Loose Lips

Even More Bad News Regarding Navigators

City procurement law generally prohibits the District from making advance payments on contracts, but the Department of Public Works did exactly that on the lease for Council Chairman Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown's luxury SUVs.

"There was an error made and we should not have paid the entire amount up front," says DPW spokeswoman Nancee Lyons in a late Friday email.

LL confirmed from three sources knowledgeable about District finance law that advance payments are usually prohibited. (Note: LL's still trying to find the exact wording of the D.C. code and will post it when he finds it.) A spokesman for Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells, who is investigating SUVgate and is holding an oversight hearing of DPW next week, confirms that Wells' office is aware of the procurement law and is conducting a legal review of Brown's lease. (In case you haven't heard, the city canceled the leases to the two Navigators procured for Brown after a public uproar over their cost.)

The Examiner first reported that the city had prepaid $17,000 on Brown's Navigators, citing anonymous sources. One Examiner source said pre-payments were not uncommon, but were unusual for a lease. The source speculated that the prepayment may have been done to get a discount, but city signed a contract to pay $1,963 a month for one of Brown's Navigators. That doesn't seem like much of a discount, given that's a little more than what the city's paying for Mayor Vince Gray's almost identical ride.

LL compared the contract order (it's PO351377, in case you were wondering) on one of Brown's SUVs to procurement data online, and found record of a $17,669.82 payment on Dec. 23, 2010, to the leasing company that provided Brown's ride. The contract for the mayor's Navigator and procurement data seem to indicate that the Metropolitan Police Department paid upfront on that vehicle too. LL hasn't yet inquired over at MPD and will update as needed.

If DPW did, in fact, break city law, it appears it wouldn't be the first time on matters sporty and utility.

Two weeks ago, LL broke the news that it's illegal for the city to buy or lease SUVs, except for security or public safety reasons. LL noted at the time, and will do so again, that Brown says he was offered a choice between a sedan and an SUV, and chose the SUV. That pretty much kneecaps any possible excuse that Brown needed an SUV for public safety reasons (an excuse City Administrator Allen Lew is using for why he is driving around a 2011 Chevy Tahoe).

LL never heard back from DPW on that issue, but the agency's director, William Howland, will have to answer to Wells next week.

  • Southeast Ken

    Bill Howland should resign.

  • Rick Mangus

    Just remember you ass holes voted these crook into office last November!

  • Just Curious

    What about the OCFO? Isn't this office the final approver on requisitions/purchase orders? Don't they control the District purse strings? If it was illegal to make the full year payment upfront, the CFO's office was the last line of defense. It failed. It is time for the CFO and his non-performing staff to go.

  • Drez

    This isba piss-poor substitute for the Trout report.
    Where, oh where, has VG's mojo gone?

  • Southeast Ken

    Whom did you vote for Rick Mangus, Adrian Fenty? Fenty was an asshole and he too was also corrupt with many skeletons in his closet.

  • Just the facts, ma’am

    Howland is a convenient scapegoat here, but he's been head of DPW under three administrations, and has done a great job (by DC standards). I shudder to think who might be chosen to replace him. He did what he was told to do by his superiors, and - rather than throw him under the SUV - I prefer keeping him on to getting rid of him and replacing him with Sulaimon Brown version 2.0.

  • http://citypaper Tony

    Hey Rickie,does your computer have spell check? If not,have your wife to proof read your drivel for errors. CROOKS not crook

  • dpc1994

    I can haz SUV?

  • Drez

    just the facts ma'am is right.
    Bill has survived this long because he runs his agency competently, and he does what he's told.
    Politicians are deep into CYA mode and Bill's being thrown under the bus is more a reflection on those politicians than on competent and loyal Bill than on DPW.

  • Petey

    Suderman: you want to find the real dirt? Look at the leasing company and the connections to Gray and Howland. That's where the scandal is. Fenty tried to get rid of them to no avail an they survived to see a new day of corruption. Why do you think DPW got $10 million to lease new vehicles in the budget?

  • Time2BReal

    Everybody felt sorry for Kwame when they talked about his personal debt and his boat but nobody was listening to the fact that he really isn't responsible with his money...

    The minds of DC Voters I tell ya lmao

  • jc

    Whom is Bill Howland "loyal" to?
    Using taxpayers money in this way is considered competent?

  • Drez

    @jc
    directors who don't take direction don't get reappointed.
    Last year the council passed legislation that gave election winners (Gray and Kwame) certain privileges prior to their being inaugurated. Among those was the privilege of leasing vehicles.

  • Rick Mangus

    'Southeast Ken', I wrote-in Carol Schwartz. 'Tony', so I made a mistake, big deal!

  • annonymous

    The real problem here is the people who buy the stuff the contracting people. the cfo can only pay once some in the purchasing side. bill is protecting his purchasing people for which i commend him.

  • noodlez

    @Drez-YOU ARE CONTINUING WITH YOUR BULLSHIT ABOUT GRAY RUNNING EXEC BRANCH BEFORE HE TOOK OFFICE JUST SHOWS THE LEVEL IN WHICH YOU AND YOUR PUNK ASS PEERS ARE WILL TO STOOP.

