City Desk

D.C. Council Members Ask Gandhi Not To Pay Banneker Settlement

Five members of the D.C. Council are asking Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi not to pay out the $550,000 settlement between Banneker Ventures and Attorney General Peter Nickles.

"The agreement would foreclose any and all opportunity for the District to recover fees and/or damages for Banneker's failure to perform, negligent performance, possible fraud, and other potential causes of action," Councilmembers Phil Mendelson, Kwame Brown, Harry Thomas Jr., Mary Cheh and Michael Brown wrote in a letter to Gandhi.

Banneker Ventures, you'll no doubt recall, is owned by Fenty fraternity brother Omar Karim and is at the heart of an on-going council investigation into alleged fishy parks and rec department contracts. Mendelson, Thomas Jr., and Cheh sent a nasty letter to Nickles Tuesday scolding him for making the settlement without notifying the council or waiting for their investigation to be completed.

Nickles, for his part, said he reached a settlement with Banneker after months of deliberate work.  He said the council is playing politics while he's stuck trying to clean up the legal mess they made when they canceled Banneker's contracts shortly after finding out they'd be given without council approval.

No word yet on whether Gandhi has the authority—or will—to breach the settlement.

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  • IMGoph

    why is gandhi spelled differently in the title?

  • Truth Hurts


  • DCDem

    It is unlawful to grant a contract using public funds in excess of 1 million dollars without the approval of the Council. If, on it's face, the contract was entered into on an illegal premise, the contract itself is voidable and unenforceable and must be withdrawn.

    That Nickles would settle this case for over a 1/2 million dollars during a Council recess on the 4th, over 2 million during another Council recess around Christmas, says ALOT about the man.

    Nickles knows full well that these contracts are under investigation and, if serving the best interest of the District was his intent, he would have fought to delay of any settlement pending the outcome of the investigation.

    Natwar Ghandi should be held accountable if he issues this payment to Banneker prior to the investigative findings. To pay them would remove any rights the city would have to recover damages in the face of legal or contractual wrongdoing.

    Mr. Gray, attach payment of this check to a guaranteed request for Ghandi to step down should you win the election. Give Ghandi some food for thought.

  • RoaringNana

    The bad smell coming off this settlement is Peter Nickles stinky ass. This is his way to pay "hush money" before the investigation is complete because he know what it will reveal--from day 1 the contract was done illegally behind closed doors. This is not the first time he has by pass the City Council, hopefully is the last. Council members, please hold a press conference tomorrow telling the people of DC that Nickles has been FIRED!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • tired

    Roaring Nana thank you, my sentiments exactly.