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When Martin Moulton managed to catch Mayor Adrian Fenty after a press conference Friday evening, he turned his recorder on and started to question Hizzonner about controversies surrounding anti-gang group Peaceoholics. Moulton—the president of the Convention Center Community Association—has questioned the mayor about Peaceaholics before: The group has been able to garner millions in city funds with virtually no public oversight.
As Moulton levels his microphone at Fenty, the mayor seems to get both candid and prickly. The recording, which Moulton provided to Washington City Paper, is below.
“What is the purpose of that criticism?” Fenty retorts when Moulton asks why there’s been so little transparency regarding Peaceoholics funding and work.
Fenty tells Moulton he doesn’t need to see numbers regarding the Peaceoholics and their operation: “I’ve met the kids, I mean, I don’t need any statistics.”
Moulton: “How much money do they get? Do you know?”
Fenty: “It’s de minimis, I mean it’s so small, I can’t even believe a well-meaning person would even come close to criticizing. I bet it’s not more than $3 million, and they’ve probably done $10 million of work.”
But Moulton keeps making his point, which is that if the group is doing such great work, why not let everyone know by providing proof?
“Instead of criticizing and trying to turn me against them, why don’t you help them?” Fenty asks.
Fenty does admit the Peaceoholics could do a better job of “stating” what they’ve done. “Everybody could do a better job. I could do a better job,” says Fenty.
Reflecting on the interaction later, Moulton couldn’t help wondering how Fenty could flippantly refer to all the cash he’s directed toward the group as “de minimis.” After all, $3 million is nothing to sneeze at. “I don’t handle a budget of billions of dollars,” says Moulton. “Maybe if I did, $3 million wouldn’t seem like a lot.”