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One more reminder of the District government’s unwillingness to get rid of anybody arose recently when we came across the name of Merrick T. Malone, Acting Assistant City Administrator for Economic Development. Malone came under fire last month for approving a $575,000 city loan to a long-distance company that owed $100,000 in back taxes and court judgments. But for those who don’t remember, Malone held the same job under Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly. In February 1994, the Office of Special Counsel filed a complaint against him with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board for allegedly asking city contractors to contribute to Kelly’s re-election campaign as a condition of doing business. Despite the pending complaint, Mayor Marion Barry retained Malone as the city’s point man on the downtown arena project. The merit board finally held a hearing on the charges against Malone in August, but there’s no sign of a decision. Activist Dorothy Brizill, who filed the complaint, is peeved by Malone’s municipal nine lives: “The alleged violation occurred in January 1993….He still quite possibly could be sticking up these vendors. Tell me, where’s the justice?”
D.C. Councilmember Harold Brazil has been trying for months to kill off Melvin Doxie’s nomination as executive director of the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance (OCF) because of Doxie’s close ties to Mayor Marion Barry—but apparently it took some help from the Barry camp to finish the job. Doxie has been named twice to the position—first by the mayor and later by the Board of Elections—but his nomination died last week after Brazil’s Committee on Government Operations voted not to approve him as OCF director. Barry administration sources say David Wilmot, a longtime Barry confidant, and A. Scott Bolden, a former campaign attorney for Sharon Pratt Kelly and now Barry fund-raiser extraordinaire, were upset with Doxie’s investigation of Barry’s mayoral campaign violations. The same sources suspect Wilmot and Bolden muscled councilmembers Harry Thomas and Eydie Whittington into voting against Doxie. (Wilmot denies influencing the council vote.) Doxie was slated to become OCF’s permanent director sometime last April, but instead he’s looking for a job—although not inside the District government. He manages a chuckle when asked about the reversal of fortune. “I don’t know that I’m welcomed anywhere in this government.”
NO FREE LUNCH
Under pressure from neighbors, Dupont Circle standby Trio has stopped serving breakfast and lunch on weekdays. Located at 17th and Q on an eating strip dominated by restaurants named for trendy vegetables, Trio is a bastion of red vinyl booths, $3 hamburgers, and real milkshakes in the metal can. But for the last several years, Trio owner George Mallios—whose family has run Trio since 1950—has been embroiled in a dispute with neighborhood residents who have complained to city boards that Trio’s noisy patio customers clog traffic, hog parking spaces, and litter the area with trash. Suggesting that the neighbors are shrill newcomers who want to destroy business on 17th Street, Mallios says he’s been forced to close Trio and its twin bar next door, Fox and Hounds, at midnight. As a result, Mallios says he checked the hour-by-hour take at his till and realized he’d been providing the neighborhood subsidized lunch service. “If we’re not allowed to stay open at night when we make money, I can’t stay open,” says Mallios. Trio loyalists have flooded Mallios with supportive letters, including one Adele Batancourt Jabin, who writes, “First Woodie’s and now this!”