City Desk

How Cronyism Becomes Corruption: Loose Lips Daily

As much local politics as humanly possible. Send your tips, releases, stories, events, etc. to lips@washingtoncitypaper.com. And get LL Daily sent straight to your inbox every morning!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—'Is Fenty vs. Gray Like Clinton vs. Dole?'; 'Vincent Gray’s First 100 Days: To Be Determined'; 'Shelter Operator’s Problems Were No Secret To City Officials'; 'City Terminates Families Forward Contract'; and tweets galore!

Morning all. For months, while D.C. Council members have been trying to make political hay out of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's secretive parks contracting, Hizzoner's had a simple response: The work got done on time and on budget—there may be smoke, but no fire here. But an article in this month's Hill Rag by Hunter L. Gorinson (not yet online) reveals some serious flames. Gorinson explains how Liberty Engineering & Design, owned by Fenty buddy Sinclair Skinner, was handed $358,500 in surveying subcontracts for the parks projects by Omar Karim's Banneker Ventures. Liberty, however, didn't do the actual survey work; rather, they turned around and hired a Hyattsville contractor to do all the work for no more than $70,000, and passed it off as their own. A Liberty employee insisted to the contractor, Anthony Currie, that he put the Liberty logo on his work. Says Currie to Hill Rag, 'I had no clue, but after a while, I started to realize that these guys were crooks.' If nothing else, Skinner's D.C. Council testimony later this month just got even more interesting. More to come.

AFTER THE JUMP—Juvenile wheelman was no stranger to authorities; WaPo ed board likes 'choices' in DCision 2010 races; pundits weigh in on Vince Gray; Catoe offers milquetoast farewell; Obama attends Easter services in Southeast; excerpts from the Loza tapes

Colby King weighs in mightily on Tuesday's mass shooting in Washington Highlands, and yes, 'One of the homicide victims, and two of those arrested in connection with that violence and an earlier shooting, were under the commitment of the city's Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services.' King goes on to mention the online rebuke delivered by Superior Court Chief Judge Lee Satterfield, to Jim Graham and others blaming judges for letting young, violent scoundrels onto the streets. 'DC law does not provide the Court with any authority over youth committed to the custody of the city,' Satterfield wrote. 'Family Court judges who find a juvenile ‘involved’ in a crime (the DC Code’s nomenclature for guilt), have but two options: put the youth on probation, which the court’s juvenile probation officers monitor and over which the judges have control, or, if the judge thinks probation is not sufficient, the judge can commit the youth to the city at which point the court loses all authority over the youth including the authority to securely detain a youth.' Says King: 'How much longer will this perversion of justice and public safety — done in the name of enlightenment — be tolerated? Mayor Adrian Fenty, Attorney General Peter Nickles, D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray and council members have the power to end this travesty. What say you, D.C. voters?'

One of the aforementioned arrestees—the 14-year-old wheelman—'was first arrested when he was 9 for simple assault,' Keith Alexander and Henri Cauvin report in WaPo. 'The teen, slightly built and wearing a hooded jacket and shoulder-length dreadlocks, stood in shackles before a D.C. Superior Court judge Wednesday charged as a juvenile with first-degree murder in one of the District's deadliest outbreaks of violence in years....The teen is no stranger to juvenile court. Since age 9, he's been charged with nine offenses, including multiple assault charges — once on a police officer — theft, riding in a stolen car and failure to appear in court. The teen also walked away from a medium-security residential facility twice — most recently just days before his arrest Tuesday....Judge Elizabeth C. Wingo said it was "abundantly clear" that the teen was a risk and ordered him held at Mount Olivet Road detention center until his next hearing, April 7.' The boy, previously ID'd by the Examiner as Malik Carter, can't be tried as an adult. At 21, 'the family court and the DYRS would lose jurisdiction, and he would go free.'

The shooting's effect on a neighborhood—or neighborhoods, Bellevue and Washington Highlands—is examined by WaPo's Annie Gowen: 'Residents of the neighborhood on the District's southern tip wistfully speak of multimillion-dollar developments that are on the way. They say the street car is coming soon. So is a new library designed by the same architect who has drawn up the National Museum of African American History and Culture that will soon grace the Mall. On Tuesday night, four young men in a minivan sprayed a crowd of youths with bullets, killing four and injuring five, leaving residents to wonder whether their hopes for renewal were in vain....Nardyne Jefferies had once believed in the dream of Bellevue's future. She bought a small townhouse....There, she home-schooled her daughter, Brishell Jones, 16, a petite teenager who loved to cook in the gleaming kitchen of granite and stainless steel. She dreamed of going to culinary school, maybe Le Cordon Bleu, after her schooling was complete. "She only had a little bit more to go," Jefferies said. "My child would have been off to college and pursuing her dream." Brishell went out Tuesday and never made the two blocks home. "She was a beautiful little girl," Jefferies said. "It's senseless."' Also WUSA-TV, WRC-TV.

ALSO—Former U.S. Attorney Jeff Taylor called in to WTOP Friday to defend Ron Machen's decision not to support an arrest warrant for Orlando Carter, who would be arrested in connection with the Tuesday drive-by.

###

The WaPo editorial board, in a bit of a head-scratcher, tries to defuse the racial divide in a Jack Evans vs. Kwame Brown chairman's race by, well, highlighting the racial divide: 'The campaign for chairman is in its earliest stages, but still it's more than a little disconcerting that so much attention is being paid to the color of the candidates. Discussion should focus on the critical issues facing the District and the capabilities of those who seek to lead its governing body....D.C. voters are fortunate to have a choice, and it's insulting to suggest that whites will vote for the white candidate and blacks for the black candidate. Each enters the race with clear advantages: Mr. Evans is the longest-serving council member and has unmatched financial expertise; Mr. Brown's common-sense approach to governing has made him a popular member of the council. Voters will want to examine the records of both men and see where they stand on the big issues such as school reform, crime and the increasing financial difficulties facing the city.'

MORE—'An interesting and welcome development this year is the decision by the traditionally outmatched Republican Party to field a full slate of candidates for the ward seats in November's general election....Like we said, it's good to have choices.'

ALSO—The ed board likes Judge Ricardo Urbina's 'sound approach' to gun control, leading to his recent ruling upholding post-Heller gun restrictions in the District. 'Particularly noteworthy is the judge's finding that the District's laws, while perhaps more restrictive than those in other jurisdictions, are not unusual or unreasonable. Other jurisdictions have licensing and registration requirements, and the District faces a unique set of threats because of its urban locale and role as nation's capital....Careful thought went into the drafting of the law, subject to both exhaustive public hearings and congressional review. We hope Judge Urbina's sensible affirmation of the result will stand.' Legal Times reported Friday that there will indeed be an appeal.

AND—They also explain today why it's good news that the bag tax is bringing in less income than anticipated: 'The reduced revenue is evidence that the newly enacted law is working exactly as hoped. People are using fewer plastic and paper bags, and that means less litter clogging area streets and waterways....The law, aimed at changing consumer behavior, is working so well that its sponsor, [Tommy Wells]wonders if he was too timid in limiting the fee to certain businesses that sell food items....The city's apparent success is encouraging other jurisdictions to take a look: Mr. Wells's office reports inquiries from Los Angeles County and the state of Connecticut.'

WaPo editors poll a few pundits on Vincent Gray's chances to unseat Fenty. Says Howard poli-sci prof Lorenzo Morris: 'Gray shows up for the mayoral race undernourished, underdressed and late. In contrast, the other suspected late arrival, "moneyman" R. Donahue Peebles, would look well fed and well dressed if he didn't have to build his campaign on a waif-like body of political experience. As for [Fenty], he has enough points of weakness to be dethroned.' DCist's Martin Austermuhle: 'Waiting this long to jump into the race may have been the strategic blunder of the year. As for the campaign, Fenty needs to go on a serious charm offensive.' Anti-gay minister Anthony Evans: 'Gray...in October managed to commit political suicide at a meeting with 20 church leaders. He told them that on the issue of same-sex marriage, he had a right to defy the word of God....Leo Alexander is the only candidate who represents the true values of the church.' Board of Trade's Jim Dinegar: 'We know two things: There will be a new chairman and an open council seat....Our hope is that the focus remains on the progress underway. No backsliding!' Sharon Ambrose says Gray 'has accomplished a heavier lift' than Fenty. 'He had served only one term on the D.C. Council when he was elected chairman. Presiding over a body with six new members, Gray knitted together the support the new mayor needed to begin school reform, and he has continued to build a cohesive legislature that has balanced budgets, brought bond ratings to impressive highs given the economy, plugged away at oversight, extended civil rights to gays and lesbians, and forged a painful 12-vote censure of an infamous colleague.' And Mark Plotkin says of Fenty: 'He has had a personality transformation. From an exceedingly upbeat and unfailing polite young man, always open and accessible, he has become a secretive, defensive, hubris-filled and mysterious figure. [Gray] is by contrast hardworking, conscientious and substantive but can be monumentally dull and overwhelmingly bureaucratic in manner and speech.'

