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Worried about $400,000 of District money disappearing into the pockets of the Peaceoholics, a non-profit with close ties to Mayor Adrian Fenty? Don’t be. The Washington Post reports everything is fine. Though Washington City Paper earlier reported that two city officials told that the Fenty administration wanted to quietly pass money to the organization, and The Washington Examiner followed up this morning, the Post has come along to declare there’s nothing to see here:
In recent days, both the City Paper and Washington Examiner have published stories stating that Peaceoholics is short of cash and that Fenty is working to secure a $400,000 contract for the gang-prevention organization. The Examiner reported Tuesday morning that the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services would be handing over a check “within a week” to compensate Peaceoholics for work the group performed last fall after the council canceled its contracts.
But in an interview with the Washington Post Tuesday, D.C. Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) said he’s received assurances from Robert Hildum, the interim director of DYRS, that the story is not true.
“I have been assured by Rob Hildum that no check would be written for past work,’ said Wells, chairman of the Human Services Committee. ‘It is my understanding that anything that goes out will be competitively bid.”
Except… not so fast, Post-ies. Wells says you missed some nuance. “I called Hildum, and he said that he would not authorize cutting a check,” Wells tells City Paper. “That does not mean he wasn’t asked.”
What appears to have happened is a classic case of sunlight acting as the best disinfectant. Once City Paper and the Examiner reported on the attempts to funnel money to Peaceoholics, the money suddenly dried up. “Essentially, your story stopped them for now,” says one city official, who had initially tipped City Paper off to the attempts to get money to the group (and therefore, wanted anonymity).
If, in fact, there was no truth to City Paper‘s original story, why didn’t Fenty’s office say so last week? Instead, after being prodded with several questions about the money, Fenty spokeswoman Mafara Hobson e-mailed over a statement saying, “The organization has provided work for both the Trust and DYRS, which would result in payment from both agencies.” Which is, essentially, what the Examiner reported this morning as well. And, for that matter, exactly what the Post reported today wasn’t happening.