 17 months ago.
"It's no longer a question of whether, but when and how,"
gubernatorial press secretary Thom Burden said several hours after Mandel
an hour-long meeting with Acting Gov. Blair Lee III, a session that set the stage for a 10 a.m. news conference Monday. At that conference
according to Burden, Mandel will reclaim his powers -- "there is only a minuscule chance" of any other outcome of this long-running drama.
The question of who runs Maryland has stimulated political
speculation here for three days since a U.S. appeals court reversed Mandel's
conviction on corruption charges and restored his title as governor. To acquire the full powers of the office for the 2 1/2 rmaining days of his
second term, Mandel must only sign a letter reclaiming authority from Lee.
Over the last three days, Mandel, a deliberate and at times
inscrutable man, clearly was in no hurry to make that decision. He said
time to celebrate his political resurrection and to fully explore how his move back into the governor's office would affect Lee and Harry R.
Hughes, who will be inaugurated this Wednesday.
"Timing to him is the key to everything," said Mandel's
former chief of staff, Frank DeFilippo. "Every piece has got to be in place
before he makes
a move. Marvin's the world's greatest chessmaster."
Today, after three days of celebrating. Mandel appeared
more interested in seriously considering his alternatives, of as he said
at a State House
press conference Saturday afternoon, "thinking about thinking about what i'm going to do."
At the one-hour meeting with Lee at the acting governor's
Silver Spring home today, Mandel took part in what press secretary Burden
thorough discussion" of the options. This was in marked contrast to Mandel's earlier discussions with Lee, at which Mandel "reminisced and
talked about everything, except what's relevant," as Lee put it.
The simple transfer of power, when it comes, will be primarily
symbolic, and just as it answers one question it will prompt another: What,
anything, will Mandel do with his restored authority before Gov.-elect Harry E. Hughes takes over at noon Wednesday.
Mandel already has said that he will not move back into
the governor's mansion, which has been vacant since Lee cleared out Saturday
morning. If he decides to work in his State House office, he will have to bring a desk and chair up to the second floor with him, since Lee
removed most of the office furniture and shipped it back to Silver Spring.
There is very little work -- administrative or ceremonial
-- to be doen by a governor in the final days of the transition. The 1980
has been prepared by Lee and Hughes and has gone to the print shop. There are few vacancies on state boards and commissions that Lee
neglected to fill last week.
With his resotred authority, Mandel will be able to pardon
convicted felons in the state. One person in that category -- former Baltimore
Executive N. Dale Anderson -- was pushing hard to get a pardon from Lee, without success. He may renew that effort witn Mandel, who was
himself, only four days ago, a man facing a four-year prison sentence.
Mandel's own legal status was being reviewed this weekend
by the U.S. attorney's office in Baltimore which handled the Mandel prosecution,
and by Justice Department officials in Washington.
These officials have the options of dropping the case against
mandel; asking for a rehearing of last week's 2 to 4 Court of Appeals decision;
seeking a third trial.
Reached at home today, U.S. Attorney Russell T. Baker said he had "no comment" on which course his office will take.
Among the technical objections cited by the Fourth U.S.
Circuit Court of appeals in overturning the Mandel verdict was one that
effectively eliminate some crucial evidence in the case.
On Tuesday, there is a ceremonial duty for a governor to
perform -- the swearing-in of Rita Davidson as the first woman to serve
Maryland Court of Appeals, the state's highest court. Davidson was appointed by Lee, and the acting governor's desire to preside at her
swearing-in has been one of the factors Mandel has considered in weighing whether and when to reassume power.
The other ceremonial function for Mandel to perform is the signing of a formal certificate that commissions Hughes as the next governor.
Mandel, still awaiting word on his cinviction at the time,
did not receive an invitation to Hughes' inauguration when they were sent
ago. He has said, however, that he did not feel slighted by this. "By tradition," Mandel said, "outgoing governors do not take part in the
inauguration. It's the new governor's day."
It is altogether fitting that Mandel would be preoccupied
with the question of "when" at this juncture of his career. His sense of
has served him well, giving him a special advantage in acquiring influence and wielding power.
As a member of the state House of Delegates for 16 years
and later as governor, he gained a reputation as the consummate tactician,
who always seemed to know the best time to introduce legislation, how long to keep bills in committee and when to call in his chits.
Being in the right place at the right time had a lot to
do with his rise as a politician. It is a testimony to good timing that
be became the most
powerful political figure in Maryland in 1969 without ever running for office outside of his legislative district in northwest Baltimore's Jewish
That year of 1969 was a turning point for Mandel. While
serving as speaker of the House, he was elected by the legislature to fill
term of then-Gov. Spiro T. Agnew, a surprise vice presidential choice on the presidential ticket of Richard M. Nixon.
Mandel's meticulous concept of timing often leaves his
advisers and allies in the dark about his thinking. It is a common story
that two opposing
factions can argue their case before him, each leaving with the understanding that he was siding with their position.
"Everything is like a munitions factory to Marvin,' said
his long-time aide, DeFilippo. "Everybody makes a piece of the gun. He's
the only one who
knows how each piece fits together."
GRAPHIC: Picture, After Blair Lee III had his desk removed,
the governor's office in Annapolis was left with a rug and several chairs,
Maryland and United States flags, By Joel Richardson -- The Washington Post