Citizen Schaefer in welcomes new friend in retirement community

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William Donald Schaefer has a new companion, a cat named Willie IV.

The bachelor ex-mayor, ex-governor and ex-comptroller has had dogs over the years – Willies I, II and III – but this is his first cat, unless you count the stray that used to hang around Schaefer’s house when he was mayor.

"The cat’s crazy," Schaefer said when I reached him by phone a few days ago at his home at the Charlestown retirement community in Catonsville. "He’s a brown-and-white. He’s a pretty little thing. He keeps himself absolutely, perfectly clean."

Where’d he get it?

"He just wandered in," Schaefer said. "He said, ‘Can I stay here overnight?’ I said, ‘Yeah, but after that you’ll have to pay rent.’ So he’s paying – a dollar a year."

Willie IV’s owner, by the way, is the subject of an hourlong documentary titled Citizen Schaefer. MPT will air it March 30, but VIPs and some Charlestown residents will get a screening tomorrow night at the Charlestown auditorium.

The filmmakers had trouble finding footage of Schaefer taking his famous dip in the seal pool, since stations used to reuse lots of videotape back then, said Mike Golden, a longtime aide who’s at MPT these days.

After scouring University of Baltimore archives, they turned up the old WMAR tape. They also found old black-and-white newsreel footage of Schaefer from his City Council days.

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