Loose Lips

Silent Irv To Grass Cutter: Don’t Threaten Me

Yesterday the Post reported that Lorenz, the Baltimore-based grass cutting company at the center of the recent tempest over city contracts, offered the city a deal to settle the whole mess.  You renew the options years in my contracts, Lorenz said, and I'll sit down with the Post editorial board and make the negative publicity go away.

It's hard to think of how that effort could have been any more unsuccessful. Yesterday, Mayor Vince Gray said on WTOP that he was "aghast" at the offer and had "never seen anything like it." (LL supposes this means Sulaimon Brown never offered to mow the mayor's yard in return for saying bad things about former Mayor Adrian Fenty.)  Also yesterday Attorney General Irv Nathan sent a tartly worded letter to the company's lawyer, essentially saying, "are you freaking kidding me?"

"Further, your client, having decided to pursue this matter initially in the press, is in no position now to propose how the District should handle press relations resulting from your client's choice to paint as improper the perfectly legitimate decision of the District not to exercise its option under the contract," writes Nathan.

Read the whole thing:

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  • SEis4ME

    Yeah Alan, this goes to show you how ridiculous the editorial board is. They are now supporting companies who "threaten" district gov't.

    Wonder what WCP's own postdefendingduo have to say about this one.

    Probably not much.

  • SkinsFan83

    No one business should have all this power

  • Drez

    I dont mind that some extra weight be given to local bidders. That is something we've long done and it's great to have DC tax dollars used to pay DC residents.
    But the rules of the game should be clear, they should not be changed in the middle of the game, and there's no way we should be paying double (or even 20% more) on a contract just to deliver some low wage menial work to people. The point of the contract is to efficiently cut grass and clear snow- not to take up slack (or hide proxy funding) for our HHS functions.
    Moreover, it's really cynical and dishonest of the Gray administration to warn Lorenz not to blackmail them with negative press while, at the same time, delivering that warning to the same press via the city's attorneys. Really, who's blackmailing who here? And what sort of message is this sending to other (honest) DC contractors?
    Shame on Gray.

  • Terry Miller

    I say shame on the Washington Post editorial board. The editorial board tried to make a scandal for Gray without knowing all the facts. Now the Post is left with egg on its face. Papers are supposed to report the news not make it. If anybody is in the wrong here it is the Washington Post editorial board.

  • deborah

    I second what Terry Miller said.

  • SEis4ME

    Who's surprised that DREZ attacks the gray administration for responding to what we (and apparently Alan too) can only describe as some sort of blackmail. So, you agree to my contract and we'll talk sweet things to the post.

    But the problem as he see's it is with the Gray administration whom I assume should have just allowed one of its city contractors to make veiled threats.

  • Artful Dodger

    Remember who you're dealing with here...Lorenz is an idiot who cuts grass for a living, he's not a procurement or legal specialist. Yes, the Lorenz attorney should be fired (probably a proud UDC David A. Clarke School of Law's grad). But Lorenz just wants to get back to cutting the grass. And he was, at least initially, fighting for honesty and openness in the DC procurement system.

    DC has dug a nasty hole with Tommy Thomas and Vince Gray and their preferential treatment for political cronies. They should not be given a free pass because an idiot lawn mower can't stomach a long drawn out legal and political debate.

  • leeshato

    I want the company that cuts the grass here to hire the resident of the district .

  • http://letschange.org Respected Citizens

    We agree with leeshato.

  • Crook

    Great to see the Gray attack team back on the list serves.

  • Truth Hurts

    Yeah, it's ok for lobbyist lawyers and political campaign contributors to hold secretive meetings with Gray's office, to enlist Harry "f... the kids" Thomas to derail council approval of Lorenz's contract (ie, a cost-efficient, quality performed, competitively won contract)Gray otherwise was set to submit for reapproval and an extension.

    But shame, shame on Lorenzo for hiring a lawyer who could use a bit more experience. And shame on Lorenzo for going to the press (which forced Gray to release emails revealing the political shenanigans). Better that Lorenz keep quiet, DC's pols and their cronies keep doing their lobbyist/pay to play thing, and DC residents pay way over market price to steer contracts to losing bidders.

    Yeah, that's the ticket. One City.

  • Petworthian

    Don't know what the Grey Team was up to but Lorenz and his lawyer stepped way way way over the line. They have to go now, but someone should watch to make sure the new contract is fair - reasonable price.