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The proposed lottery contract between the District and the W2I partnership might be all but dead, but the drama continues.
A Washington Post story that appeared on May 14, the day after the council voted to table the contract, aired allegations from nightclub mogul Marc Barnes that W2I partner Warren C. Williams Jr. had threatened him the week prior at his downtown establishment Park at 14th. The incident, Barnes said, arose from his support for a member of the partnership who holds the current contract, “very close family friend” Leonard Manning.
But things didn’t end in da club, Barnes says.
The day that story appeared, Barnes posted a letter [PDF] to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier alleging that a Williams associate had approached Barnes outside the D.C. Council chambers after the vote to re-table the contract. The associate, according to the letter, told Barnes “that he had stopped ‘some people’ from coming to my house 3 or 4 times, and that they were not black, maybe insinuating that they were affiliated with Intralot Inc., the non-black partners in the proposed contract. He further stated that ‘these aren’t the kind of people you want to mess with.'”
Barnes, in an interview, says he sent the letter to send a message: “If there’s going to be a problem,” he says, “let the law handle it.”
As far as the reaction to the letter, Barnes says he’s satisfied; he received a call from Interim Attorney General Peter Nickles, who promised to investigate the charges.
Nickles tells LL, “I’m looking into it.”
Julie Chase, a spokesperson for W2I, calls the letter, which was forwarded to all 13 members of the council and several reporters—-but not LL—-“pure slander.”
“That couldn’t be farther from the truth,” she says. “That’s not how our leadership behaves.” Williams’ lawyer, A. Scott Bolden, did not return calls for comment.
Text of the letter is after the jump.
Mayor Adrian Fenty
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N W, Suite 310
Washington, DC 20004
Chief Cathy Lanier
Metropolitan Police Department
300 Indiana Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Mayor Fenty and Chief Lanier:
I am writing with regard to some recent incidents which took place relating to a contract under consideration for management of the DC Lottery. In April, after meeting with Leonard Manning, President of LTE and the incumbent lottery contractor, I spoke with several council members whom I knew, in order to make a case for LTE’s position in the bidding process. As very close family friend, I felt obligated to help Leonard with the predicament he was facing. Last week, Warren Williams Jr., the apparent front man for W2I, the company which offered the competitive bid for management of the DC Lottery, came into my restaurant, The Park at 14th. He questioned my association with LTE, implying some ulterior motive, and repeatedly asked why I was going against him. Then with great animosity, Warren told me that he stopped “some people” from coming to my house. This was clearly taken as a threat. Yesterday, in a second hearing on the lottery contract, the motion was tabled, denying the contract to W2I. When I stepped out of the council chamber, I was approached by Cornell West, who sat with Alaka Williams (principal of W2I and wife of Warren Williams) and Thomas Little (President and CEO of Intralot Inc.) throughout the council session and presumably has some interest in having the contract awarded to W2I. Once the session had adjourned, Cornell West approached me and said, in striking similarity to what I had been told by Warren Williams just a week ago, that he had stopped “some people” from coming to my house 3 or 4 times, and that they were not black, maybe insinuating that they were affiliated with Intralot Inc., the non-black partners in the proposed contract. He further stated that “these aren’t the kind of people you want to mess with.” Again, this was a threat to me personally, and even more importantly, my family. Cornell, Mr. Little, and another representative from Intralot Inc. then reunited in the hallway and left the building together.
I am truly appalled and outraged at the nature of this situation at this point. I had personal reasons for supporting my friends in a time of need, but would never have expected that my efforts would turn life threatening. I can only hope that you will both give this turn of events the serious attention that it deserves. As a businessman in the city that I was born and raised in, I should not have to feel imperiled for publicly supporting causes in which I believe.
I look forward to your response.
Marc S. Barnes