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DCPS Duns Deadbeat Dems

The D.C. Democratic State Committee, already under investigation for questions about its spending at last year's Democratic National Convention, has apparently stiffed D.C. Public Schools over a $2,500 tab for the use of McKinley Technology High School.

The committee held January 19, 2008 delegate selection caucus at the Northeast school, but still owes a $487 rental fee, $2065.80 in overtime pay for custodial and security personnel, and proof that the group was properly insured for the event.

In a delinquency letter sent to committee offices yesterday, DCPS realty director Veronica Falwell said her office sought three times last year to get payment and insurance information from vice chairman James Berry, but to no avail.

"Therefore, it was assumed by the DCPS Realty office that the requested usage did not take place," Falwell wrote.

But it did, with more than 1,000 District Democrats taking up the school gymnasium and several classrooms. Ward 8 committee member Phil Pannell, who has also been reviewing the committee's finances and saw no evidence of payment for the use of McKinley, said the school system has enough issues to worry about without covering overtime pay for state committee event.

"That's money coming from the school budget, and for a partisan political event," said Pannell, who made Falwell's letter available to The D.C.Wire. Falwell did not respond to an e-mailed request for comment.

Berry said in a phone interview that the bills had been passed on to committee chair Anita Bonds. "As far as I know, the debt was satisfied," he said.
Bonds said she knew nothing about it.

"We didn't receive a bill, but if there is a bill they should send it to us and we'll pay it," she said.

The Washington City Paper's Mike DeBonis reported last week that the District's Office of Campaign Finance has started an investigation of committee finances. It includes questions surrounding a $12,000 check written on a DCSDC account in August 2008 to cover expenses at the Denver convention. The check was paid to an entity called "Denver Convention 2008," but was then deposited into another bank account titled "D.C. Democratic State Committee."

Bill Turque

By Bill Turque  |  April 21, 2009; 11:01 AM ET
Categories:  Bill Turque , Education  
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