Anthony Motley Responds to Bennett Report Findings
LL learned today that Anthony Motley has a different crisis-management strategy than his patron, Marion Barry.
Both have been forced to respond to findings of misdeeds contained in Robert S. Bennett's report on council contract and earmarks. But where Barry issued a short statement yesterday in the sanctuary of a church, taking no questions, Motley today publicly detailed his response to the report and took questions in a hourlong press conference.
Motley spoke to the two reporters who showed in a small conference room at the Bellevue Resource Center, a storefront space on the 4400 block of East Capitol Street SW. There, he claimed that Bennett and his team "approached this investigation with a prosecutor's posture and tone" and "have drawn some of their conclusions and made insinuations, inferences, and assumptions based on their perception of the facts and not the facts themselves."
As for those "facts themselves"?
Among other things, he claims that sharing of funds and other resources is normal practice for the groups he's involved with—Inner Thoughts and the JOBS Coalition, as well as the payments to contractors before services were rendered. And like Barry, he claims ignorance of the details of the earmark process, which sent $100,000 to Motley's groups in 2009.
Motley went to pains to show that his groups did real work for the earmarked funds, for instance showing plans for a community center in Ward 8 that he helped put together.
However, Motley did admit to retroactively creating records for the Bennett investigators to document certain expenditures—a big no-no—though he points out he was totally upfront about it. He says the missing records still have not been located.
And then there's his role in creating the infamous Ward 8 "councils"—nonprofits set up on Barry's command to receive earmarked funds. Motley says he took money from a scholarship fund set up in Barry's name to incorporate the groups. But he says the move was kosher because the fund—the Marion Barry Scholarship and Educational Fund—allows general "educational" uses. And the councils were educational, natch.
The press conference was accompanied by an announcement that Motley would be stepping down as the president and executive director of the JOBS Coalition. But Motley said his D.C. Council candidacy goes on. "We're still moving toward Nov. 2," he says, "unless something changes."