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The D.C. Council had a very important hearing Friday afternoon to discuss the District’s $550,000 settlement with Banneker Ventures—and, specifically, to berate Attorney General Peter Nickles for agreeing to the deal without so much as a glance in the council’s direction. The only problem? Nickles wasn’t there; he was away on a previously scheduled vacation in Maine.

Still, the councilmembers had a cathartic couple of hours, in which they expressed how “deeply disappointed” and “extremely concerned” they were about the settlement payout to a company that’s owned by a frat brother and friend of Mayor Adrian Fenty and is currently under council investigation. “I’m not appalled at anything Peter Nickles does anymore, he’s so outrageous in his conduct,” said Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry. (Which reminded Loose Lips of a certain word… What is it? Ah, yes: irony!)

But while the council ranted, the 71-year-old Nickles was enjoying a dip in the Atlantic.

Reached by LL on his cell, Nickles said the water was “a little cold, it’s about 60 degrees.”

For his part, Nickles faulted the council for trying to score political points when they knew he was on vacation, by bashing a settlement that he says is totally legit and a great deal for the citizens of the District of Columbia. LL isn’t sure yet about the total legit-ness of the settlement, or whether it’s a great deal for D.C. citizens, but Nickles does seem to be onto something with his critique of the timing—leave it to the D.C. Council to schedule a hearing designed to provide political theater and a venue for outrage when everyone involved knows the subject of the outrage won’t be there!

Then again, Nickles could have tried to play along, and sent one of the “experts” he said helped him negotiate the settlement. But he said he wasn’t going to subject any of his staff to the council’s “ridiculous harassment” in his absence.

“If they want to hear from the horse’s mouth, they can wait until Monday,” he said.

And as to Barry’s criticism, Nickles said: “He doesn’t know anything, he’s a has-been.”

Ouch.