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“Your office will be well-counseled to bring [the contracts] back to us as expeditiously as possible….This is not a water-under-the-dam moment.”
—At-Large Councilmember David A. Catania, Oct. 30
The first Fenty administration scandal worthy of the name emerged in October, when the council discovered that some $80 million in parks money had been sent to a subsidiary of the D.C. Housing Authority. In turn, that agency handed a contract to manage nearly a dozen parks projects to Banneker Ventures, a thinly experienced firm run by close Fenty ally Omar Karim. That outfit, in turn, handed construction and engineering contracts to other firms, some with close ties to Hizzoner. All this was done in a way as to evade the council’s legally mandated meddling. The resulting outrage was expected, but even staunch Fenty allies Catania and Jack Evans spoke up decrying the end-around. Fenty learned a lesson: The one power the council has is to follow the money. Mess with it at your own risk.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery