Maryland Gov. Marvin Mandel is planning to move out of the governor's mansion in Annapolis early next week after completing his move to a five-acre suburban estate this weekend.
Mandel has asked state officials to perform a full inventory of the 54-room mansion at the start of next week to combat gossip that he might pack more than his personal items when he leaves.
As he awaits sentencing next Friday, the convicted governor has maintained a relaxed exterior among friends, discussing politics and talking about plans to write his memoirs.
He made a surprise appearance at a political fund-raiser Thursday night and mingled easily with the politicians, lobbyists and government officials who formed his retinue during his nearly nine years in office.
His days have been filed with occasional visits to his Statehouse office as well as coordinating the task of moving to a $675-a-month rental house in Severna Park, an affluent suburb of Annapolis.
As is characteristic of the 57-year-old governor, he has carefully guarded details of his re-entry into private life. Even his best friends say he has not discussed career plans.
"As soon as you get down to specifics, Marvia says he's got another call," said one longtime associate who speaks to Mandel daily and reminisces about the governor's old political wars.
The gossipy town of Annapolis gifts through a rumor a day, usually involving Mandel's plans for earning a living amid crushing legal bills and not apparent means of support other than a government pension of $14,000 a year.
For the record, Mandel said through a spokesman that he is considering "a number of opportunities, none of which involve the practice of law." He faces certain disbarment after sentencing.
One rumor making the rounds last week had Mandel weighing a publisher's offer to writer his memoris for $250,000. The governor said though a friend that he may become an author, but said he has not received an offer.
Acting Gov. Blair Lee III has not announced when he and his wife, Mimi, will occupy the mansion, although they are expected to move into their Annapolis residence sometime this month.
Lee and his aides have refused to discuss details of the transition until the Mandels leave the mansion so as to not give the appearance that they are trying to hurry the governor off the premises.
Lee, who hopes to win the gubernatorial election year, has said that attitude would be "graceless."
Lee, an avid gardener and his wife, an energetic volunteer in Montgomery County Red Cross and Girl Scout water safety programs, also may frequently return on weekends to their five acre Silver Spring home where they can pursue their hobbies more privately.
The Lee's eldest son, Blair IV, a 32-year-old gubernatorial campaign aide, and his wife and son may also move into the Annapolis mansion for political accessibility.
The tall blond younger Lee, known as "B-IV" around the state house, earns $10,000 a year in campaign funds as a speechwriter, strategist and campaign stand-in for his father. He left his Southwest Virginia cattle farm in June to help with his father's campaign.