Rep. Steven Palazzo invited friends to a tailgate party (left) in Annapolis, Md., during Columbus Day weekend. According to a police report, Palazzos staffers got into trouble after the lawmaker left.
Someone in the office of Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) apparently mistook Annapolis’ genteel waterfront for Panama City Beach.
Palazzo had invited friends and family to Annapolis, Md., for a tailgate party leading up to the Southern Mississippi-Navy football game during the Columbus Day weekend.
But the real blowout happened at a waterfront home rented for the Congressman by his scheduler, Whitney Donald, an event that morphed into a two-night party attended by a host of unruly House aides. The scene became festive enough that local police were called on the second night.
Sources close to the Congressman insist Palazzo and his family never stayed at the rental property in question, nor asked staffers to reserve the house.
“The Congressman at no time asked someone on staff to book a house for him,” Palazzo’s chief of staff, Jamie Miller, tells HOH.
But multiple members of his office staff did stay at the house that weekend.
And the ensuing shenanigans guaranteed that the security deposit, which was put on a credit card with a Cannon House Office Building billing address, was forfeited.
Following the fracas, at least two Palazzo staffers, Donald and Richard McKay, tried to run interference, going as far as to put someone up to impersonate the Congressman over the phone to the irate homeowner. They also offered Southern confections as conciliatory countermeasures.
“The Congressman has been made aware that there has been some potential misconduct,” Miller says, “and [knows] we are looking into it.”
Miller and Palazzo’s communications director were made aware of the incident more than two weeks ago, and Miller assured the property manager for the house during the week of Oct. 24 that those responsible would be taken care of.
Miller confirmed Monday that Donald and McKay will no longer be working for Palazzo.
Neighbors say it became clear on that Friday night that the weekenders next door were looking for a good time.
A neighbor returned home around 9:30 p.m. Oct. 7 and discovered a “frat house” scene at the rental property, with people carousing outside.
The neighbor shrugged it off until about 11:15 p.m., at which point he stepped out on his deck and asked the revelers to settle down.
“Who the f--- is that?!” one partygoer barked. The neighbor reiterated his plea for peace and quiet at 11:30 p.m. — with the caveat that the cops would be called as a last resort. That persuaded the party attendants to retreat inside, where they kept at it for at least an hour and a half.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.