Loose Lips

Loose Lips Daily: A Lotto Bull Edition

A deliberative roundup of one city's local politics. Send your tips, releases, stories, events, etc. to lips@washingtoncitypaper.com. And get LL Daily sent straight to your inbox every morning!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Good morning sweet readers! Wouldn't it be nice if local pols released their tax returns? Prediction: all of them pay a higher effective tax rate than Mitt Romney. News time:

A Lotto Bull: The Office of the Inspector General has finally concluded its investigation into the highly politicized way the D.C. government decided which local businessman would make a killing as a partner in city's lottery. The main finding: nobody broke any laws, which is good news for Councilmember Michael Brown's push to legalize online gambling. But that doesn't mean the IG's report didn't fling some dirty on some of the city's big wigs, per the Post and TWT. CFO Nat Gandhi's office didn't follow "procurement regulations" when it inserted an online gambling provision after the contract was awarded (Gandhi's office says the IG's report is wrong). Former Attorney General Peter Nickles, who called for the IG investigation, appears to have meddled in whether one local company received preference points, which if Nickles had any shame, might have him regretting calling for the probe. But does he? Emmanual Bailey, the local businessman who came out on top when all was said and done, misrepresented his company's "business activities." Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans is holding a hearing on online gambling Thursday, where the IG will be discussing his report.

AFTER THE JUMP: Dirty Harry's Enablers; More Running for Ward 5; Kevin Chavous Gets 32 Hours of Community Service...

Dirty Harry's Enablers: The Post editorial board says the District needs to take a second to ask why two upstanding citizens, Marshall Banks and Jimmy Garvin, didn't have the backbone to stand up to disgraced former Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.'s stealing ways. "Before the District can “move on,” as its elected officials are wont to proclaim, from the Thomas affair, it needs to confront its own complicity in looking the other way." Related: D.C. Auditor says more Thomas-like stealing still possible.

In Other News:

  • 17 people have taken the first step toward running for the empty Ward 5 seat. Is it too early for a candidate forum? No, says ANC commish Tim Clark, who has organized one tonight.
  • Ward 7 council candidate Kevin Chavous takes a deferred prosecution deal on soliciting prostitution deal, will serve 32 hours of community service.
  • Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson is on board with Council Chairman Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown's plan to lure top teachers to struggling schools with cold hard cash.
  • Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh says the city's bean counters didn't budget enough money for her healthy food initiative.
  • Republican at-large candidate Mary Brooks Beatty says she represents "honest-to-goodness" change compared to Councilmember Michael Brown.
  • Mayor Vince Gray channeling his inner Tony Williams for his city summit, even hiring the same pricey “deliberative democracy” specialist. Says high cost isn't a huge concern, because this is a friggin' democracy.
  • DCPS doesn't need another $25 million, says Harry Jaffe.
  • 53 youths involved in murders were on risk list.

Gray sked: 2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.: Media Interview: Washingtonian Magazine’s Carol Joynt

Council sked: Revised budget at 10 a.m., prostitution-free zones at 11 a.m.

  • George52

    Re: the DC Auditor's report

    There's an old saying: "The dog barked AFTER the thief left the house." That's the definition of a useless dog.

    Most of the auditor's suggestions are old hat - better monitoring, etc. Nothing new there.

    What about making public funds awarded to the Trust subject to Freedom of Information Act requests - not just Council oversight? More openness and transparency. These shenanigans are going on, and will continue to go on, because public funds are hidden behind a veil of secrecy once they're transferred to the Trust, which does not consider itself a public agency even though it performs a public function with public money.

    Let's get real, DC.

  • PissAsHe77

    Good ole boy dc network in full effect! Slap on the wrist for Kevin Chavous! He needs to drop out because Ward 7 have better sense not to vote for him or Yvette Pig Feet Alexander!

  • Truth hurts

    I'd fire an investigator - even a CIA investigator - who turned in a "report of investigation" as bad/devoid of details/late as the IG's lotto report.

