It’s bad enough that Anthony A. Williams—the management-uber-alles hero of the fall mayoral campaign—has spent five months running a sputtering administration. But now it seems that while candidate Williams was profiling as the crony-buster of the post-Barry era, citizen Williams was simultaneously making gobs of money “consulting” for folks like Arthur Andersen & Co.—whose government contracts he now OKs as mayor.
Those contracts seem even sleazier when you consider that Williams was out campaigning 18 or so hours a day during most of his employment—meaning he didn’t have much time to actually, you know, earn much of the $42,000 he pulled in between July and December. In the case of NationsBank, the only work he apparently did for his $12,000 was show up at a lunch.
Of course, getting a 12-grand payoff for lunching with a bunch of suits may be pretty disgraceful for a mayoral candidate, but it’s small potatoes on the mainstream rubber chicken circuit—out there where speakers get invited for their wisdom and charisma rather than their potential to coddle contractors. Calls to a handful of speakers bureaus turned up another reason for D.C. residents to doubt the man who called himself a number-cruncher: It turns out that in the grand scheme of things, Mr. Bow Tie could have gotten a better deal. Twelve thousand dollars “would be pretty much thoroughly middle of the range,” says Alice Sarti of Greater Talent Network Inc., a bureau that books everyone from Ed McMahon to Jimmy Carter. “For political speakers, that would actually be on the low end.”
Most speakers bureaus will only give a client’s general price range—not including first-class airfare and accommodations. But here’s how Williams’ lunch tab stacks up against the minimum fees associated with some other luminaries: —Michael Schaffer