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The Ward 8 council race has its official first dust-up, and it doesn’t even include Councilmember Marion Barry.

Jacque Patterson, former head of the Ward 8 Democrats and almost at-large council candidate, tells LL he’s going to make a run at Barry’s seat: “I’ve got my wife’s approval, I’m gonna run.”

An official kickoff is scheduled for later this month. Patterson says he informed Barry, who is expected to seek re-election, of his plans last week. Patterson stressed that he doesn’t plan on attacking the Grand Poobah of District politics in any way shape or form.

“You don’t run against Barry,” says Patterson. “You speak to what is really hurting and happening in the ward.”

But that doesn’t mean Patterson himself won’t be on the receiving end of some political fisticuffs. ANC Commissioner Darrell Gaston, who is also seeking to dethrone Barry, has scheduled a news conference tomorrow where he says he will present evidence that Patterson is a no good signature forger.

A few months ago Patterson sought Gaston’s support for a new charter school, D.C. Scholars, in Ward 8. Gaston says that when that support wasn’t forthcoming, Patterson forged Gaston’s signature on a letter in support of the school’s application.

Patterson cops to signing Gaston’s name, but says it was at Gaston’s request. Patterson says he called Gaston on the day the letter was due, and “he said, ‘just go ahead and sign it.’ So I signed it, my mistake.”

Gaston retorts:  “Never, never, never one thousand percent, did I give him permission to forge my signature … that’s just the weakest excuse.”

Gaston says he filed a police report on the forged matter. Patterson says he met with an MPD officer who told him that nothing was going to come of the whole mess.

But that’s not all. Patterson alleges that Team Gaston tried to scare him out of the race with an email last month threatening to expose the forged-signature brouhaha. “Run if you Dare!” the email says. “Trust me, is this worth it to your family, your children, to disgrace them for committing a crime. Is it worth going to jail over. in case you play dumb, i have called an hand writer expert. … We can make this go away.”

Gaston says he’s never heard of the email and says he’s going public with the forged signature because Patterson is a board member of the DC Housing Finance Agency and ought to know better. Gaston says the fact that Patterson is running for council has nothing to do with tomorrow’s presser.

“He’s a non-relevant factor,” says Gaston.

Phew boy. Not that Barry probably needs to worry about his re-election chances, but he probably doesn’t mind seeing his challengers beat up on each other.

The letter with Gaston/Patterson’s signature is below. And here’s the email that was sent to Patterson:

Jacque,

Running for Ward 8 City Council is a big step, today we found out that you may be considering a run for city council. Run if you Dare! Remember when you forge Darrell Gaston signature for DC Scholars, running will have me expose the truth. Ppl in Ward 8 dont like you nor do they trust you. They know you are sneaky and not trustworthy. I may not like Darrell but the next CM needs to be ethically correct, and you are not ethically correct.

If case you dont remember, we will FIOA Darrell Gaston cell phone records to show that you owed up to forging the signature and telling him he should not sue DC Scholars but rather be mad and sue you. Trust me, is this worth it to your family, your children, to disgrace them for committing a crime. Is it worth going to jail over. in case you play dumb, i have called an hand writer expert.

As a resdient of Oxon Creek Townhomes you did nothing when you were anc, you got greed from the the arc town construction.

Do you want your co workers, your friends, your supporters know that you forge ppl signatures. Really! We can make this go away.

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