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In case you missed it, this week the council decided to delay a vote on the appointment of Lloyd Jordan to the Board of Zoning Adjustment. Jordan is a strong ally of Mayor Vince Gray and was a lawyer for the Gray campaign last year.
The council voted to delay Jordan’s appointment because a number of residents voiced concern that a) the nomination was going too fast, and b) Jordan isn’t qualified for the job.
Those concerns do little to interest LL. What does interest LL is that Jordan, who used to head the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, was once the topic of a 1999 Loose Lips column that reports on—wait for it—a controversy involving Jordan’s use of a taxpayer-funded car.
Jordan gained local fame in St. Louis for making an issue of his work hours. When a city alderman hammered him for slinking around town in a city-provided Mercury Grand Marquis, Jordan snapped, “[H]e ought to know that I work around the clock. I’ve been averaging 14- to 16-hour days and put on about 400 miles a week,” according to a 1993 article from the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
At least the director’s tastes are consistent: Last year, he authorized the purchase of three Grand Marquis at D.C. taxpayers’ expense—one for himself, one for a subordinate, and one for Barnett. “We had him set up for a Taurus or some sort of sedan,” says a DCRA official. According to local dealers, the Ford Taurus starts at $16,000, but the Mercury starts at $22,000.
The 1999 LL (TBD editor Erik Wemple held the crown at that time) also reported that Jordan’s DCRA had a fleet of sedans that weren’t being used.
One of the places Jordan could start flexing his muscles is in dealing with DCRA’s fleet of underutilized cars, which are housed in a parking garage near Union Station. Last year, the agency procured about 80 brand-new cars to shuttle its street-level officials around the city. But according to several department sources, only 20 to 25 of the vehicles hit the road each day.
That estimate appeared accurate to LL, who stopped by the garage this week. Rows of late-model sedans sit mothballed in a cavernous expanse at the junction of 1st and H Streets NE, their hoods caked with dust. With a power hose, a few sheets of cheesecloth, and a few flashy banners, DCRA management could turn the garage into a downtown showroom for Herb Gordon’s Auto World. Luckily for DCRA management, though, the fallow assets are hidden from public view by a stone wall and a roll-up garage door that opens only a few times each day.
Oh well, at least they weren’t SUVs. And one last gem from Wemple’s reporting is that Jordan spent $20,000 decorating his new office. “‘He picked the top of the line,’ says a DCRA source.”
For more background on Jordan, via a 1998 posting by D.C. Watch’s Dorothy Brizill, see here. LL is trying to contact Jordan and will update as needed.