City Desk

Adrian Fenty’s Smart Car Got a Speeding Ticket

While us city hall reporter types are on the subject of the mayor's personal conveyance, LL ran the mayor's plates (CV-6154) through the DMV ticket payment database.

He got a hit!

The mayor's Smart Car Fortwo Passion Cabriolet picked up a $50 ticket on Monday, May 11, for 'SPEED 11-15 OVR LIMT' while going westbound on the 5500 block of East Capitol Street NE [screenshot].

Mafara Hobson, mayoral spokesperson, says the ticket was issued by a camera. (Makes sense—LL would love to meet the cop with the balls to write the mayor a speeding ticket.)

Hobson says that Fenty was driving the car when the ticket was issued.

OK, but what was Hizzoner doing in the far eastern reaches of the District—just blocks from Prince George's County? That's a question that Fenty's public schedule doesn't quite answer; there were no events that day in the vicinity.

What is in the vicinity is the residence of Veronica Washington, the mayor's personal assistant, who is regularly seen riding shotgun in the vehicle with Fenty and lives just off of East Capitol Street. Before Hobson confirmed that Hizzoner himself was at the wheel, LL considered the possibility that the car was being driven by Washington. There were rumblings several months back that she was taking the car home on occasion.

[UPDATE, 6:30 P.M.: Allow LL to be clear that he does NOT mean to insinuate that Fenty was on his way to or from Washington's residence when the ticket was issued; only that the location of the ticket led LL to ask some questions. Hobson tells LL that Hizzoner was doing a walkthrough of Watts Branch Rec Center, a few blocks away.][UPDATE, 8:10 P.M.: Hobson fills in a few details: The ticket was issued at 3:19 p.m., she says, and the walkthrough had been scheduled from 2 p.m. to 3, to be followed by a press conference at D.C. Public Schools headquarters at 825 North Capitol Street. An media advisory LL dug out of his inbox says the presser had been scheduled for 3:15 p.m.—so that's why he was speeding!]

Yesterday evening, LL queried Washington's neighbors on the matter. One woman who lives across the street from Washington, LaNay Carter, recognized the car when shown a picture. Carter said she'd seen the car in the neighborhood multiple times per week, not at any particular time of day. Two other residents of the block didn't recognize the car, but three households that sit across the alley from Washington all told LL that they had seen the car multiple times, going in and out of Washington's garage, which opens onto the alley.

One resident across the alley, who declined to give her name, said she'd seen the car two or three times a week; that person said the car sometimes "goes in the garage and stays." Another cross-alley neighbor, Jasmine Dunston, says, "I'll see it at least once a week" going into the garage.

Why is it an issue if Washington is using the car?

The car is municipally owned, and city law holds that such autos are to be used "only in the performance of the officer's or employee's official duties." Furthermore, the law states, "travel between the officer's or employee's residence and workplace" is specifically prohibited.

However, the same statute provides that those rules do "not apply to the Mayor or, with the approval of the Mayor, to officers and employees of the District government the character of whose duties make such transportation necessary."

Attorney General Peter Nickles, in a statement provided in response to LL's queries [PDF], says the mayor indeed approved Washington's use of the car. Nickles says Washington drove the car "on rare occasions" and "in furtherance of her official duties."

Thus Washington's actions, Nickles states, "were lawful, proper, necessary, and appropriate."

Question is, what in the character of Washington's duties allows use of the car? As the mayor's special assistant, Washington earns $107,635, which would seem to be enough to fund her own vehicle.

LL asked for elaboration on what about her work responsibilities makes her use of the tiny car necessary and also for any written authorization issued by Fenty. Thus far, he has received neither.

This morning, LL pursued the ticket and the use of the car with Fenty, who declined to comment on the ticket, saying he hadn't yet received any citation in the mail (probably because the citation would be sent to the car's registrant—the city). As for its take-home use, he directed all comments to Hobson.

Oh, and, says Hobson, "He'll pay the ticket."

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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Comments

  1. #1

    Has the speed camera in question been fired?

  2. #2

    I have a question if the mayor's schedule states that he has nothing for that vicinity why was it said that he was walking through a rec.center. That really makes no sense.

  3. #3

    Another question has come to mind how is it that a personal assistant is able to make over a 107,635.00. Does she have a degree? How did she get this job? What is her creditials? Or is it because they have something going on.

  4. #4

    LL needs to fall on his sword here: In his 6:30 update, he mistakenly wrote "Allow LL to be clear that he does mean to insinuate that Fenty was on his way to or from Washington's residence" when he meant to write "does NOT mean to insinuate." Mea culpa.

  5. #5

    Interesting...there was a big event at Watts on Friday, April 24. Was the Mayor at that event? If so, why would he need to do a walk-through 2 weeks later? Also, for a Mayor who loves to hold a press conference in the community for everything, why wouldn't a walk through of a rec center be something available for press coverage? Was Harry Thomas, Chair of Parks and Rec. Committee at the May 11 walkthrough? Was Ward 7's councilmember, Yvette Alexander there? Something just doesn't smell quite right with this.

  6. #6

    If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck...What's it going to take??? Are we really surprised that a politician is engaged in shady activities? Where are the intrepid reporters who can stake out her residence to find out what the real deal is? I've always thought our illustrious mayor was a bit suspect. Maybe the truth will finally come out...

  7. #7

    This still stinks to high heaven, Ms. Hobson keep trying your boss is a arrogant jerk.

  8. Angry Al Gonzales
    #8

    This is just one more example of the criminally corrupt Fenty regime. Fenty & his thugs / associates / posse are stealing from the public. Taxpayer money is being stolen by Fenty & his thugs / associates / posse.
    How long will it be & how much money will need to be stolen before the docile sheepish citizens of the District get fed up & shout, Enough! Impeach Fenty NOW!!!

  9. #9

    It's so sad that our community jumps all over Fenty for a speeding ticket, yet gives him (and the city) a free pass when DC police kill people.

  10. #10

    I still can't get over his personal assistant's salary! Hell - I dont like him but I'd do it for that much $!

  11. #11

    This is old news and a non-story. Veronica has been his assistant since his council days. She seems to work 24/7- and is nearly always at his side at public events. Moreover, it's common for top-level public and private executives to have personal assistants with similar duties. The fact that this is getting any play at all, especially in DC, just goes to show how clean the guy is.
    Now, if he'd attempted to get the ticket voided, the camera moved, or if he had a dead boy in the truck, then you'd have a scandal.
    But that is obviously not what happened here. The story begins and ends with a government employee getting a speeding ticket on a government car.

  12. #12

    Okay DCGovGuy- if its old news or no news- why did Fox 5, ABC 7, and WTOP news pickup this story right from the WCP blog? They would have ignored it otherwise.

  13. #13

    MdB is all that matters! nicely done!

  14. ll needs to chill
    #14

    I Second DCGovGuy.

    LooseLips, you really need to get a life. Seriously.
    Given the plethora of SERIOUS issues out there, it is ridiculous that you put in so much effort into something like this. Whatever happened to the media being neutral? You are so biased, that you make Fox News seem fair and balanceed.

    You are a Georgetown alumn and I have higher expectations for you. Stop being so biased and get on with some real journalism.

  15. ANYBODY BUT FENTY
    #15

    WELL WHY IN THE HELL DOES SHE MAKE 107K TO STAND NEXT TO FENTY AND HOLD HIS COAT IN THE WINTER, AND HOLD HIS COFFEE IN THE SUMMER I MEAN SHE DOESN'T EVEN WRITE DOWN NOTES!

    ALSO WHO PAYS FOR THE UPKEEP OF THIS CITY CAR THAT SHE DRIVES WHENEVER SHE FILLS....WE DO PEOPLE THE TAXPAYER'S PAY FOR HER TO DRIVE AND RUN HER ERRANDS, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE WOMEN WHO DON'T MAKE HALF OF WASHINGTON'S 107K BUT MAKE IT HAPPEN BY RIDING THE BUS OR SUBWAY. THIS AGAIN IS NOT RIGHT SHE MAKES 107K SO GO BUY HER OWN DAMN CAR!

  16. #16

    LL, you should be banned from publishing such nonsense. This IS a story that reeks of "insinuations", speculations, and the like. The facts are that, much like some citizens, "Fenty got a ticket". So, in other words, he is falling victim to the revenue strategies that he and the Council put in place.

    Whether his assistant takes the car home and the nosy neighbors notice it, WHO CARES!?! Is it constantly double parked? Is it's annoying alarm waking people in the night? Was it used in a crime? We don't know that either, so why even speculate if she uses it go to the store, CVS, or press conferences. It honestly is a non issue. Why? Because in the grand scheme of things, having a "company car" is a perk throughout business enterprises, whether corporate, non-profit, government. Have you noticed how many MPDC officers take home a car? How about FIRE/EMS personnel? Basically, this type of use/abuse is so rampant that it is almost the norm. I've even seen DPW trucks in neighborhoods on "non-official business". True, we taxpayers pay for the gas and maintanence of these vehicles, but to press the issue just to see if the mayor has a parking ticket is pretty sad.

    I'm am far from a Fenty supporter, but I'm with DCGovGuy -- this really isn't news. And J, just because Fox 5, ABC 7, and WTOP pick it up that doesn't necessarily make it news.

  17. #17

    I am not sure what to think. I can't say I would expect Fenty to creep out on his family considering he just had a little one not too long ago.

    That being said, I think that Fenty is arrogant enough to do it and use government property while doing it. I saw that because if I Fenty spent months holding on to baseball tickets that did not belong to him, I can't see him letting anyone drive "his car."

  18. #18

    Please excuse my typo. One more thought. Maybe Mr. Fenty should be a little more transparent and open with the press. They may have more to focus on that this interesting, but at the moment unfounded, story idea.

  19. ANYBODY BUT FENTY
    #19

    there are so many things wrong just with her making 107k with no degree and bascially doing nothing allday long.

  20. #20

    Ooh, someone pulled the Georgetown card. You got me there. The alumni association, it's true, hasn't invited me to any speaking gigs of late.

    To Q: If you have knowledge of any MPD or FEMS employee taking home a car on a regular basis, please let me know, and I will investigate. Because it's illegal. "This type of use/abuse is so rampant that it is almost the norm"---maybe so; that was certainly the case in the 80s and 90s in this town, and laws were put on the books in 2000 _specifically_ to end the practice of city employees using city cars for transportation to and from home.

    Now the mayor, as I noted, is empowered to make exceptions when the "character" of an employee's duties make it necessary. The mayor's office has not detailed what circumstances those might be. I have asked them to.

  21. #21

    So that's where the mayor meets his "male" friends at! Hmm....

  22. #22

    You all who are saying this is not news cannot be serious. This after realizing the fenty allows a private citizen and contractor to drive his other gov't vehicle. Now someone other than the mayor is driving his city issued car and parking it at her house. This is a complete misappropriation of TAX PAYER dollars. This is news!

    It goes to show just like the "crime bill", no matter how many laws you have, it will always come down to unbiased, and effecient implementation.,

  23. #23

    The donated firetruck was a non-story that produced smoking embers. Pun intended.

    FenTool is nothing if not consistent in his arrogance: Laws didn't apply to him as an attorney, Ward4 council rep,and certainly don't apply to him as Chief Executive.

  24. #24

    I am certain this story is being hyped by the people at Smart Car -- yes, you can speed in a Smart.

    Brilliant marketing!

  25. #25

    Great reporting!

  26. #26

    do you think if you tried really hard you could write about anything less important? how does a non-tax paying councilmember not garner as much of your attention?

  27. #27

    Sorry to disappoint you, disappointed, but LL happened to break the size of Barry's federal tax liability:

    http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2009/03/26/feds-barry-hasnt-paid-back-district-taxes-since-july/

    And he is the only reporter to have calculated Barry's District tax liability:

    http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/display.php?id=36972

    Any other momentous issue he's been undercovering?

  28. #28

    Ah, yes, how he could forget!

    LL's also the only reporter to cover how Barry owes thousands on his campaign: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/display.php?id=36825

  29. #29

    Such "smugitude" LL, I'll tell ya! That still doesn't make up for this *yawn* story. But to answer your request, if I see a "city vehicle" parked in a residential manner, I'll let you know.

  30. #30

    Hey DCgovguy afraid for your job ugh, well guess what I am a taxpayer and I be damn this is my money also. I will ask any question of this mayor that I want to. He has been a lying sack of crap. This is the only news that doesn't seem to not have that fenty slant aka washpost. I went through 8 years of not getting a straight answer I want one now. Mike DeBonis please keep up the good work.

  31. #31

    Oh Q I forgot about you. Do you have a pending contract with DC? Or are you a fenty crony? maybe both

  32. #32

    LL keep doing what you do. Where there is smoke there is fire!

  33. #33

    Candycane, I've missed you. Wouldn't it be interesting if Veronica Washington's son (who has an extensive criminal background) be a member of the Peaceholics? Even more jaw dropping would be if Veronica Washington's son and several of her unqualified family members were just handed $80,000 and up city jobs in agencies throughout the city...

    From the looks of Fenty's wife, I at least hope he has better taste than to be having an affair with Veronica. It baffles me that Fenty who is so hung up on image, keeps this inarticulate basket case by his side 24/7. An affair no, but I think Vernoica has some serious dirt on Fenty.

  34. #34

    Any other momentous issue LL's been undercovering?

    Yup, public land giveaways. It should be a bigger scandal than OTR and OCTO, not to mention the fire equipment. This penny-ante crap, while revealing of character (or lack thereof) is a distracting sideshow.

    LL has the same inside-the-Wilson-building blinders as most of the Wilson building inmates. That said, LL has always been basically a gossip column and it's not as if the Post has done a better job of covering public lands. But, hey, cease the opportunity, fill the void, focus on the big stuff!

  35. #35

    Point of Correction, LL.

    Several MPD and FEMS brass, do in fact have take home vehicles, all within the law.

  36. #36

    Okie dokie, MPD (cops) and FEMS (firefighters/paramedics) have take home vehicles being that the nature/scope of their work often involves middle of the night or early morning emergencies.

    Exactly what late night emergency is the mayor's "personal assistant" tending to?

  37. #37

    fedupcitizen, I don't work for fenty and don't have any pending contracts. However, from all this gossip and insinuation, all I need to do is give some money to his campaign, go running with him, and BLAM I got a contract for something. Journalism should state the facts and leave it at that. This story is on the fringes of gossip, inspiring folks to "speculate" and invent "copy". Basically, this column is what current media uses to "get more milage" out of a story (pardon the pun).

    Thanks "actually" and "XXX" for supporting my point of other DC officials taking home vehicles ALL WITHIN THE LAW.

    Lemme guess, the next installment will talk about what Credit Card Fenty used to pay for the infraction.

  38. #38

    Funny how much of the gossip, rumors and insinuation in these comment sections are found to be true a week or so later. LL, get on it! You know other reporters are reading your articles and these comments for their leads!

    Hi Tom, Nikkita, Tim and Roby!

  39. #39

    lol...I agree XXX...it didnt hurt his pockes or anything. Would have helped if he had had this book. Wish i had mine a few tickets ago. Could have saved me some much needed money. http://marcus12785.stopspeedticketsystem.com ...hope it helps someone else as much as it helped me.

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