Thomas wants to hear from Hartsock
Council member Harry Thomas Jr. opened Thursday's hearing on questionable construction contracts routed through the D.C. Housing Authority by expressing his disappointment that interim parks and recreation director Ximena Hartsock would not be testifying.
He said the council needs to understand what role the Department of Parks and Recreation played in the funneling of millions of dollars in city funds that ended up at the housing authority, an independent agency, to build parks, recreation centers and ball fields. "That piece of the puzzle will be missing today," Thomas said.
Hartsock has been the center of the latest arguments between the council and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D). The mayor signed an executive order to reappoint her as interim director for 180 days until he can find a replacement after the council rejected her as pick to be the permanent director in a 7 to 5 vote last month.
During Hartsock's council confirmation hearing, witnesses called the interim director names and Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) said she did not understand "black and brown" culture. Hartsock and Attorney General Peter J. Nickles said she was not treated fairly at the hearing.
Thomas also issued a veiled threat Thursday, saying that the council Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation will subpoena witnesses if necessary and said a person who does not show up for a hearing could be treated as a "hostile witness."
The council expects, however, to hear from David Gragan, the city's chief procurement officer, and several witnesses from the housing authority Thursday.
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