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Mayor Muriel Bowser and Attorney General Karl Racine continued their spat over a nearly $20 million settlement with D.C. Public Schools’ food vendor, with Bowser saying dedicating settlement money to nonprofit groups sets a bad precedent for District settlements.
“We don’t want to go down a slippery slope where those moneys are distributed to private entities,” Bowser says. “That’s tantamount to earmarking funds.”
Five-million dollars of the roughly $19 million settlement with DCPS food vendor Chartwells for contract violations will go to five nonprofits, two of which previously had Racine on their boards.
Racine spokesman Robert Marus says the $5 million, described in the settlement agreement as part of Chartwells’ “continuing commitment to public education,” is in addition to the city’s own $14 million in damage compensation, not part of it. Marus says that DCPS, part of Bowser’s executive branch, approved of the settlement.
“This extra money is the icing on what was already a very good cake,” Marus says.
Bowser, who has previously been at odds with Racine over the legal effect of the budget autonomy referendum and Racine’s own powers as the District’s first elected attorney general, says her office is still looking into how Racine reached the settlement.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery