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Fight Over Fire Truck Heats Up

Two District council members are calling on Fenty administration officials to detail their travel from December through February as part of a growing inquiry into how and why surplus fire apparatus was donated to a town in the Dominican Republic.

In a letter to Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Ghandi, council members Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large) and Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) ask for a "detailed accounting of every travel expenditure incurred by the Executive Office of the Mayor and every subordinate agency" during the time period.

The two have also asked the inspector general to investigate.

Surplus city equipment is often auctioned off.

But the Washington Examiner reported last week that the city turned over a fire truck, valued at $270,000, and the ambulance, valued at $70,000, to the nonprofit group Peaceoholics, which then donated the equipment to the Dominican beach town of SosĂșa.

City officials have now called the equipment back.

Council members are trying to uncover the extent of the city's involvement in the transfer. In an editorial in this morning's Washington Post, Mendelson called it a "scandal that's burgeoning."

According to the council members, Deputy Chief Ronald Gill Jr. traveled to Dominican Republic related to the transfer of the equipment. Mendelson and Cheh believe other city officials were also involved based on testimony they received at a council hearing Wednesday.

Attorney General Peter J. Nickles released a report today saying that there was no wrongdoing in the donation of the equipment, outlining past donations by the city of old equipment both locally and abroad. But, Nickles added, because the donation had been the subject of significant public comment and discussion he had called back the equipment "out of an abundance of caution."

You can read the report by clicking here.

Tim Craig

By Marcia Davis  |  April 3, 2009; 3:25 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. Council  
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What a bunch of baloney. Nickles used to be a good lawyer, now he says anything the Mayor does is legal. How can he do an "investigation" when his office wrote the emergency rule allowing the district to transfer the firetruck to Peaceoholics. How many times in the last 10 years has such emergency rules been written, giving District property to one non-profit? Since they started, how much District money (including CYITC funds) has Peaceoholics received? Millions. How many non-district dollars? Zero. The group is dependent on the government.

If this was a real "investigation" Nickles would say who in his office wrote this piece of legislation and have him fired. How come social workers can get fired, but not Attorney General staff? Everyone knows Moten and the Mayor are buds, I betcha the Mayor himself told Nickles to write this legislation an make it happen!

Posted by: missfoggyb | April 3, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Mark these words, Adrian Fenty has gotten so pumped up and full of himself that he has become so wreckless and bullheaded, that he is going to go the way of Kwame Kilpatrick. He, too, once thought he was the darling of the Media and beyond reproach. I believe Fenty too, will find himself stripped of a law license and serving time in jail.

As I said, mark these words.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | April 3, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

The District of Columbia, same sh*t, different day. What a joke.

Posted by: dosomething123 | April 3, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

What I want to know is what others special perks Peaceaholics receives? I have heard mixed reviews about their interventions in DC Public Schools. I am especially concerned about the group's effectiveness in preventing violence. With all of the millions of dollars they receive, they should be evaluated to see what progress they are making.

It seems like that superficially it looks good on paper that the group provides intervention in schools but how is this translating to reducing gang activity and violence.

It looks like Fenty wants to continue the cash flow to his pet group to insure support and votes in the next election.

Posted by: letsbereal2 | April 4, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

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