City Desk

Vincent Gray Calls For AG Peter Nickles To Resign


D.C. Council Chairman and mayoral candidate Vincent Gray has called on Attorney General Peter Nickles to resign. While there's zero chance that Fenty's right-hand man will be taking Gray's advice, it's about time the attorney general became a campaign issue.Nickles is one of the mayor's biggest liabilities. He has managed to earn the wrath of several federal court judges and the disdain of the average citizen and reporter who's just trying get a FOIA request fulfilled. He's also pissed off a number of D.C. Councilmembers with his eye-roll-inducing explanations for the fire-truck giveaway, the mayor's shady contracts with his frat brothers, and the destruction of evidence and discovery abuses in the Pershing Park case. Not to mention the recent settlement with Banneker Ventures while the D.C. Council continued to investigate the Fenty cronies.

Gray's press release is sharp. It reads:

"'Two years ago, I voted to confirm Peter Nickles as Attorney General, with a belief and trust that he would put the interests of the people first, as required by D.C. law.  There is no question about the fact that the Attorney General’s client is the District of Columbia, not the Mayor.  That’s what the Office of the General Counsel to the Mayor is for.  The Attorney General is supposed to be the people’s lawyer.

Unfortunately, it’s become increasingly clear that Peter Nickles not only sees himself as the Mayor’s lawyer, but also as the Mayor’s political hatchet man, and enabler of the Mayor’s cronyism.  His politicization of the office is inappropriate at best, and illegal at worst.  And by protecting the Mayor’s cronies, he has put the interest of the Mayor squarely ahead of the interest of his actual client.  He has betrayed the public trust too many times to be an effective public advocate.  Mayor Fenty should relieve him of his duties immediately.'"

Gray's call for Nickles to go will be the easiest decision his campaign will ever have to make.

2:20 p.m. Update: Bruce DePuyt tweets Nickles react. Guess what? He ain't quitting: "Peter Nickles tells NC8 Vince Gray 'must have had heat stroke or something.' Dismisses demand for his ouster as a 'stunt.'"

Here's the rest of the press release:

"Gray’s comments come after a series of events in which Nickles inappropriately politicized his role and facilitated the Mayor’s cronyism.

  • Nickles has politicized the Attorney General’s office in recent media interviews in which he has inappropriately (and perhaps illegally) inserted himself into political campaigns.
  • Nickles entered into a $550,000 settlement with Banneker Ventures, despite an ongoing city investigation into Banneker for potentially defrauding the public.
  • Nickles has presided over a record number of improperly denied Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
  • In 2009, he inappropriately hampered a D.C. Council investigation into the donation of a fire truck and ambulance to the Dominican Republic, by interfering with subpoenas issued for two city employees."

*file photo by Darrow Montgomery.

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  • DCDem

    I can't think of a single sane District resident who would contend that Peter Nickles is an asset to the Fenty re-election bid. Yes, he is a major liability. He has pissed off the chief justice of the superior court which is where the Attorney General should be BUILDING positive relationships.

    Adrian Fenty will not only keep Peter Nickles, he can be expected to veto the legislation seeking to make the attorney general an elected position.

  • Rick Mangus

    Why would Nickles resign, he only has six months left!


    Rick all this circus madness with these clowns are political.

  • Mr. Bigglesworth

    At best, the Fenty-Nickles partnership is like Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. At worst, this story is the most embarrassing kind of satire around: real life unfolding in spite of simple common sense.

    The saddest part is that these two jokers have done the seemingly impossible and the truly unforgivable: re-empowered Marion Barry.

  • Brahmin

    I didn't see the point. Nickles and Fenty are conjoined evil twins with the super power to make taxpayer funds, FOIA request and hard working staff disappear...into an abyss

    Truth, shame or threat of conviction has never stopped them from doing what they want--why will a press release.

    Was the press release laced with 100 dollars bills then tossed down a storm drain...than it might have had a chance.

  • Grumpy

    Like asking Satan to take a vacation...ain't gonna happen

  • Throw the rascals out!

