When Dale Hess became a member of Maryland's House of Delegates in the 1950s, he was an interesting counterpoint to the street-wise delegate from Baltimore City, Marvin Mandel.

The Harford County dairy farmer soon became fast friends with Mandel, however and as their relationship matured, Hess, who became a wealthy real estate insurance tycoon, served as a type of patron to Mandel.

After retiring from the House in 1970, Hess became a partner in Tidewater Insurance Associates, Inc, an Anne Arundel County combine, whose state work grew dramatically under the Mandel administration.

Hess, 46, who has helped raise millions of dollars for Mandel's campaigns, testified that he gave Mandel's first wife a $4,500 diamond bracelet in 1972 and included the governor in a partnership agreement in the same year that prosecutors say was worth $140,000 to Mandel.

"Dale Hess is like most of us, a basically decent human being," his lawyer, William G. Hundley, said in closing arguments. "He places a high values on friendship and loyalty."

In his testimony, Mandel said he and Hess, who shared a suite at the Maryland Inn in Annapolis when both were legislators, are the kind of friends who like to "razz" each other.