Last Friday, the University of the District of Columbia’s law school held its annual fundraising auction. The items up for bids ranged from the pedestrian—four Capitals tickets, breakfast for two at the Tabard Inn—to the not-so-pedestrian—lunch with Councilmember Phil Mendelson, a tour of Ward 8 led by Philip Pannell, and a citywide gay-bar crawl, also with Pannell.
But the offbeat prizes weren’t exactly a cash cow: Pannell, executive director of the Anacostia Coordinating Council and a former mayoral special assistant for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender affairs, was bummed at the paltry sums his prizes garnered—the Ward 8 tour earned $55 for the school, the club romp $60. “It obviously shows I’m a cheap date,” says Pannell. “I would probably spend as much on gas as the person spent on the tour.”
But no need for Pannell to get too down on himself: The Mendelson lunch netted only $50. Says Pannell: “I beat Phil Mendelson. That’s a good thing, I guess.”