    We all know Nickles isn't going anywhere for the time being, however, I'm most pleased that Chairman Gray has put his grossly inappropriate behavior on front street for everyone to see it. Way to Vince!

  • Jason Cherkis

    Yeah, Gray earns some kudos for his use of bullet points.

  • downtown rez

    Oh, whatever.
    Nickles probably shut down a Gray doner's slummy used car lot or something.
    By the way, how much $$ is Gray taking from Jemal?

  • Truth Hurts

    @ Drez: On June 9, Doug Jemal maxed out, writing a 2k check to Gray. (item 1,441 on Gray's 6/10 finance report). On June 9, Morris Jemal gave 1k to Gray (item 316 on Gray's 6/10 finance report). Another Jemal bro gave 1k to Gray on the same date.

    Doug Jemal was quoted in the press as saying "Let's Get It On" to prosecutors shortly before he was convicted of a felony for falsifying financial documents.

    On June 7, A. Anonymous gave $25 to Gray via credit card (item 349). Would you accept a credit card contribution from someone whose card was issued to A. Anonymous?

  • Truth Hurts

    The other Jemal bro is Norman. Gave 1k to Gray the same day (item 1,086 on Gray's report. Look for lots more on his next report.

  • tired

    Hey Truth Hurts again Fenty's money is coming from outside entities, so lets put up Fenty's donor records can you take it. Hey Jason do you have them? Nichols is Fenty's albatross.

  • Truth Hurts

    tired: I've been waiting for someone to look at campaign money. Put both lists up, I'm all for it. In fact, DeBonis posted Fenty's during the snowstorms. Haven't seen anyone post Gray's. Have you?

  • Jason Cherkis

    Truth Hurts....way off topic here. We're talking about Nickles.

  • downtown rez

    Not so off topic when one considers the breadth of legal matters handled by the AG, and compares them to the respective donor roles.
    You're a DC boy, right? Follow the money...

  • Jason Cherkis

    I don't think Gray's association with the Jemal Brothers has anything to do with his calling for Nickles' resignation. Look that the timing. It has everything to do with Nickles' settling with the Fenty Frat Bro. And the recent FOIA BS.

    Do you not agree that Nickles is a campaign issue for Fenty?

  • downtown rez

    Of course Nickles is a campaign issue. As is Monome and Klein, Argo, Schiraldi and ?, Howland, Albert and Santos, Ray and Hartsock, Hawkins and ?, and etc.
    Like everything in the admin, there is a record to run on. And in most cases, that means both good and bad things, depending on one's perspective. I happen to appreciate the AG's office, and hinted at why in my car lot comment.
    But this is all part of a much larger picture, as is Douglas Development's donations to Gray. By the way, Jason, what do you think of of the latest WP story on DYRS oversight Lopes' opinions of DYRS? How about the school renovations and reforms? Are these efforts noble, Quixotic, or both? And what do you think the latest DCPS test scores will show? How about those two years from now? I'm sad to say I recognize that last question wasn't fair...

  • Jason Cherkis

    DYRS has had ups and downs, mostly downs, Lopes reports aside. DCPS test scores had been rising pre-Rhee--according to the e-mails I get. School renovations were approved under Tony Williams. I agree that campaign donations are worth considering.

    I'm not all that satisfied with the level of reporting on Rhee and school reforms. All I can remember is Rhee, the Broom, and an incremental uptick in test scores. I'd love for a reporter to figure out how Rhee has tackled the most troubled schools.

    It's all up for debate. I just wish Fenty would a) show up for debates; b) when he does show up, not read from his BlackBerry; c) stand for as long as it takes and answer questions from reporters on any subject including how his kids ended up at there really great school, etc.

    Same goes for Gray. I want to hear what he has to say about school reform, the police, DYRS, etc. And I want him to answer questions about his campaign contributions. [But I don't care about his old traffic ticket].

