Loose Lips Daily: The Bell Tolls For Sessoms Edition
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Gray Orders Investigation Into SUVgate
Sekou Biddle: Your Signatures Are False
Kwame Brown Settles Credit Card Debt
Good morning sweet readers! LL called it weeks ago that Brad is going to pick Emily. Total no-brainer. News time:
Another Day, Another Taxpayer-Funded Scandal: UDC President Allen Sessoms, the bell of public outrage now tolls for thee. Fox 5's Tisha Thompson brings the pain with an investigation into Sessoms' pricey travel tastes. "Egypt. London. Jackson Hole, WY and Torre Pines, CA. First-class destinations for any seasoned traveler. But we’re not talking about a vacation. We’re talking about your taxpayer dollars." Boom. Thompson goes on to detail how Sessoms is having the city pay wayyyy to much so he can fly first class to conferences around the country. Who pays $2,229 to fly to San Antonio? Sure, SA probably has the best Tex-Mex in the world, but c'mon. Then there's the mysterious $8,000 one-way ticket to Egypt that taxpayers covered, with no return receipts. "The paperwork UDC gave Fox 5 is a mess. Most trips are missing receipts and other documentation, prompting questions like… Why did he spend more than $644 for one night in New York’s luxury hotel The Plaza? And why are there so many other, unexplained credit card charges in cities like Boston, Memphis and Oklahoma City?" Sessoms also fails to man up and talk to FOX 5, instead sending a hapless spokesman to try and deflect questions. Remember, this is the same Sessoms who told the Post last month that UDC is broke and needs an extra $8 million to keep its community college afloat. And the best part? UDC gives Sessoms, along with a $295,000 salary and a $1.6 million home, a $60,000 vehicle allowance (plus gas). Guess what he spent it on? That's right, a Lincoln Navigator (no word yet on what the interior color is). Paging Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells, we got another one.
AFTER THE JUMP: Mad At Wells; Pope Bill; Breathalyzer Fail...
Mad At Wells: Speaking of Wells, yesterday he released a preliminary report saying that the city is breaking its own law by buying or leasing a bunch of unnecessary SUVs, including Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown's Navigator. That didn't sit well with Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr., who tells the Times, "I think the [Wells] report was handled in an inappropriate process ... How can a report be released without committee input? This may be a violation of council rules." What? More rulebreaking? The Post reports that Brown is now getting booed at public events, and City Administrator Allen Lew wants everyone to know that none of this is his fault.
No Way To Run A School System: Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans has apparently heard enough bellyaching over the mess at Hardy Middle School that he's considering legislation to reinstate its former principal, reports the Georgetown Patch. This can only lead to a future councilmember passing a bill that would fire the teacher who give his child a bad grade. Meanwhile, the Examiner reports that there will be "severe" cuts in DCPS's budget that will include layoffs for teachers and other school staff.
No Way To Run a Police Department: D.C. cops don't want to bother making DUI arrests at present, said two police officers at a hearing yesterday on MPD's longstanding and ongoing struggles to perform the basic police work involved with using a breathalyzer machine. The Examiner's Ben Giles also reports that the city "is at least several months from restoring the alcohol breath tests."
We've All Got Challenges: At-Large Councilmember Sekou Biddle put the screws to three of his opponents yesterday, challenging the petitions turned in by Pat Mara, Jacque Patterson and Bryan Weaver. Biddle initially challenged Vincent Orange's petitions as well, before abruptly changing his mind. Patterson and Weaver both say they aren't worried. LL hasn't heard from Mara yet.
For Those Of You Feeling Nostalgic About Fenty: Enter Sinclair Skinner, the failed ex-dry cleaner turned wealthy developer under Mayor Adrian Fenty, who spiced the news diet up yesterday by releasing an open letter asking why Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham isn't feeling more heat after his former chief of staff Ted Loza pleaded guilty to two felony corruption charges. "While many are paying close attention to Mayor Vince Gray's hiring policies, and the color of Council chair Kwame Brown's SUV interior, Councilman Jim Graham's former chief of staff goes to jail for taking a gratuity from a lobby, and no one bats an eye to see if Graham had any criminal involvement in the matter." Of note, Skinner seems to be sharing a spokesman, Frederick Butler, with at-large candidate Josh Lopez.
In Other News: Jim Graham says the city needs the Peaceoholics. Sulaimon Brown is not going away. Want a summer job? Tough luck. D.C. Medicaid costs are too damn high. Where have all the gas stations gone? Long time passing. Gray goes back to Capitol Hill to talk vouchers, looks like he was denied the chance to testify. Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh probably wants vending machines to sell broccoli.
Gray sked: Noon presser.
Council sked: Legislative meeting kicks off at 10 a.m.