City Desk

D.C. Fire Department Responds To Local Emmy Defeat

In late May, D.C. Fire Department brass tried to hose down a local reporter's Emmy nomination. Deputy Chief Kenneth Crosswhite lobbied to have a story produced by WJLA disqualified as a local Emmy nominee. The story in question was a three-month investigative piece that ran on Nov. 11. It chronicled the saga of arson investigators-turned-whistleblowers Gerald Pennington and Greg Bowyer. The two had argued that there were serious holes in how arson cases were being handled. The two had gotten demoted for saying so.

When that story got nominated for a local Emmy, Crosswhite decided to pick his fight. Show business was not impressed. Local Emmy honchos overruled Crosswhite's efforts. And this past weekend, the WJLA piece—by veteran newsman Jay Korff—won an Emmy in the investigative category.

Surely this will go down as a devastating blow to Fire Department brass. City Desk reached Crosswhite this afternoon for a response. He tried to be gracious in defeat.

"I want congratulate him that he won the Emmy," Crosswhite says of WJLA's Korff. "I wish him luck. But I still believe deep down that the story was not fair and accurate. Those guys have shopped those stories around to the other news agencies....I wish Jay well."

Korff says that he stands behind the his three-month investigative piece. "We just went where the facts took us," he says. "We were interested in nothing else other than making sure that our story was fair and balanced."

Crosswhite insists Korff did not have all the facts. "I just feel that being such a prestigious award, it should be awarded correctly," he explains, adding that not all the facts are out because Bowyer and Pennington face disciplinary hearings.

When informed by City Desk that the charges against Pennington were dropped last week, Crosswhite admitted he hadn't heard about that fact. "I don't know anything about that one," the deputy chief replied.

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  • Q

    Bwah ha ha! Crosswhite didn't even know about the dropped charges?!? Man, what is wrong with FEMS these days. First Rubin's fireworks gaffe and beating by Mendelson, then Crosswhite's accusations about a story being unbalanced --- only for Bowyer and Pennington to get off. Based on this track record, Janice Quintana (of OUC) couldn't be too far behind.

  • Dave

    Yeah seriously, FEMS is melting down before our very eyes here.

  • MPD

    Jason, I read the timeline and DCFEMS "administrative" charges against Bowyer and Pennington. I’m with the emmy people; the department charges have nothing to do with the Eastern Market story. So what in the hell is Crosswhite still babbling about? If these guys did something so wrong what’s taking so long we’ve gotten quicker murder convictions? Would someone please put a gag order on Rubin and Crosswhite for Christ sake! These guys have no idea what in the heck they are doing over there!!!


    Looks like the kkk is getting a run for its money this last year. You all can't just whisper in a buddies ear to ruin a career. It looks like now your going to need proof. hahaha! And the trash that you have been putting forth in trial boards and getting away with terminating black firefighters with was never acceptable as proof in a court of law. Now you have to do more than just give them a huge settlement to pay for them to leave.... now you will have to continue working with them WHILE PAYING THEM HUGE PAYOFFS. That's gotta be Even worse than all the money you have been making us DC residents pay out to former FD employees while you go back to Charles or Arundel Counties or Mannasas or even WEST VIRGINIA! Your services are no longer need!