    As for Nickles, I think he's done very few projects like the one you mentioned --the used car lots. On the whole, he comes off as buffoonish in court--I've seen him fail miserably--and has embarrassed himself in his dealings with the federal court oversight cases. Ill-prepared. No real facts to back up his arguments (the CFSA case was a great example of that). And needless stonewalling in the Pershing Park cases (one of which is still going on). And why is he the Fenty Admin's talking head?

  • DCDem

    As I said initially, only the delusional believe that Peter Nickles is an asset to an Adrian Fenty re-election bid or that he has done a good service for the District residents as A.G. by antagonizing superior court judges (including the chief judge) that rule on cases involving the District or in settling claims against the District for contracts currently under investigations, contracts that even he said were entered into in violation of District law. (Banneker Ventures).

    Robert Spagnoletti, the AG under Anthony Williams, exemplified what an AG role should be. He didn't get into the political fray and his opinions and actions were not constructed to support what Williams' wanted. (i.e. gay marriage). He was silent yet effective, and served the interest of the city very well. He knew who his client was (the people). He understood he was not Mayor William's General Counsel (Lynn Becker). He never violated the federal Hatch Act by using his position in a manner to get a politician elected.

    Whether you like Fenty or not, (me, NOT!!!) Nickles is going to be his Achilles heel in September.

  • 1intheKnow

    I suppose it should come as no surprise that Adrian Fenty - a man who was barely competent and questionably ethical (and that is being generous) as a practicing attorney - has so little disregard for the rule of law and for the public trust placed in the District’s chief legal counsel. But that makes it no less of a disgrace and an insult to the people of the District of Columbia.

    Messrs. Fenty and Nickles have so debased the office of Attorney General that the change to an elected AG is now seen as a positive - and quite possibly necessary - move. Unlike the present occupant, the position of AG (and its predecessor, known as Corporation Counsel) has over the past decades been filled by some truly accomplished and ethically irreproachable men and women... who achieved much good for the city, and who never lost sight of the fact that their client is the government and people of the District of Columbia. Would that that were the case today.

    Responsible fiscal stewardship?

    Ethics in government?

    Fairness in contracting?

    Chief Legal Counsel actually representing the District of Columbia?

    Respect for the citizens of the District?

    (I could go on....)

    Fenty – and his cabal of crooks and charlatans – MUST GO.

  • Korrupt

    Good for Gray. Peter Nickles needs to go.

  • tired


  • Anonymous, Too

    "How about the school renovations...."

    Maybe we should ask Fenty's ex-chauffeur, Keith Lomax, about that.

  • downtown rez

    DC Dem: At the end of the day, under Fenty and Nickels, DC is closer to where it needs to be. Spagnoletti/Williams didn't bring us there, Fenty/Nickles did.
    So, yeah, I'll say we're doing well.
    In my areas of town, the cleaning up of the vacant nuisance properties alone is a huge step forward for neighborhoods. And by a huge step forward, I mean one 30 or 40 years in the coming. That's a very welcome thing.

  • William Van Croft

    Since Nickles and the city kept part of my lawsuit money awarded to me after my dad sued DCPS and won, maybe he can think about giving it to me....


    I find it amazing that no one from the US Attorney's office does anything to hold these corrupt turds responsible for everything their questioned about. How many excuses for this and that to cover up your wrongdoings does it take before someone steps in. It's really sad to see people like this do whatever they want and when questioned, this is our answer and your gonna like it.

    Of course their own Internal Ivestigations as well as the individual agency investigations will always be in favor of Frick and Frack, as to protect the good Fenty name and his administration.

    Hey Peter Nickles, as a executive service employee of the District of Columbia, why do you live in Mclean, Va, when your required to maintain a permanent resident of the District. Oh do live in the have a phoney Penn Quarter address...would love to follow this clown home from work oneday....Sorry, got off track for a minute....I forgot the rules don't apply to people within the Fenty Administration and if you don't want to go along with the program, we will kindly see that you are dismissed...Hmmm...just ask the former Parks & Recreation Director....