A deliberative roundup of one city’s local politics. Send your tips, releases, stories, events, etc. to lips@washingtoncitypaper.com. And get LL Daily sent straight to your inbox every morning!


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  • Gray Aide and Nominee Has Car Controversy of His Own
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    Sinclair Skinner, The Washington Post’s Credibility Killa?: Sinclair Skinner, former Mayor Adrian Fenty‘s fraternity brother who an independent investigator found ripped off taxpayers and may have engaged in illegal pay-to-play practices with city contracts, was given space in one of the country’s premiere newspapers to call for Mayor Vince Gray to resign. The Post‘s decision to run Skinner’s diatribe against Gray (he also wants Council Chairman Kwame “Fully Loaded” Brown, and Councilmembers Harry Thomas Jr. and Jim Graham to consider resigning) probably caused plenty of guffaws, especially in parts of town where the paper of record is already viewed as out to get Gray. It’s a shame that the Post let Skinner get away with writing such a banal hit piece on Gray and love letter to Fenty when there’s so many unanswered allegations about Skinner’s fleecing of District taxpayers. The Post‘s own Mike DeBonis reported this weekend that the independent investigator, attorney Robert Trout, told councilmembers that Skinner’s engineering firm ripped off taxpayers by $540,000. That’s on top of Trout’s findings that Skinner stonewalled the investigation and may be part of a shady pay-to-play deal. But the Post let Skinner get away with writing this: “I won’t sugarcoat it — the Trout report calls for further investigation of my business. I am confident that this investigation will clear my name.” Maybe the Post and Skinner aren’t aware of what the term “sugarcoat” means.

    Not that Skinner is alone in the hypocrisy department. Look at Councilmember Thomas, who headed the special committee that commissioned the Trout report. Thomas has made repeated promises since October to release the financial details of his non-profit Team Thomas, like which business interests gave what, and how that money was spent while Thomas was a sitting councilmember. So far, he’s not lived up to those promises, even though he heads the council’s committee on economic development. (Meanwhile, The Examiner’s Jonetta Rose Barras wants House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa to expand his probe of Sulaimon Brown’s claims against Gray and investigate Team Thomas.)

    AFTER THE JUMP: An Orange Ward 8, Cherita Mystery, Money for Bobb…

    Orange Roll: Special election at-large candidate Vincent Orange had a good weekend. He won nearly 90 percent of the vote during this weekend’s Ward 8 straw poll and officially kicked off his campaign with a party. “When the votes were tallied, my name rose to the top and I want to thank the Ward 8 Democrats for putting their support behind my campaign. This is a clear indication that my message of, ‘Independent leadership that will stand with you.’ is resonating across the District of Columbia. We offer the experience, integrity and accountability to improve our City,” says Orange in a statement. The Georgetown Dish covered his campaign kick off party, which featured former Ward 8 Councilmember Sandy Allen. Meanwhile, in at-large news, the Post says the tone of the race “heralds a dramatic shift in political climate that has left Mayor Vincent C. Gray and D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown sidelined in a campaign that could affect the ideological balance of the 13-member council.” The story reports on At-Large Councilmember Sekou Biddle‘s attempts to assert his own independence. “‘I don’t have years of political deal-making under my belt,’ Biddle said at the Gertrude Stein Club forum last week. ‘And I don’t owe anyone anything.'” Judging from his poor performance at the Ward 8 straw poll (he got just six votes), that may be more true than Biddle realizes. Hey-oh!

    The Mystery of Cherita: The Times’ Jeffery Anderson continues his investigation into the case of Cherita Whiting, Councilmember Phil Mendelson‘s former assistant who is now working for the Department of Parks and Recreation. At issue is whether Whiting a) revealed a past felony conviction on her job application and b) whether H.R. is recommending she be fired. Anderson provides alternate accounts for both questions. On the first issue, the Gray administration says Whiting indicated on her job application that she had a criminal history, but Anderson says that’s at odds with what Whiting told him a month ago. On the second issue, the Examiner reports say that H.R. director Judy Banks testified at a hearing last week that Whiting’s placement at DPR was a mistake,  but then a spokeswoman for the H.R. department told the Times that “no employee was mentioned by name” at the hearing and wouldn’t comment further on what Banks said.

    Robert Bobb Needs Some Money?: D.C. Watch’s Dorothy Brizill says members of business community wants former City Administrator Robert Bobb to leave his gig in Detroit and be Gray’s next chief of staff, and they’re willing to find extra money for Bobb’s salary to make it happen. Brizill, and LL, wonder how that could be legally or ethically possible.

    Why Did Pope Get Booted?: Did Patrick Pope, the former principal of Hardy Middle School, try and weed out poor kids from his school? And is that why former Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee removed him? That’s the allegation made by Rhee biographer Richard Whitmire, which Greater Greater Washington’s Ken Archer gets an unnamed Fenty official to back up. Pope strongly denies the charge. Meanwhile, GGW crunches some numbers to help you make up your mind.

    In Other News: House investigation “threatens Gray’s ‘One City'” says Examiner. Gray’s had fewer problems to deal with than previous new mayors, but is still getting rocked by scandals, says the Times. Bike outreach across the river. Fox5 has footage of Sulaimon Brown about to walk into a building and talk with FBI agents on Friday. WaPo editorial board says cut UDC President Allen Sessoms some slack on his travel issues. New York finds that Michelle Rhee has a busy schedule.

    Gray sked: Potholeapalooza, at 12:30 p.m.

    Council sked: 10 a.m. Health committee.