ALSO—Gray appeared with LL Friday on WAMU's Politics Hour. Asked three things he'd do in his first 100 days as mayor, the new candidate demurred. WaPo editorialist Jonathan Capehart asks: 'Would someone tell Vincent Gray that he's running for mayor?' He adds: 'As someone who worked on a mayoral campaign (Mike Bloomberg 1.0), let me advise Gray's brain trust to stop playing the Rose Garden strategy and start laying out a vision for the the District. And here's another thing Gray should do: run a campaign that doesn't play on race.' Fellow ed board member Jo-Ann Armao, meanwhile, cites 'notable missteps' by both Gray and Fenty last week. For Hizzoner, it was his 'bone-headed refusal to let the public know where he is' after the Tuesday shootings. For Gray it was his uncomfortable preoccupation with Michelle Rhee's marriage situation—'rather dated, if not a tad sexist,' said Armao. (And readers agree.)

Jonetta Rose Barras breaks Fenty vs. Gray down into 'style versus substance.' And guess which is which: 'Pundits, civic leaders and others have complained the incumbent executive isn't warm and fuzzy. They have said he's arrogant, remote and secretive. African-American respondents in recent opinion polls have said they don't trust him. Gray, on the other hand, has been characterized as more inclusive and friendly....All that touchy-feely stuff is so 20th century. A mature electorate knows a chief executive of a $9 billion public corporation should be judged on more than that likability. Further, using such a weak criterion to choose previous District leaders proved disastrous....The District has made great progress during the past decade. But, it faces significant challenges over the next four years. You can bet those won't be solved with charisma, glib talk and glad-handing.'

Gray also appeared on WTOP's Politics Program, where he touted his commitment to 'openness and inclusion.' Including: 'If elected, Gray says he'll make his travel schedule public, even when he's on vacation. "I think people need to know. When you're in public office, you're in public office 24-7," Gray says....Councilmember Muriel Bowser, who also appeared on The Politics Program...said she understands Fenty's desire to have some privacy on family vacations. But she says she might take a different approach to that issue if she were in his position.' And Tom Sherwood does WRC-TV piece on the Gray candidacy.

FENTY HQ IS OPENING—The Green Machine will be encamped in the former Curtis Chevrolet, on Georgia Avenue NW just north of Missouri Avenue in Brightwood, WaPo reports. A grand opening is set for April 10. Gray, meanwhile, has set up shop near Mount Vernon Square—in a Doug Jemal-owned space recently used by Patrick Mara in his at-large council push.

So, after a year in which Metro suffered declining service, rising fares, and eight dead riders, you'd think public opinion of the regional transit system would be in the toilet. Not so, says WaPo poll—'most riders give the system high marks for comfort, reliability and generally the ability to take them where they want to go,' write Jon Cohen and Ann Scott Tyson. Still: 'Just as in 2005, when The Post conducted its last comparable survey, about a quarter of Washington area adults say they take Metrorail very or fairly often, and one in eight commuters uses the rail system as the primary way to get to work. But a third of users say they're riding less than they used to, and some of the shine is off a system once considered a national model for urban transit. Positive ratings have held up across a range of areas, but the percentage of riders rating the overall system as excellent has been sliced in half....Overall, 80 percent of those who have used Metrorail give it good marks — down, but not dramatically so, from five years ago, when 86 percent viewed it positively.'

In his parting message to Washington, ex-Metro GM John Catoe details 'How to help Metro's next general manager' in a WaPo op-ed. For one: 'long-term, dependable funding for both the capital and operating budgets,' plus a 'multi-year capital funding agreement' among the member jurisdictions. 'Without that, our maintenance program will continue to look a lot like the station platforms we've had to shore up with two-by-fours.' Add to the capital piece 'dedicated funding for day-to-day operations' and a 'sustainable fare policy'—meaning hikes on Metrobus and MetroAccess, not just rail. But what about governance? This is as far as Catoe will go: 'Given rules that allow one jurisdiction to veto any given proposal, can the board really make strategic policy that serves the whole region? I know there is increased attention being paid to this governance issue. The first step, though, is to clearly define the region's expectations for the board. Begin with the end goal in mind. Change for the sake of change will not serve the region well.'

