The well-connected developers behind Muriel Bowser-affiliated political action committee FreshPAC got some regulatory help this year from Bowser’s chief of staff days after launching the PAC, according to emails obtained by LL through the Freedom of Information Act.
FreshPAC treasurer Ben Soto decided to use some of his clout with the administration on behalf of himself and the PAC’s chairman, Earl “Chico” Horton III. Soto and Horton were partners in an apartment building project at 4th and L streets NW, but they had a problem: D.C. Water was still reviewing their building permit. Without D.C. Water’s approval, inspectors from District government agencies threatened to shut down the project.
That problem inspired Soto to email John Falcicchio, Bowser’s chief of staff, in April.
“Can you put me in contact with someone who can push this through right away?” Soto wrote.
Falcicchio obliged, emailing a D.C. Water official on April 21 to ask who Soto should talk to at the utility.
“Not sure what can be done, but it seems like the bouncing ball is in D.C. Water’s court,” Falcicchio wrote.
Bowser spokesman Michael Czin describes Soto’s request to Falcicchio as just one of many “unsolicited emails from residents and businesses” that are sent to Bowser administration officials.
Soto, meanwhile, says that Falcicchio’s help didn’t get the permit approved any faster. Still, like Horton’s lobbying on the Pepco-Exelon merger, the emails show the closeness between Bowser administration officials, the organizers of the now-closed PAC, and business interests.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery