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Most District politicians wait until they’re in office to be accused of stealing city money. But not Christian Carter, the 30-year-old city contractor who announced his run for mayor last week. Carter’s campaign kick-off Saturday had some unlikely crashers: District officials.

The payment dispute centers on the 2014 Children’s Budget Report, which Carter’s New Columbia Enterprises produced. Carter subcontracted some of the work to Susie Cambria, a budget and policy analyst, but Cambria says that she’s been chasing Carter for money he owes her since March.

Cambria claims that Carter owes her around $23,000 in payments from money he’s already received from the city, along with about $40,000 in money the city hasn’t paid Carter. On Saturday, officials from the office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services came to Carter’s event at Hill Center on Capitol Hill to get his signature on an affidavit that would allow them to bypass him on the $40,000 payment to Cambria.

That still leaves the $23,000 Cambria says she is owed. At Carter’s party, Cambria worried about how he paid  for the balloons and fruit spread. “This money to pay for this shit needed to come from somewhere,” she says.

Carter claims that the money the city owes him for producing the budget—-around $100,000, he claims—-is being held up as punishment from Mayor Vince Gray because, as Carter nebulously puts it, he stood up to cronyism.

“I want this woman to get paid,” Carter says. “I don’t want her to have to suffer along with me.”

But emails obtained by LL suggest that Gray administration is eager to pay Carter. Chris Murphy, Gray’s chief of staff, wrote to Carter on June 20 asking for a list of what money the city owes him. “I just want us to move as quickly as possible to work together to make this all right,” Murphy wrote.

Murphy followed up with emails on June 24 and June 26, copying former city administrator Neil Albert for help contacting Carter. Finally, Murphy emailed Carter on July 8, suggesting that Carter had been “not truthful” with him.

The accusations aren’t slowing down Carter, who says he’s working on building his campaign team. “The more you say to me is the more your can of worms will be opened up for yourself,” he says of Cambria and the city officials. “Because I’m the one that’s innocent here.”

Murphy’s emails to Carter:

From: Murphy, Christopher (EOM) Sent: Thursday, June 20, 2013 6:29 PM To: ‘ccarter@newcolumbiainc.com’ Cc: Neil.Albert@hklaw.com; Bunn, Sheila (EOM) Subject: Checking In

Chris – Any progress on sending me your full list of accounting – what you believe the District owes you and what you owe subs?

I just want us to move as quickly as possible to work together to make this all right.

Thanks, Chris

From: Murphy, Christopher (EOM) Sent: Monday, June 24, 2013 7:34 PM To: ccarter@newcolumbiainc.com Cc: Neil.Albert@hklaw.com; Bunn, Sheila (EOM) Subject: RE: Checking In

Chris – Just following up. Any word?

From: Murphy, Christopher (EOM) Sent: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 3:31 PM To: ‘ccarter@newcolumbiainc.com’ Cc: Neil.Albert@hklaw.com; Bunn, Sheila (EOM) Subject: RE: Checking In

Neil – Any way for you to reach out to Chris on this to keep us moving forward.  We are trying hard to address his concerns but his non-responsiveness makes that impossible.

Chris

From: Murphy, Christopher (EOM) [mailto:christopher.murphy@dc.gov] Sent: Monday, July 08, 2013 1:28 PM To: ‘ccarter@newcolumbiainc.com’ Cc: Albert, Neil O (WAS – X75144); Bunn, Sheila (EOM) Subject: RE: Checking In

Checking in again.

Chris – I asked someone to stop by the address of what you had confirmed to us all was your current office and they were informed you have been evicted for non-payment. I am increasingly concerned that some, if not much, of the story you shared with me, Neil, and Sheila was not truthful.

I remain willing to help you get paid whatever you may be owed. But you are certainly not helping us resolve any of this with your lack of responsiveness.

Please be in touch asap.

Thanks, Chris

Photo by Will Sommer