WaPo's Bill Turque digs into the schools budget, finds more funding overall for DCPS but less directed to local schools. 'Direct funding to the District's 123 public schools under Fenty's plan would remain at the current $614.3 million in the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. That means schools would face funding shortages because of annual cost increases, most of them involving salaries and benefits for teachers and administrators....The fiscal flat line poses challenges for schools seeking to maintain staff and programs. For Woodrow Wilson High School in Tenleytown, for example, keeping all of its faculty and administrative staff next year would exceed its budget by more than $700,000, even though its enrollment of 1,500 students is projected to remain nearly constant. As a result of the shortage, the school is expected to lose 10 teaching and staff positions.' The touted $175-per-student increase is going to 'programs such as special education, food service and early-childhood initiatives.' As for charters, they 'fare somewhat better under Fenty's plan, principally because their enrollment is projected to increase by 1,628 students.'

Meanwhile, Examiner's Michael Neibauer looks at other parts of the Fenty budget plan, noting that 'street cleaning efforts take a major hit...with trash collection, litter enforcement and main street mop-ups suffering most.' DPW's 'core services — garbage and recycling collection, mechanical street sweeping, parking enforcement and graffiti removal — remain intact. But several popular cleanup initiatives face severe cuts, or are outright eliminated, and community leaders worry their streets will suffer in the aftermath....The budget for the coming fiscal year proposal eliminates 39 positions in the Solid Waste Enforcement and Education Program, scraps the Small Business Improvement District litter cleanup and the commercial corridor litter cart programs, and reduces 57 positions in street and alley cleaning. "If DPW crews are going to be cut back then we're going to have a lot of unhappy voters," said Alex Padro, executive director of Shaw Main Streets.' Jim Graham says that SWEEP will stay.

Families Forward is officially out as operator of the D.C. General family homeless shelter in the wake of sex and mismanagement charges. WCP's Jason Cherkis writes up the firing and the warning signs that city officials had in the months and years leading up to Friday. In WaPo, Darryl Fears notes that 'police are considering whether to bring criminal charges against two former employees' and that 'Families Forward sought to cover up the allegations' about staffers' allegedly coercive sex with shelter clients. Taking over shelter operations will be the Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness, the city's umbrella contractor for homeless services. Also NC8, WTTG-TV, blogging from Eric Sheptock.

ALSO—Poverty & Policy blogger Kathryn Baer argues that 'the problems there didn’t originate with the contractor. Nor will they be resolved by bringing in another. When the Interagency Council for Homelessness issued its draft winter plan last summer, advocates questioned its proposal for family shelter space. So did I. The numbers just didn’t add up. Nor did they seem realistic in light of the rising tide of family homelessness and dismal projections for the economy....The District is legally responsible for the safety and well-being of its most vulnerable residents–not the Partnership nor its subcontractors. It shouldn’t take a public relations disaster and the threat of a lawsuit to trigger action on problems that anyone could have identified some months ago.'

Harry Jaffe covers this year's Casey Trees report card: 'In last week's tree summit, the District received a B- in the second annual tree report card — a drop from last year's B. "This is a snapshot of what we are doing," says Mike Galvin, deputy director for Casey Trees, the nonprofit organization that hosted the summit and graded the city. "Mayor Fenty raised the bar, and measured against that, we have a lot of work to do."... Last year D.C.'s Urban Forestry Administration planted 3,751 trees. Workers dig and plant and hope for the best. Casey Trees takes a more neighborhood-friendly approach. "We rely on volunteers," says Galvin. "Hundreds and hundreds volunteer every season to come out and plant trees. It's fantastic."'

WaPo's Robert McCartney gets exclusive pre-Opening Day interview with Nats owner, high-school classmate Mark Lerner. 'In a phone conversation and e-mail exchanges, Mark and I first got nostalgic about the Washington baseball of our youth. We both rooted for the Senators in the 1960s and early 1970s. We were both distraught for 33 seasons when the city lacked a team. And today? Lerner defended his family against accusations that it hasn't spent enough to improve the Nationals. He assured me the team wouldn't become a persistent loser and butt of jokes like the Senators. The recurrence of such losing habits — the Nationals have had the worst record in baseball for two straight years — makes one wonder whether drinking Potomac water results in ineptitude on the diamond. "The biggest difference [with the Senators] is that our current record is only temporary. There's a difference between growing pains and just plain losing pains," Lerner said. "We are committed to building a winner for the nation's capital, period."' Also: 'Lerner wouldn't bite when I fished for news about the likelihood that he'd take over the family business one day. "That's nothing we dwell on right now. My dad's the managing principal owner. Hopefully he stays healthy for a long time," he said.'

SIGH—'For years after the Senators' departure in 1971, he said, his father Ted Lerner looked for ways to bring a team back to the city. Mark said he thought a lot about it, too. "I visited nearly every major league ballpark in North America. I used to walk through the ballparks and fantasize about what details or amenities I would put into a park if I was ever given the opportunity," he said. That's how rich real estate guys are different from the rest of us. I imagined myself making dramatic catches in the outfield. He fantasized about how he'd design the stadium when he owned a team.' Yeah, too bad his family didn't actually spend a dime to build the stadium their team now plays in...

TODAY—Nats vs. Phillies, 1:05 p.m., Nationals Park.

New development near Rhode Island Avenue Metro station, and attendant hopes that it might spark a revitalization for the corridor, is covered by WaPo's Ovetta Wiggins: '[O]fficials, community leaders and residents are hoping that a small, mixed-used project...will be the vehicle to transform the corridor between Third Street and Eastern Avenue from a strip filled with vacant properties and warehouses to a vibrant destination where people can shop, live, work and play. The District recently closed a financing deal with Urban Atlantic of Bethesda and A&R Development of Baltimore, a development team that will bring 274 apartments and 70,000 square feet of retail space to the Rhode Island Avenue-Brentwood Station area. Construction, which will shut down the Metro station's parking lot April 30, will begin in the next several weeks. The 8.5-acre project is scheduled to be completed by fall 2011. "This project will be an anchor for the Rhode Island Avenue neighborhood . . . and it's part of the overall economic plan for the corridor," said Valerie Santos, deputy mayor for planning and economic development.' Developers promise a 'Main Street kind of feel, with lush trees, similar to Shirlington in Virginia.'

The Obama family did their Easter worshiping at Allen Chapel AME Church—in Garfield Heights, a few blocks from the Skyland shopping center. The A1 WaPo dispatch from Hamil Harris and Eli Saslow: 'A crowd began to form outside [Allen Chapel] just before 3:30 a.m. First came the men wearing suits and the women in high heels, followed a few hours later by 30 police officers who barricaded nearby roads. Then came the Secret Service, the news helicopters, the city politicians and the bomb-sniffing dogs. By 11:04 a.m., when Obama arrived for his most substantial trip yet to Southeast, hundreds of onlookers lined the streets. As Obama worshipped with 700 others for two hours, the parishioners and preachers made him a focal point of the service. His mere presence was historic, they said. In Ward 8, the District's poorest, Obama's arrival was at once regarded as a reminder of the neighborhood's problems — the unemployment rate is 28.5 percent — and a reason to maintain hope. "This is a monumental moment for us as a community," said the Rev. Dr. Michael E. Bell Sr., the church pastor, soon after Obama sat down. "Ward 8 has not been forgotten, not when the president would come here at a time like this."...The congregation had started to sing alleluia by the time the first family entered, walking past the choir to a reserved pew in the front of the church. D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) and Ward 8 council member Marion Barry (D) also attended but did not interact with the Obamas. The president clapped and stomped his foot to the beat. Michelle Obama, wearing a scooped-back beige dress, danced next to him. When the song finished, a woman from the choir grabbed the microphone and pointed to the Obama family, telling them that Allen's congregation liked to get up and move during the service. "If you came in here to sit and be still, I'm sorry. Move down the street," said one associate minister, drawing a loud cheer. "Excuse me, first family, but we like to get crazy up in here. You might see shoes flying, hair flying. But we are praising the Lord."'

THE LOZA TAPES—WaPo's Tim Craig with more juicy bits from the new Ted Loza indictments:

[Abdul Kamus]: Well, really, I, I, I wanted to buy something for you
for Father's Day, like a tie or something.

LOZA: [laughing]

[...]

Kamus: I have something; I have something for you.

LOZA: I'm, I'm just happy to see you all the time.

Kamus: Yeah, I know. It's for you. [Kamus handed an
envelope containing $1,000 in cash to LOZA.]

LOZA: What is this? Is this from [the FBI undercover
agent]?

Kamus: Yeah, [the FBI undercover agent] from me, yeah,
mmm-mm.

LOZA: From both of you?

Kamus: From both of us, yeah.

LOZA: Do I just take it, or –

Kamus: Yeah.

LOZA: What is this for, though? Just a gift? A Father's
Day gift?

Kamus: Yes, sir.

LOZA: What do you want me to do? What do you want
me, I'll talk to [Public Official No. 1]. And I can
call you back later on –

On-duty Metrobus driver busted for soliciting sex from undercover cop. Reports WaPo: 'The bus driver, Shawn Todd, was arrested by Metropolitan police shortly after midnight, said Cathy Asato, a Metro spokeswoman. She said Todd was on duty and driving the D12 bus to Southern Avenue at the time of the incident. Asato said she did not know if there were customers on the bus at the time of Todd's arrest. She noted the arrest was late at night, "so I can't imagine if there were [customers], there were that many," she said.' Note also that, on Friday, 'a bus driver was arrested after allegedly displaying a knife in a traffic dispute with another motorist,' though prosecutors declined to paper the case.

Teen boys, ages 15 and 16, are arrested for three armed robberies in far Northeast. Reports WaPo: 'Police said the [suspects] were taken into custody Wednesday afternoon by patrol officers in the 4900 block of Brooks Street NE....The first holdup took place about 4 p.m. Monday at the Shrimp Boat carryout at East Capitol Street and Benning Road NE. About 4 p.m. Tuesday, the Menick Market was robbed in the 4400 block of Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue NE. The third holdup, at Tony's Market in the 5300 block of East Capitol Street NE, occurred about 10 p.m. Tuesday.'

Man dies in hospital a month after stabbing on unit block of Forrester Street SW.

Federal appeals court rules that sex offender can't be banned from using a computer for 30 years.

Small fire briefly closes Children's Hospital ER.

Yorkie is stolen from car on Pennsylvania Avenue SE; owner begs for its return.

Another water main break in Dupont Circle.

Habitat for Humanity moves forward with Ivy City projects; Jimmy Carter expected for October groundbreaking, DCmud reports.

Capitol Hill parent and school activist Caryn Ernst pens WaPo op-ed in response to Petula Dvorak column on the DCPS out-of-boundary lottery: 'I'm a proponent of school choice, and I'm happy that the District has created a system to make the lottery easy and fair. Someday I may take advantage of the choices the system offers for my own children. What I take issue with, however, is an attitude among parents that we are merely consumers of education. Of course, the school system is responsible for providing the best schools and teachers possible for all of the city's children. But the fact is, schools become great only if engaged parents make it happen....In her column, Dvorak talked about being "wary of taking a leap of faith at the not-so-great schools and entrusting them with our kids," and she and other parents bemoan the fact that "there still aren't enough [great schools] in enough neighborhoods." This is all true. But it's also true that there are a lot of committed people and great things happening in many of those schools, things you often don't discover until you're there.'

Neil Alpert, longtime local fundraising hand recently of the Washington National Opera, gets top RNC fundraising job—earning him a WaPo A-section story pointing out his 2007 OCF sanctions over the pro-baseball PAC he ran.

'HIP-HOP REPUBLICAN'—That would be David Hedgepeth, running for the Ward 3 council seat.

Via WaPo: City-sponsored photo contest promotes census.

Thursday, with cherry blossoms and Caps, had Metro's second-highest weekday ridership ever—second only to Jan. 20, 2009.

GWU meets volunteerism goal; FLOTUS will indeed give speech.

Beet Street Gardens, 'a project aimed at creating sustainable vegetable gardens for community service organizations in the Washington area,' gets some WaPo love.

Kudos to the Gallaudet Bison baseball team.

Hey, Housing Complex is back!

Barbara Zartman, longtime Georgetown activist, has died. Dorothy Brizill remembers in themail.

D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—Budget Review Week; no events scheduled.

ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—10:30 a.m.: remarks, Benning Library ribbon-cutting.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Comments

  1. #1

    Man, if that is corrpution. Then I want to report 1/3 of the business in the Disrtict.

    The LSBDE program and its DC small business's are NOTORIOUS for not paying subcontractors at all. Under payment is standard business. Just ask small business that that sub to LSBDE firms under the ITSA contract.

    Anyway, that is a dude that is pissed because he got ripped off. He probably couldn't compete for it because he was from virginia and took the penny he could get his hands on. If he hadn't, they would have hired someone else. That isn't corruption. It is just a LSBDE getting over.

    Anyway, corruption is not doing the work. Or, a government employee getting cash.

    This, apparently, is hiring a subcontractor and getting over on them. Subcontracting is not against the law. Is there a legal limit to profit percentages on government jobs?

    I think that the feds make you give them a discount on privaye sector price.Maybe he violated First Source agreements.

    Anyway, how do you think Peebles got to be worth 350 million? By making 5% margins? And, more power to him in that regard.

    And, now we see why Gray gets free fences from government contrators.

    If Fenty didn't get money in his pocket, this is ennuendo.

    Compare: Barry put money in his pocket. Gray has fences built without paying for them until the press reminds him. That is closer to corruption of a public official.

    Fenty just has a slimeball frat brother that courts attention and got slick.

    Anyway, nice to see that the "investigation" by the "independant" council is leaking already.

    We don't have to wait for the report. How "convenient."

  2. #2

    Great, 300 percent markups, just business as usual. Thanks for the perspective, Nice Try.

  3. #3

    Mike,

    No, not business as usual. If true, 300 percent markups are RIDICUOULS!!! And, Skinner should be bared from doing business if that is true. But it is HIS ethical issue. The million dollar hammer is not a new thing. However, it is not Corruption of a Public Official.

    WHAT IS CORRUPTION OF A PUBLIC OFFICAL? You would have to show that Fenty had knowledge and/or particiapted in it, that he recieved benefit. You know, Like Barry and Gray....realizing a cash profit from city contractors. Those could be interpreted as kickbacks or in Gray's case, virtual kick-backs. Or, Graham, whose chief of staff got paid(if true).

    If you don't have that, then it is ennuendo as it relates to Fenty. And, I love that you didn"t argue that this is a "leak" from the "investigation."

    Because, if it is a political leak. Then we know that it is a political investigation. Ken Star is alive and well and working for Gray!

  4. #4

    Nice try,
    I wouldn't want to speculate whether this is admissible in a court of law. In the court of public opinion, however, this is very much admissible. What we thought we were getting with Fenty was the complete opposite of Marion Barry. Instead, we got someone who adheres to the same principles of cronyism and insider dealings as the mayorforlife. So, whether Fenty gets convicted of a crime or not isn't as important as what this means for his political future.

  5. #5

    So, if I've got Nice Try's spin on this correct, it doesn't matter if any of this is true, because there's no proof that Fenty knew about it.

    If so, I have to disagree. It may not matter in terms of whether or not Fenty should be elected, although I'm not quite sure of that yet, but any time someone collects $280,000 of taxpayer money to essentially pick a subcontractor out of a phone book, that's at least one of waste, fraud, and abuse, and it needs to be rooted out and stopped.

  6. #6

    Indeed,

    That is certainly what Gray hopes. Trying to tear down approval numbers. That is why it is so obvious that a supposedly independant investigator is leaking this stuff. It is obvious to anyone with a legal background that is will not touch Fenty. The leak is strickly for political effect.

    The fact that it was Skinner pretty much tells you that Fenty didn"t touch this stuff. He ain't crazy. The council has had a mark on Skinner's head from the beginning. And, Karim was the prime on the deal. I doubt if it would have moved an inch if Liberty was prime.

    I would, however, love to see Fenty shoot this guy from a cannon. Because he is an anvel around his neck. And, dude seemingly only cares about himself. A true "friend" of the Mayor would protect his interests better than this attempt to hit a pay-load. Skinner got his money and, did nothing illegal. It is Fenty that has to deal with the problem.

    And, with Fenty you got the exact opposite of Marion Barry. A person that get things done. He is not a undisiplined, glad handing, managerial nightmare.

    In this case, Fenty not interfering in the procurement process probably allowed Skinner to get slick. He can"t say, "make sure that neither Omar nor Sinclaire win business." That would be as corrupt as giving it to them.

    After the fact, the only thing he could do was cancel the contracts. Which he did as soon as the controversy hit.

    And, after this dog and pony show is over, the "independant" will say just that. But only after theyleak plenty of dirt first.

  7. #7

    cminus,

    First, I am a lawyer. So, you have to forgive me. When i hear a public offical accused of corruption, I look to see if what is said amounts to "corruption." This doesn"t. At least, not the corrurption at the Executive level. Not on these facts. This is an issue between a sub_contractor and a sub-sub-contractor. The Prime billed the District. It was on them not to over-charge. If they did knowingly allow it. Then penalize them and demand repayment.

