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Angelos Not Just Your Ordinary High-Income Earner

It was not a random example.

Speaking to Democrats in Frederick this week, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) used Baltimore Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos to illustrate why the state's nearly flat income tax is "patently unfair."

Angelos, who is also a wealthy trial lawyer, should not be paying the same rate as "the woman who cleans his office," O'Malley told the breakfast crowd.

Left unmentioned was the emnity between O'Malley and Angelos that dates back to the early years of O'Malley's tenure as Baltimore's mayor.

Their relationship soured shortly after O'Malley was elected in 1999. Angelos, a generation older, was part of the city's old guard that expected more deference than O'Malley was willing to offer. Early skirmishes included a dispute over redevelopment plans near where Angelos owns a skyscraper.

Angelos had been one of the country's most prolific donors to the Democratic party. But as O'Malley geared up to run for governor, Angelos made clear his leanings were elsewhere.

In 2003, Angelos hosted a fundraiser for O'Malley's Democratic primary rival, then-Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan. The mayor is not "the presumptive heir to the governor's chair," Angelos said at the time. "I think we need to disabuse him of that idea."

Nine months later, O'Malley announced that he would support a new baseball club in Washington, infuriating Angelos.

Angelos would later host a fundraiser for then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), whom O'Malley unseated last year.

Some leading leading Democrats have since sought to patch things up between O'Malley and Angelos. But this week's mention suggests those efforts haven't gotten very far.

The comment came as O'Malley was discussing way to close the state's $1.5 billion budget gap. Creating more income tax brackets could generate more revenue for Maryland while possibly allowing a tax break for some lower income residents.

By John Wagner  |  July 18, 2007; 8:53 AM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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