Why would he be defending should as the AG he be investigating it.
"The Mayor had nothing to do with the contracts." Yeah, right. Even Stevie Wonder can see through that one.
Why in god's name would it matter that DCHA is principally funded by federal dollars? The money that was sent there from DPR is what matters. And it strains credulity to assert that that money was not intentionally steered to Fenty's buddy.
I am very troubled by AG Nickles’s behavior in this situation (as in many others). Something in his explanation just doesn’t seem to fit with what I thought I learned many years ago. So I just did a little research. And, as I suspected, Nickles is being less than fully forthright.
The AG is attempting to excuse the actions of DCHA-DPR-FOF in this situation, on the ground that DCHA (and whoever else) didn’t know that the requirement for Council approval applied to them as a so-called “Independent Agency”. As though this is a brand new issue. But it is not a new issue; it has been settled law for over 13 years. In 1996, an official Opinion of the AG (then Corporation Counsel) stated clearly and unequivocally that the DC Home Rule Act’s requirement of DC Council approval of contracts in excess of $1M applies to "Independent Agencies", in an identical situation involving another such agency.
Fortunately for us truth-sleuths, the AG’s Office has posted Nickles’s recent opinion on its website: Go to http://www.oag.dc.gov; on the “Information” list at the left of the page, click on “AG Opinion re Contracts…”; then click on the highlighted word “response”. In Nickles’s Opinion Letter to DCHA, he cites the 1996 Opinion repeatedly, and he then includes it as an addendum to his letter. Makes for very interesting reading.
I, for one, have a great deal of trouble reconciling Nickles’s claim that the current DCHA-DPR-FOF contracts are valid, because DCHA didn’t know, and shouldn’t/couldn’t have known, that the provision in the Home Rule Act applied to them, with the fact that that issue was conclusively decided by his own Office more than 13 years ago.
The priceless words of the Governor’s song from “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” (thank you, Larry L. King and Charles Durning!) come, once again, to mind:
“Ooh! I love to dance a little side-step.
Now you see me, now you don’t; I’ve come and gone.
And Ooh! I love to sweep around the wide step,
Cut a little swath and lead the people on.”
I really miss Bob Spagnoletti.
Of course the mayor had final say on who was awarded the contracts. The DCHA may be independent, but as Neil Albert testified, the Deputy Mayor's office had final sign off on the contracts, per the MOU.