    HOWLAND IS NOT BEING THROWN UNDER THE BUS. HE FUCKED UP! IT'S TIME TO MAN UP! HE SHOULD ADMIT THAT AND IT WILL SHOW THAT HE IS OUT FROM UNDER FAGGIE FENTY'S FAILED LEADERSHIP AND ALLOW FOR A BIT MORE LATTITUDE (ALBEIT NOT THAT MUCH) GOING FORWARD.

    AS HEAD OF THE DPW HE OR ONE OF UNDERLINGS SHOULD'VE KNOWN THAT THEY WASNT SUPPOSED TO SUBMIT PURCHASE ORDER FOR ENTIRE AMOUNT OF LEASE DEAL UP FRONT AND NO SUV’S FOR W.D.C. ESPECIALLY SINCE HIS ASS BEEN IN THE CHAIR FOR QUITE AWHILE. ACCORDING TO YOU SOMEONE HIGHER THAN THE DIRECTOR ADVISED HIM TO PAY ENTIRE LEASE DEAL. WHY WOULD THEY DO THAT?

    SHOULD HOWLAND BE FIRED? NO.

    HOWEVER HE HAS GOTTEN A BIT COMPLACENT IN HIS SEAT AND MAYBE THIS IS A WAKE UP CALL FOR HIM TO REVIEW HIS DEPARTMENT WITH DIFFERENT A FOCUS!

    CAN WE PLEASE GET SOMEONE IN THE CITY WHO CAN NEGOTIATE THE PRICES DOWN ON SOME OF THE SHIT WE ARE PAYING FOR?

    AND WILL SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME WITH THIS; WHY ARE PAYING ALMOST TWO GRAND A MONTH FOR LEASE AND LINCOLN WEBSITE EVEN WITH "0" DOWN TOPS OUT AT $868?

    YO SEWERMAN CAN WE DROP WITCH HUNT ON LEW AND HIS TAHOE? HE NEED AND SHOULD HAVE SUV.

  • Drez

    noodlez
    It's not BS. Both you and I know that while Gray was council chair and Kwame was at large the council passed a legislation intended to facilitate the transition and, as one part of this legislation, the election winners were allowed to lease vehicles. Also, there are emails between KB staff, Albert, Lew, and Howland on this exact matter. Both of these facts have been well reported in the media.
    The incoming administration was in substantial control of the government during the transition. It is what it is, there is no point in denying or even at this stage being so defensive about it.

  • HSW

    The provision of District procurement law generally prohibiting advance payments is 27 DCMR 3205. Here's the link:
    http://www.dcregs.org/Gateway/RuleHome.aspx?RuleNumber=27-3205.

    The provision on leasing of motor vehicles is 27 DCMR 2116. Here's the link: http://www.dcregs.org/Gateway/RuleHome.aspx?RuleNumber=27-2116.

  • NoDocClifford Thomas,karatedud

    As a GAY Karate teacher, I Clifford Thomas(aka CLiffag to my bedbuds)of Bladensburg Rec Ctr in PeeGeeCee, Md love the scam and ripping off the public for money. You DC and PG voters are so gullible I could roundhouse karate kick you foo-foos sometimes...metamorphically speaking.
    Leave my friends V Gray, Kwame Brown and Adrian Fenty (whom I have a lot in common with,,,hint my nickname) alone to steal,cheat and maybe slepp with your significant other. Gray is a single player and so am I, I am just dark-skinned and cannot stand on my feet for longer than 15 minutes and fools come to my class casue like Creflo Dollar, the preacher said ....brin the money and eff the honey for Jesus' sake...

  • Southeast Ken

    NoDocClifford Thomas,karatedud, please go back on your meds. You continue to post this foolishness here and on the Washington Post blog. Your comment doesn't make any sense. It proves, your ass need to be locked up in a mental institution along with John Hinkley.

  • American Rogue

    C'mon Vinnie!!!!! Remember Character, Leadership & Integrity? Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot!!!!!!!

  • Terry Miller

    The Office of Contracting and Procurement is responsible for this. That is why they are a seperate agency, so that they can say "no". However, during the Fenty administration the OCP looked the other way (did you see the report about the Office of Risk Management and its contracts?). The OCP has to learn to say "no" again!

  • http://deleted Etta

    The media has been all over the new adminisration why did they not do the same for Fenty.Gray and Brown must do better. Its really something now that the digging is being done. Where was the media when Fenty and Nichols went around the DC laws in every thing that happened in the last 4 years.

  • NU78

    Alan, the dc.gov page that is supposed to display procurement orders tells me it is "unavailable." Where did you locate the purchase order online?

    Interesting that the D.C. government would take down an "open government" site on the Web when this happens to be national Sunshine Week.

    Does the online P.O. list the name of the leasing company that received this advance payment?? If so, can you please tell us who got our tax money??

  • DC Respected Common People

    The real question becomes, when will Fully Loaded Brown return the tax dollars?

    Also, who will VG select or City Council Committee put in place to prohibit this type of leasing from ever occurring again.

    Accountability and transparency is need NOW, not tomorrow.

  • Dig Deeper

    We should have elected Vincent Orange.

...