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Note to District government employees who feel like they might one day have to sue the city: record conversations with your bosses!
That’s the takeaway from the below affidavit of Eric Payne, the former contracting officer for the District who has filed a lawsuit allegeing he was wrongfully demoted then fired for refusing to play politics when awarding the city’s lucrative lottery contract. (For a recap of the sad tale of the lottery contract, see here, and here.)
After being told that he was being demoted, Payne recorded a conversation with his bosses. Angell Jacobs, director of operations for the chief financial officer, makes it clear to Payne that he hasn’t done anything wrong and that some of the city’s elected officials are on a mission to destroy the local partner that originally teamed up with the Greek gaming company that won the bid for the lotto contract.
Money quote from Jacobs: “Do we have any concern about the process we used? No. Do we have any concern at all about what you’ve did? Or the things that your office has done? Or any of the [OCFO] participants? Absolutely not. And that why I said to you, [Ward 1 Councilmember] Jim Graham is on a personal vendetta here and, you know, he thinks the way to get what he wants is to find a way to discredit the people that were involved in the process. And he doesn’t care who that involves. Umm, because for [then-Council Chairman Vince] Gray and Graham, this is all personal. This is about their friends, or who is not their friends for Graham …”
NB: Because Payne’s case is pending, Gray and Graham can’t give much in the way of a defense.
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