City Desk

What Will Happen to Adrian Fenty’s $12,000 Gift Bike?

0310colnago

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty has his passions, and sometimes your passions pay off.

Avid competitive cyclist Fenty is reportedly on the brink of pulling off a veritable coup by luring the Giro d'Italia, one of the three premier European grand tours, to D.C. for its initial stages in 2012.

For his efforts, Hizzoner was feted at an Italian Embassy event on Feb. 25, where he was bestowed with a new Colnago racing bicycle, given to him by famed Italian cyclemaker Ernesto Colnago himself. It came complete with his name inscribed on the top tube.

When LL saw that Fenty has been gifted an awful nice bike, he consulted Washington City Paper's resident bike expert, Operations Director Jeff Boswell. Turns out "awful nice" doesn't being to describe it—Boswell fairly swooned when informed that Fenty got himself a Colnago.

"One of the most storied brands in modern bicycle racing," Boswell tells LL. "The highest quality, made by hand in Italy."

As for Colnago the man: "He's a king," says Boswell.

LL placed a call to Colnago's American headquarters, in Chicago. There he reached Billy Kanzler, who was quite familiar with the machine gifted to Hizzoner. It was an Colnago EPS—the company's "flagship" hand-made racing frame, tricked out with top-of-the-line Campagnolo components.

"That thing was giddy-up," says Kanzler.

"Giddy-up" has its price. The frame alone retails for $5,500, Kanzler says. And with accouterments, Fenty could expect to pay at least $12,000 for the bike.

"It was a gesture of good will," he adds, "and we have a couple of dealers in Washington, D.C., so having Italian cycling come there would definitely help our brand."

But will Fenty get to keep his sweet ride? Public officials can't accept any gifts worth more than $10 from folks looking to do business with the city.

LL first asked about the fate of the bike last Wednesday. A week later, and after many phone calls and e-mails, the mayor's office still had no answer for LL as of last night.

LL also inquired with Kathy Williams, general counsel for the Office of Campaign Finance, who in turn inquired with the Office of the Secretary, which handles matters of protocol and official gifts for the mayor. Williams says she was told the bike would be accepted as part of a "gifts to government" program, but no mayoral official would tell LL that directly.

"A decision is still being worked out," says spokesperson Jack Pfeiffer.

Photo courtesy of Colnago

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  • If it walks like a duck

    MIKE: what is "gifts to government" -- I thought that was Banneker Ventures' campaign contributions to King Fenty.

    will he get to keep it or what?

  • greg

    Fenty=fuckface. Just one more in a long line of corrupt "public servants" whose friends just happen to get rich off gov't contracts.

  • Tom

    He should use it to race school kids and then gloat about how damn slow they are and lack stamin, and that he better than them!

  • http://rickmangus@aol.com Rick Mangus

    B.F.D.!

  • If it walks like a duck

    Mangus: it is a BFD since ethics rules don't allow him to accept it.

  • Korrupt

    Let's hope Fenty's not mayor in 2012!

  • downtown rez

    And it was signed by Ernesto Colnago himself??
    Sweet!
    That's like getting Shelby's autograph on a Cobra!

    Why can't he accept it? Does the Italian government (or Colnago) have the sort of business dealings with the DC Government that would create a conflict?

  • Wrack

    Come on, US Attorney's Office. Could you please, please investigate and prosecute? This is ILLEGAL.

  • downtown rez

    Actually, since Colnago gave the gift himself, for it to be a conflict wouldn't Colnago need to have substantial business dealings with DC?
    Are they opening a manufacturing plant or store here?

  • http://rickmangus@aol.com Rick Mangus

    'If it walks like a duck' I didn't mean it to sound like that, it is my hope that Fenty peddles his ass out of office and into jail!

  • noodlez

    THIS MUTHER FUCKA SHOULD BE IMPEACHED!

    AHHH HELLO! FENTY GET THE BIKE SEAT OUT YOUR NASTY ASS AND TELL MR.COLNAGO TO DONATE $12K WORTH OF BIKES TO THE CITY'S LESS FORTUNATE.

    BETTER YET WHY NOT TAKE THE $12K TO START PROGRAM THIS SUMMER FOR SOME YOUTH TO LEARN HOW TO RACE BIKES, REPAIR BIKES AND/OR BIKE SAFETY.

  • downtown rez

    Auctioning the bike and donating the procedes would be a great act of charity. No doubt.
    But I have to say that I own one or two things I could do that with, too.

  • Skipper

    Seems like it either becomes "city property" (whatever that will actually mean for the bike) or Fenty pays for it out of pocket.

    But the delay is just foolish for Fenty, especially in the wake of the Barry shenanigans.

  • tired

    Now we all know Fenty doesn't do anything without a catch. He will not buy the bike, he"ll keep it for himself. And the crept creature (nickels) will get him out of it or so he thinks. Fenty will not do a damn thing without a photo opt attached to it.

  • Truth Hurts

    LL, Fenty hasn't returned your calls, gotcha. Do you think CP calling him "Mayor Jerk" and other CP Fenty/jerk articles is a good way to get him to return CP's calls? Btw, please let your readers know how (and from whom) you heard about the bike "gift"? Inquiring minds would like to know.

  • noodlez

    A REAL MAN DOESNT SHY AWAY. A REAL MAN ANSWERS THE CALL. A REAL MAN RETURNS CALLS. A REAL MAN OWNS UP TO HIS RESPONSIBILITIES. A REAL MAN DOES WHAT IS NECESSARY FOR HIS FELLOW MAN. ITS OBVIOUS THAT THE BITCH ASS MAYOR IS NOT A REAL MAN!

    THERE ARE SEVERAL OTHER COMMENTERS ON THIS SITE WHO DEFEND HIS EVERY MOVE. THEY ARE CONFUSED AND DELUSIONAL WHICH LEADS TO ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR. THEY ARE SIMPLY KNOWN AS THE SPHINCTER SEDUCERS BUT YOU KNOW THEM AS Truth Hurts AND downtown rez.

  • proballdc

    The bike gift is not a secret, it has actually been reported on many periodical news sites. The fact is, it is unlawful for the Mayor to personally accept this type of gift when the Italians are seeking to do business with the city. His attempt to use "gift to the city" as a method to keep the bike in his garage is a bastardization of that statute. The bike is not a piece of art to be displayed at a District park. It is a bicycle that the Mayor will use, personally, for competition or training. "The city" doesn't benefit from it, at all.

    How about auctioning the bike away for a local charity? That way a crony can bid on it and give it to the Mayor and a local charity actually benefits from the "gift".

    The Mayor is much too selfish a SOB to think of anyone but himself.

    And the primaries are when?

  • If it walks like a duck

    Keep us update Mike.

  • Henry

    He should donate it to the WABA gala and benefit auction.

  • downtown rez

    I'm still waiting to hear how this amounts to an actual conflict. Does Ernesto Colnago or his company have business dealings with the district?

    I also take it that everyone knows that the Giro isn't put on by the Italian Government. It's put on by an Italian media conglomerate.

    But, yeah, it would be a generous gesture to donate the bike to a charity.

  • downtown rez

    I'm still waiting to hear how this amounts to an actual conflict. Does Ernesto Colnago or his company have business dealings with the district?
    I also take it that everyone knows that the Giro isn't put on by the Italian Government. It's put on by an Italian media conglomerate.
    But, yeah, it would be a generous gesture to donate the bike to a charity.

  • Diane

    I agree that donating this bike to WABA's benefit auction next month makes sense from all angles. That way it truly becomes a gift to the city in that it will help fund improvements to DC's bike infrastructure. And if Fenty really wants to keep it, he can bid on it himself so that he can ride it in good conscience. Seems like a win-win situation to me!

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com Mike DeBonis

    Uh, TH, this is how LL heard about the gift:

    http://www.bisnow.com/washington_dc_the_scene_news_story.php?p=7351

  • Truth Hurts

    Uh, LL, thanks for the response. Btw, I agree with comments 18 and 19 that he should do something constructive with the bike such as donating it to WABA's benefit auction. Hopefully, these commenters will pass along their ideas to his office.

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  • http://www.dixieliquordc.com Scott

    So the bike retails for 12,000 but do you think colonago paid 12,000 for the bike?

  • downtown rez

    I'm still waiting to hear how this amounts to an actual conflict. Does Colnago have business dealings with the district? I also take it that everyone knows that the Giro isn't run by the Italian Government. It's run by an Italian media conglomerate. But, yeah, it would be an extra generous gesture to donate the bike to a charity.

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