    Notice that several current and past FM's refused to talk, citing the same "legislative privilege" rejected in federal level court

  • Truth hurts

    Should be CM and CJA

  • tony

    So the Washington City Paper is reporting that 17 people are running for the Ward 5 seat. I will make this bold prediction right now...A republican will win the ward 5 seat. This strong possibility is the reason why I was trying to warn black folks about creating a political vacuum. Man, check this out. Ward 5 is the 3rd largest black ward in the city behind ward 7 and 8. However, Ward 5 has a greater white population than both of those wards. Moreover, ward 5 has seen a greater influx of new residents who tend to be against the “old black guard”. Thus, under the right political environment, these forces could determine the outcome of a ward 5 election. The Ward 5 special election will consist of a crowded field of black democrats none of whom will be able to separate themselves from the pack. Moreover, the turnout will be considerably low, thus, the number of votes to win could be less than 1,500. The Ward 5 white residents and new residents will tailored their vote to one candidate-Republican-and the black voters will split their vote amongst the various black candidates. This is the same way David Catania won. This the same way Patrick Mara almost beat Vincent Orange. Black people must understand that under no circumstances do you every create a political vacuum. Yes, Harry Thomas made allot of mistakes, but I guarantee you, that if a republican win, you Negroes will come to realize that a crooked Harry Thomas is much better than an evil republican any day. Black folks in Ward 5 are in major trouble!!!!! And you have no one to blame but yourselves. And to the ward 5 black residents who were so interested in good and clean government, Harry Thomas is done. But Jim Graham, David Catania, and Jack Evans are still in business. Their white voters did not and will not remove them. They are too smart for that. What they will do is stoke the legitimate dissatisfaction you have with black politicians so as to create the political turmoil which now exist in the 3rd largest black ward in the city... Again, you have been had and suckered! See you on election night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • SEis4ME

    Well TH, you got the report you've been waiting for, been railing about, salivating, and of course, indicted the current mayor over.

    Now it's here.

    Let me guess, you're not satisfied w/the findings?

  • Keith B.

    "Black folks in Ward 5 are in major trouble!!!!! And you have no one to blame but yourselves"

    Certainly HTJ shares no blame for this. Classic tony! Tell you what, if your prediction comes true and a white republican wins the Ward 5 race, I will buy you a "stop snitchin" shirt!

  • truth hurts

    Which "finding"? That "VSC did not satisfy the requirements to be certified as a local business enterprise under District law." p. 11.

    Or that "VSC did not appear to be a fully functioning business." p. 12.

    Or that "OCFO and Intralot representatives met with council-members (Gray, et al) in an effort to persuade them to approve the lottery contract." p. 13.

    Or that "due to feedback from the Council (Gray et al) that Intralot would need to secure a local partner (VSC) if it wanted Council's approval." p. 13.

  • HogWash

    Which findings? Whichever ones that prove your long-standing belief that Vincent Gray was guilty of something nefarious.

    You've had a hard on about this as stiff as those who were "waiting" for the dime to drop on Sinclair Skinner and Firetruckgate.

    It's here now and the gloom and doom scenario you seem to wanted to paint..is more...Grey

  • truth hurts

    Are you referring to the part where Gray, Graham, Evans refused to meet with the IG or its investigators, and to answer any questions regarding their actions?

  • truth hurts

    Or "the relevant authorities ... indicate that the B-ON system's addition to the contract after Council approval ... changed the contract requirements in a material fashion" and a competitively rebid "contract should have been submitted to the Council for review and consideration." p. 17.

    Or "The Council should consider legislation .... rather than nullifying the results of the competitive bid process" p. 18

    In short, Gray, et al, "nullified the results of the competitive bid process" for political reasons, costing the taxpayers many millions of dollars. That's wrong. Period.

