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The final D.C. Council-run Emancipation Day came and went two weeks ago, but diehard booster Vincent Orange isn’t done yet. In a Council hearing on the local holiday this afternoon, Orange and chief of staff James Brown laid out their theory that Orange and other Emancipation Day organizers couldn’t have anticipated the $116,000 in unexpected overtime costs that cost them control over future celebrations.
Two other city officials Orange wanted to question where nowhere to be found. Despite a request from Orange, Vince Gray chief of staff Chris Murphy and outspoken mayoral flack Pedro Ribeiro didn’t show. Of course, Murphy and Ribeiro weren’t exactly invited to talk about the parade balloons. Instead, Orange appears to have been looking to use the hearing to settle the fight over the overtime costs.
In an email yesterday to Murphy, the at-large councilmember wrote that Murphy and Ribeiro would be asked to “testify and substantiate the comments attributed to you” in a Washington Post article.
Despite providing LL with the email exchange, Orange didn’t respond for requests for comment about it, but LL’s guessing that Ribeiro’s claim in the Post that the Council’s management caused “too many issues” would have made his question list. In an email to Orange, Murphy declined to offer an executive branch witness.
“We were invited and we declined,” Ribeiro tells LL. “We neither appropriated nor managed any of the expenses for this event, so we think it’d be inappropriate for us to testify on it.”
Without Gray administration officials to question, Orange was left to complain about the leaking of an earlier email exchange, in which Brown mentioned to Murphy that the payment dispute between them would be addressed at the hearing. If Orange had known people were leaking, he said, he would have done some leaking of his own.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery