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Fenty Travel Expenses: $25,000 from UAE, $11,300 from China

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's trips to the United Arab Emirates and China cost $25,000 and $11,300, respectively, and were paid for by government entities in each country, according to a memo from Attorney General Peter J. Nickles.

Fenty (D) traveled to Beijing and Shanghai for the Summer Olympics last year, and he spent a week in Dubai last month. Though Fenty took his family on the trips and referred to them as private vacations, he has said he met with government officials in both countries.

The mayor had announced the trip to China in advance, but he revealed he was in the United Arab Emirates only after he returned. He has not previously disclosed that the Chinese government paid for his trip to the Olympics, but he has acknowledged said the UAE government funded his trip to Dubai.

Fenty has said he paid for his wife and twin sons to accompany him on the trips. No taxpayer dollars were used, Nickles said in the memo, which was distributed tonight to three news outlets, including the Washington Post.

The "acceptance of both donations (both allowing the Mayor to perform formal and official governmental functions) were found by the Office of the Attorney General to be legally sufficient and in compliance with applicable law," Nickles wrote.

Of the cost of Fenty's China trip, $3,800 was paid the Beijing municipal government, $5,000 from the Shanghai municipal government, and $2,500 from the Chinese People's Association for Friendship. The expenses covered food, hotel, incidental, and transportation expenses, Nickles wrote.

UAE Ambassador, Yousef al-Otaiba, contributed the $25,000 to cover food, hotel, incidental, and transportation expenses in Dubai.

Both trips will be reported to the Office of Partnerships and Grants, Nickles said.

Read the full memo from Nickles after the jump.

From: Attorney General Peter Nickles


Re: Mayor Adrian Fenty's Travel to The United Arab Emirates and China


In August of 2008 the Mayor visited China during the Olympic Games, making stops in Beijing and in Shanghai. In addition to engaging in activities in his personal capacity, he performed his official duties and formal governmental functions while in China, including meeting with local government officials and furthering the District's Sister City relationship with China's capital.

The value of the Mayor's travel and accommodations expenses was donated to the District government by the municipal governments of Beijing and Shanghai and by a Chinese government entity, the Chinese People's Association for Friendship. The donation was valued at $11,300, including $3,800 from the Beijing municipal government, $5,000 from the Shanghai municipal government, and $2,500 from the Chinese People's Association for Friendship, and it covered food, hotel, incidental, and transportation expenses related to the Mayor's performance of his official duties.

The donation was provided to the District in-kind, such that all tickets and arrangements were taken care of directly by the donors. No funds were received by the Mayor or the District, and no taxpayer funds were used.

The Mayor was joined on his trip to China by his family. Although the invitation from the Chinese included the Mayor's wife, the donations received from them only covered the cost of the Mayor's official travel and accommodations. The Mayor's family's expenses were paid for privately.

In February 2009 the Mayor visited Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. As with his trip to China, in addition to engaging in activities in his personal capacity, he performed his official duties and formal governmental functions while in Dubai, including, as previously noted, meeting with local government officials and business leaders.

The value of the Mayor's travel and accommodations expenses were donated to the District government by UAE Ambassador, Yousef al-Otaiba. The donation was valued at $25,000, and covered food, hotel, incidental, and transportation expenses related to the performance of the Mayor's official duties.

As with the China trip, the donation was provided to the District in-kind, such that all tickets and arrangements were taken care of directly by the donor. No funds were received by the Mayor or the District and, as before, no taxpayer funds were used.

The Mayor was joined on his Dubai trip by his family. Again, as with the China trip, the donation only covered the cost of the Mayor's travel and accommodations. The Mayor's family's expenses were paid for privately.

Reporting Procedure

The documentation for both the Mayor's China and UAE trips will be publicly reported through the District's donations process in full compliance with the law. Those reports are posted quarterly on a fiscal year basis. These two donations will appear in the next report compiled by the District's Office of Partnerships and Grants Services, which is scheduled to be posted on the OPGS' Website shortly after the close of the second quarter of the fiscal year, March 31, 2009.

Prior to 2009, District international travel donations were handled through the Office of the Secretary and publicly reported by the end of January of the year following the trip through the U.S. State Department. In early 2009, in an effort to increase transparency and to better streamline our donation acceptances, and following discussions with the State Department, the District has begun to report international travel donations through its internal authorized donations reporting procedures--with the Mayor's trip to Dubai being the first such trip handled by the OPGS. Because the Mayor's trip to China was processed through the Secretary's Office the documentation is different than that for the Mayor's UAE trip. Nonetheless, the acceptance of both donations (both allowing the Mayor to perform formal and official governmental functions) were found by the Office of the Attorney General to be legally sufficient and in compliance with applicable law.

By David A Nakamura  |  March 13, 2009; 8:42 PM ET
Categories:  Mayor Fenty  
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Comments

Are we citizens of DC suppose to be happy and support these trips?! The trip to China, okay, maybe I can understand Mayor Fenty attending the 2008 Olympics, being mayor does have its perks,and perhaps he did indeed work to improve the district's
relationship with China and perhaps even open doors for more trade or business opportunity with China. But in my opinion hiding the trip to Dubai until after his return is not right, we should know where our mayor is at all times. We elected him to be Mayor and although taking a family vacation is something that I believe no one would fault him for,why be so secret? Attending the tennis match when a woman Jewish player was told she could not play, that is despicable. The Mayor's actions or rather lack of actions were totally wrong. Knowing the gov't of Dubai paid for this trip,does not give me an good feeling. What will he have to do to "pay them back'?
The statement made:
The "acceptance of both donations (both allowing the Mayor to perform formal and official governmental functions) were found by the Office of the Attorney General to be legally sufficient and in compliance with applicable law," Nickels wrote.
That's a joke. Again, in my opinion.
As people that read my comments know by now,I have been sorely disappointed with Mayor Fenty. I was so full of hope when he was elected. I believed that he would actually help this city become a better place to live and work.Instead I find him to be arrogant, a media hound and to care only about his own image, not the people of DC. DC deserves better. I will not support him again.

Posted by: DCWatcher3 | March 14, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

This is rediculous...

If the money was "donated" to the district govt, THEN doesn't THAT make it taxpayers money???? More than half of your constituents are having trouble making ends meet Mr. Mayor and yet you have no problem taking money from all these rich people and NOT helping your most needy residents.

And... Peter Nickels says The Office of the Attorney General has given it's stamp of approval on the Mayor accepting the funds..... well, we all know that Peter Nickels would no longer have a job as THE OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL if he came to any other conclusion... that in itself makes his findings null and void.

How about asking an independent FEDERAL agency to examine this and see if the have the same findings as Mr. Nickles.

Posted by: my2centsis | March 14, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

$25,000 for a one week trip to Dubai and the mayor says he paid for his wife and two sons? That is beyond excessive. I think receipts detailing expenses should be reviewed (and then publicized) before anyone can claim that this was legitimate.

Posted by: letsbereal2 | March 14, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

3-15-09


Hi David -

Thank you for writing the article on the the Mayor of Washington's $25,000 trip, paid for by the Ambassador of the UAE. Since we have been requesting a small amount of funding from the UAE government to support our mission for years, we find it very strange indeed.

We are the only NGO in the United Arab Emirates assisting the estimated 35,000 victims of human trafficking that are brought to the country each year. With $25,000 we will successfully repatriate the 116 victims of human trafficking that we currently know of and are seeking to help.

Please view our OPEN LETTER at http://www.uaelawdirectory.com/html/open_letter.html which is our 10th communication with the UAE government this year. We have not received an official response to any.

I am copying the Ambassador on this email and our partners. We officially ask him to once and for all, FUND, LICENSE AND SUPPORT ...UNITED HOPE UAE, "United Action for Empowerment!" the only real assistance for victims of human trafficking in the UAE today.

If possible, maybe use the same funding source that paid for a democratically-elected Mayor from America to see his fine country for 7 days, go to a tennis tournament, and vacation in Dubai.

There are 116 good reasons the time for change is now!

Thank you,
Philip Cenedella
VP, Communications
888.206.3264
www.uaelawdirectory.com

cc: team, legal

bcc

Posted by: UAELAWDIRECTORYCOM | March 18, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

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