- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 27, 2008

CATONSVILLE, Md. (AP) — William Donald Schaefer is known for his stubborn streak and the fierce loyalty of his aides. Both came into play as the former Baltimore mayor, then Maryland governor and comptroller moved into a retirement community.

Mr. Schaefer, 86, wasn’t ready to move out of his Pasadena town house, where he lived alone. Friends and associates had been pressuring him to relocate to Charlestown Retirement Community out of concern that he was too frail and isolated, particularly after a fall in early March that required a trip to the emergency room and stitches.

So Lainy LeBow-Sachs, a longtime aide who has power of attorney over Mr. Schaefer, took matters into her own hands. She took Mr. Schaefer to lunch on Thursday and had movers pack up his belongings while he was away.

“She tricked me,” Mr. Schaefer said. “Sure, I was mad. How would you like to come home, and there was nothing but bare walls?”

But by Friday afternoon, he appeared resigned to the move.

“I walked in, and it was home,” Mr. Schaefer said of his new apartment, which was filled with furniture and knickknacks when he arrived. “I thought I’d hate it. That was a long time ago.”

Mr. Schaefer’s sixth-floor apartment has a view of the Baltimore skyline. When he moved in, John Erickson, chief executive officer of the retirement chain that includes Charlestown, was there to greet him.

Mel Tansill, an Erickson spokesman, said nearly 100 residents stood and applauded Thursday evening when Mr. Schaefer showed up for dinner at Charlestown’s Atrium restaurant.

Mrs. LeBow-Sachs said she sent movers to Mr. Schaefer’s house once before, in March, but he sent them away.

“I wasn’t ready to move,” said Mr. Schaefer, a lifelong bachelor.

Mr. Schaefer left office in 2007 after losing the Democratic primary for a third term as comptroller. He was defeated by Peter Franchot, who went on to win the office. Mr. Schaefer served as mayor from 1971 to 1987 and as governor from 1987 to 1995.

Not all of his friends and associates were happy with the way the move was handled.

Mrs. LeBow-Sachs’ “subterfuge has served to make him look incompetent and incapable of making decisions for himself,” said Mike Golden, a former Schaefer spokesman. “I think it’s highly insulting.”

But Nelson Sabatini, a longtime friend and former city health secretary, said Charlestown would be a perfect fit for Mr. Schaefer.

“It will be filled with people who will line up every day to come and pay respects to him,” Mr. Sabatini said. “So he will have an audience.”

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