  • LastStop

    The Lotto fiasco has turned out to be typical political shinanigance but obviously nothing that the U.S. Attorney finds any interest in. I am not a fan of Vincent Gray, was not a fan of Adrian Fenty but find the fanaticism surrounding the latter to border on the absurd. Fenty, too, took inappropriate liberties with local tax dollars when he shifted 4 million over to the D.C. Housing Authority to be doled out in contracts to what turned out to be friends and cronies. Was it illegal to do such? According to former Attorney General Peter Nichols, yes. But in that case too, the U.S. Attorney did not see any value in pursuing any legal malfeasance.

    I do wish that Tony Williams would consider running for Mayor again. But, as I have heard, the cash register is deeper in the private sector for him.

  • Drez

    Yeah, TH.
    Not much of an investigation there.
    Should have been done by an entity with teeth.

  • Drez

    @Laststop
    Williams also sidestepped the contract and procurement process by funding projects through DCHA. Difference is he built less, and more (as a whole) was stolen on his watch.
    Not that I blame him for that too much. There were more crooks in government back then.

  • SEis4ME

    TH/DREZ, I really hope you really how utterly ridiculous you sound.

    I distinctly remember both of you concluding that "nothing" would come of the investigations of Fenty dealings. When "nothing" came out, neither of you took the position that the investigation was shoddy. Not one time.

    So it's no surprise that now, since Gray isn't on his way to jail or being reprimanded or censured or...then something must have been wrong with the investigation.

    Really, just stop. You made utter fools of yourself (esp TH) for well over a year and now you just can't help yourself. It's like you have a nervous tick about anything that doesn't cast Gray..down..

  • truth hurts

    Anybody here actually read the so-called "report of investigation"? I did. It is indeed "shoddy", at the very least. Read it and see for yourselves.

    Neither Gray, Graham, nor Evans would even talk to the IG's investigators. CM Michael Brown, to his credit, at least cooperated with the half-assed probe.

    "On January 24, 2008, OCFO determined that W2I had the best offer (score of 3,297 compared to LTE's score of 2,612) and selected it to be awarded the lottery contract."

    "The then Mayor submitted the proposed W2I lottery contract to the Council for approval a total of five times....The OIG was informed that the second, third, and fourth contract submissions each were ... withdrawn as the 45-day approval period neared expiration ... because of the Council's failure to act on it." p. 6.

    So, W2I objectively won DC's competitive bidding process. But Gray wouldn't schedule a hearing or a Council vote on it. That's what the IG's talking about when it states the Council "nullified the results of the competitive bid process." In short, politically motivated contract steering that unnecessarily cost the city many millions of tax money. Utterly ridiculous (to borrow cyber-stalker's phrase).

  • Drez

    No subpoenas = no investigation.
    What I'm shocked about is how the usual "rules for them and rules for us" crowd isn't up in arms, seeing as how Evans and Graham are involved.

  • Drez

    Go figure, huh?

  • Kevin

    Not surprisingly it looks like a lot of people come out looking bad in lottery award process - Nickles for interfering with the contract, Gandhi for retroactively altering the contract, the Fenty administration for not certifying a local contractor on the bid they opposed, Gray for refusing to vote on the bid he opposed, Michael Brown for pushing for Internet gambling despite the obvious conflict-of-interest appearances. Still, none of this comes close to the level of the HTJ embezzlement nor even the inflated contracts steered toward Banneker Ventures. More on level with the taxi legislation manuvering (except without the law-breaking).

  • Drez

    It's a contract worth over a hundred million, 51% of which is to a local stakeholder that, as best anyone has established, operates off a single computer set up in his mom's living room.
    What could be wrong?

  • Drez

    Go Catania!

  • truth hurts

    Of all the CM's involved, Graham appears to have been the worst based on the emails described in today's WaPo editorial. I said for years he's not to be trusted and needs to go.

    Gray, as council chair, also looks very bad. He had the power, and the duty, to schedule a hearing and vote on the competitively won bid submitted to the Council.

    And Michael Brown's continued insistence that internet gambling go forward without competitive bidding is, at best, troubling .... makes one question his real motivation. Especially in light of his law firm's representation of gambling interests.

...