BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Marvin Mandel, Maryland’s 56th governor, has died at the age of 95.
He was known as a political magician and credited with modernizing our state government.
The democrat led the state for more than a decade, but was forced from office by a corruption scandal.
In a statement released by the family on Sunday night, Mandel passed away peacefully after having spent two days visiting family in St. Mary’s County.
Born in 1920 in Baltimore, Mandel served in the House of Delegates for 17 years until becoming the 56th governor of Maryland in 1969.
Mandel was known for being one of Maryland’s most effective governors, bringing the state into the 20th Century by significantly modernizing all three branches of government, building a subway in Baltimore and spending $1 billion on school construction.
But the former governor’s accomplishments were overshadowed by personal problems, including a divorce in which he moved out of the governor’s mansion to marry another woman.
Mandel was convicted back in 1977 on charges of fraud and racketeering. The charges stem from a scheme in which prosecutors say Mandel was given money and favors for vetoing one bill and signing another to help his friends make money on a horse racing track deal.
After 19 months behind bars, his sentence was commuted by President Ronald Regan and the conviction ultimately overturned in 1987.
During a previous interview with WJZ, Mandel said that he stayed strong while serving time behind bars.
“You’re able to do it if you can within your own heart known that you haven’t done anything wrong to hurt anyone in the public,” he said.
The case remained controversial decades later.
Governor Larry Hogan expressed his condolences on the passing of Mandel on Sunday night saying, “The First Lady and I send our deepest sympathies and condolences to the Mandel family and all those who loved and cared for him. The state of Maryland lost not only a former governor but also a truly great leader and someone countless people thought of as a friend, including myself. I will be forever grateful for the advice, wisdom, and stories Governor Mandel has shared with me throughout the years.”
“No other governor has had the lasting impact on all three branches of Maryland government and while he held elective office for 28 years, he dedicated his life to making our state a better place to live,” said Hogan. “It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to Governor Mandel, but I know that his legacy will live on, through the many people he touched during the course of his life.”
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake expressed her sorrow saying, “I know that Governor Mandel will be remembered for many accomplishments during his time in state government, particularly the instrumental role he played in developing and promoting public transit in our region.”
The former governor’s son, Paul Dorsey said, “Governor Mandel was a great governor but more importantly a great father and grandfather. He spent his final weekend with family in St. Mary’s County eating crabs and enjoying the beautiful scenery that St. Mary’s has to offer. He lived life to the fullest.”
Funeral arrangements are expected to be announced early this week.
Governor Hogan has order flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of the former governor.