Loose Lips

AG: Mayor Shouldn’t Have To Testify in Lottery Suit

No big surprise here: the office of the attorney general has filed a motion asking a federal judge to quash a subpoena for Mayor Vince Gray to testify about his role in the long-passed D.C. Lottery contract brouhaha.

Former CFO contracting officer Eric Payne is suing the city, alleging that he was fired for resisting undue political pressure in awarding the lucrative lotto contract. He's also subpoenaed CFO Nat Gandhi and Councilmembers Jack Evans and Jim Graham to testify.

The OAG's rational against having the mayor deposed for Payne's lawsuit is 1) the information Payne presumably wants from Gray's testimony can be found elsewhere and 2) Gray has immunity from being compelled to discuss his "legislative duties" while he was council chairman.

"Even plaintiff’s veiled allegation of impropriety in the D.C. Council’s contract approval process does not justify a fishing expedition in the legislative pond," some frustrated wordsmith from the AG's office wrote in a briefing.

  • Tom M.

    Ummm. Then Council Chair Gray was the key political actor that held up the awarding of the contract proposed under the Fenty administration and forwarded with recommendation for approval from the CFO's office. Since the AG for political reasons seems unable to investigate this as a civil or criminal matter, must he also seek to block deposition or testimony in a related civil suit brought by another party?? Sounds and smells bad. Fish rots from the head....

  • INSIDER

    i can say 100 percent that gray is the number 1 player in this deal. he tried 2 help the Mannings keep the contract and when that didnt work he tried 2 have ms. green put a group together.

  • Truth Hurts

    So the AG long ago formally requested the IG to investigate lottery contract irregularities, specifically citing Gray's improper manipulation of the process, yet the AG now claims Gray shouldn't have to answer questions about that process.

    One City, baby! Character. INTEGRITY. Leadership.

  • Drew

    Relevant question: was Gray acting outside the scope of his authority as Chairman of the Council when (and if) he directly engaged in negotiations surrounding the selection of a vendor for the lottery contract? Vendor selection is an "executive" function, properly delegated to the agency responsible for procuring contracts, usually the Office of Contracts and Procurement. Even in the context of the OCFO, an independent agency, their selection of a vendor would be more properly viewed as an executive function performed through their office of contracts and procurement. It is possible that such direct involvement in vendor selection could be viewed as beyond the two recognized roles of a council member, that of oversight and as lawmaker. And, let's not forget that Gray is a sitting Mayor. If the judge forces a sitting Mayor to testify in a civil trial, it could have far-reaching implications, especially given the current political climate in DC. This will be a great argument to hear before a judge.

  • Truth Hurts

    See today's WaPo editorial on DC's inexcusable failure to thoroughly investigate apparent lottery contract award shenanigans. Finally, the media has awoken.

    You could've been out front on this, LL. Now you're behind WaPo and The Wash Times. Missed opportunity, dude.

  • Wendy Washington

    "The OAG's rational against having the mayor deposed..."

    That should read rationale. Where are the CP proofreaders? The same place the "moderator" is hiding?

  • Really??

    @ Truth Hurts - If Gandhi, Evans, Graham and Gray did as Payne alleges, what local and federal laws did they violate? It sounds as if Irv Nathan is saying that any and everything done by legislators is ok because they have absolute immunity. I'm interested in knowing what laws their actions may have violated, particularly since DC Council members, according to the AG, are able to wantonly disregard the laws. Anyone have any thoughts?

  • Truth Hurts

    I suggest you read both Payne's complaint (Civil Action No. 10cv0679, filed May 26, 2010) and the joint request by the AG and Chief Procurement Officer (via letter and attached memo dated July 20, 2010)for the IG to formally investigate ("high priority") the lottery contract award.

    While none of the 4 persons you identified are specifically targeted in either of the above, it's evident that Ghandi and Gray are intimately involved in the alleged irregularities. No specific allegations are made against Graham or Eveans. LL has the source docs and should post them, in my view, so others can arrive at informed opinions. I've asked him to do so, with no success. I have all these materials, but don't have a forum to post them on.

    Briefly put, Payne says he was pressured to unlawfully tamper with the lottery contract award. He refused, reported it to the IG, and ultimately was fired in retaliation. The complaint cites the laws that allegedly were broken. If you have access to PACER, pull the complaint from the U.S. District Court and read it.

    When one reads these materials as a whole, they paint a very troubling picture. It's a disgrace that thus far these events have largely been hidden from public scrutiny. Back room deals, influence peddling, and millions of public revenue apparently at stake. Where's Irv?

  • Anothernative

    You geniuses never ceace to amaze me, you have all the answers. Lol, I'm really impressed with all of your investigative prowess, and if you believe that, I've got some waterfront property for sale east of the sousa bridge for cheap. Stop it you're killing me which one is Sherlock and who's Watson,I see that you've got one of Charlies angels too, Lol, you guy's.

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