    To amount to a corruption of a public offical, by law, you have put Fenty in the line of causality.

    You see Barry is still working. And there is nothing close to what Barry did here. Fenty did not create liberty partners then funnel money and cash checks. Even Gray's fence issue walks much closer to the line. Gray is the central actor. He can't hand off responsibility over to his contractor while he is property owner.

    But hey, you can vote for anyone you want for any reason you want. But, may i suggest you call it what it amounts to suspicious activity. And, possibly fraud committed by Liberty on his sub-contractors. Maybe fraud on the part of Banniker if they knew.

    But corruption of the Mayor? That wouldn't even be considered if it were not for Skinner's infamy.

  8. #8

    Hey NT,

    Agreed no evidence that Fenty is corrupt. But he has engaged in a corrupt scheme---a sub rosa process that happens to have illicitly enriched his friend and ally. Burden is on him now to demand the money back and rebuke Skinner. If not, he is countenancing the corruption, no?

  9. #9

    Sinclair Skinner didn't illegally move 85 million dollars from the D.C. Treasury (Parks & Recreation) to the quasi-public entity D.C. Housing Authority where it was then doled out in contracts to Fenty friends/cronies, including Skinner in this gross display of waste, fraud and abuse. No matter how you twist it or turn it, the money trail leads to the Mayor's front door. That kind of money would not have left the District treasury without his seal of approval.

  10. #10

    proballdc you are so right. Nice Try you are a lawyer and I respect your profession, But this recks to high heaven. Fenty is in on this.

  11. #11

    IF IT EVER GOT TO THE POINT WHERE THE FEDS WERE TO INVESTIGATE IM SURE SOMEONE WOULD FALL ON THE SWORD FOR BITCH BOY.

    WITH RESPECT TO HIS REELECTION HIS IMMATURE ASS KNOWS ALL OF THE COOKS IN THE KITCHEN NOT KNOW THE RECIPE!

  12. #12

    "Agreed no evidence that Fenty is corrupt."

    In this case, "maybe" is the operative word.

    Eleven months later, still no answers on Fenty's ex-chauffeur, ex-substitute teacher, and PG County resident, Keith Lomax.

    You know, the guy that was caught illegally driving his BFF Fenty around in a city-owned vehicle last May; something Fenty challenged ("He is if I say so!) until it was demonstrated effectively by the auditor that he was wrong.

    Yes, the guy that won millions in DC landscaping contracts for schools--some that have no landscape--as a DC-LSDBE, even though neither he nor his "business" are located here. (Skinner's take was chump change in comparison.)

    The same guy that used his NE property (which he rents out to a DC cop) address to commit voter fraud in the 2008 DC primary election.

    I'll be sure to let you guys know when the story breaks.

  13. #13

    First Leak pretty much got it right. LL, who in Gray's circle "leaked" this?

  14. Georgia Avenue Day
    #14

    @ Truth Hurts get off the I hate Vince Gray short bus, enough already. Gray isn't perfect nor is any politician or any person, but Gray's career history and just a 5 minute conversation with him will show that Gray has more love and dedication for ALL residents of this city no matter what ward they live in, tax bracket or color of their skin.

    Fenty is more corrupt than Marion Barry, and yes Regis that is my final answer.

    Because Fenty and crew present themselves as some new black psudeo bourgeois: the wife that could do a voiceover for a grey poupon commerical, attending a granola liberal arts college, he's a triathlete, he supports gays and latinos and ate a damn half smoke with the Harvard-educated first Black president...We just assume that little boy Fenty is too sophisticated to ever be involved in any of the silly foolishness surrounding the Barry era.

    Yeah we may not see Fenty sucking on a chicken wing and smelling of cognac in executive staff meetings like Barry. But the corruption, money laundering, using the DC treasury as your personal piggy bank, accepting gifts & trips, providing job opportunities and contracts to crooks and criminals is all the same with Fenty.

    And I believe Fenty's sucking on something occurs in the Domincian Republic.

    No one in Gray's circle needs to "leak" shit. Fenty and crew are sloppy, and this third party contractor is pissed that he didn't get a third of his money. I'd be ready to expose folks as well.

  15. #15

    Does anyone ever win - when they prove cronyism and corruption.

    Even College Professors are telling us what is the use!

Comments Shown. Turn Comments Off.
...