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D.C. Council live updates: Skinner explains invoice discrepancies

UPDATE, 2:48 p.m.:

Testimony continued with Trout turning his questioning to invoices for site surveys from Liberty Engineering and Design, Skinner's company. The Hill Rag was the first to report that the surveys were performed by Tony Currie at a much lower rate than is shown in the invoices.

Skinner offered this explanation: "It just makes good business sense."

He used a hypothetical, using his former dry cleaning business. He might charge a customer $1 to clean a shirt but would go to a wholesaler to clean the shirts for him for 50 cents or another for 25 cents. Maybe, he said, the 25-cent wholesaler leaves "dirty collars."

"I might spray those collars," Skinner said.

Later, skinner said there's a "cost associated with directing, coordinating and managing services."

UPDATE, 1:02 p.m.:

Attorney Robert P Trout, who heads the D.C. Council's probe into recreation construction contracts, questioned Mayor Adrian Fenty's friend Sinclair Skinner this morning at a council hearing about whether Skinner tells people that he has "special clout" with the mayor and the government.

Skinner said he did not recall making statements that he has influence.

But he said, "I don't have to tell anyone that I know the mayor...it's been pretty well covered."

He said his name has a certain familiarity, prompting people to say, "I know that name from somewhere."

The council subsequently allowed a 10-minute break requested by Skinner's attorney A. Scott Bolden for Skinner to "refresh his batteries, if you will."

During such intermissions, witnesses generally head to the restrooms or the hallway. Skinner and Bolden went to the executive office of the mayor, a suite on the 5th floor opposite the council offices.

UPDATE, 11:50 a.m.:

Testimony is well underway. Skinner said he took an exam to be a professional engineer twice and did not pass.

In his testimony so far, he has explained that he is not certified to perform the geotechnical engineering or the land surveys that his firm, Liberty Engineering and Design, has been hired to conduct.

He has to leave the work to others.

ORIGINAL POST:

Sinclair Skinner, the mayor's friend and now at the center of the D.C. council's probe of recreation construction contracts, arrived to testify this morning armed with site plans and accompanied by his attorney A. Scott Bolden. He also has six four-inch binders.

Robert P. Trout, an attorney now leading the council special investigation pro bono, will ask the questions.

Bolden just informed the council that those binders and plans are Skinner's response to the council's request for documents.

Bolden informed the council that Skinner will not be sworn in but will affirm his testimony.

Thomas still read Skinner his oath.

Skinner said, "I affirm." But he would not raise his right hand.

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By Nikita Stewart  |  April 15, 2010; 11:50 AM ET
 | Tags: Council of the District of Columbia, DC Council  
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Comments

One big joke!

Posted by: stopplayingwithus | April 15, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

This is CRAZY! He doesn't recall most of the pertinent information that he was subpoened to discuss. Besides not recalling, he is clearly lying. This is really bad. This guy is a REAL drag on the Mayor. I don't know why he hasn't cut ties with this guy long ago. The Mayor has been good at throwing people under the bus, I wonder why he didn't throw this guy under long ago. He is train wreck!

Posted by: DCcomm | April 15, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Well, is odd, Unusual? Its not unusual for a contractor or business to add fee's, its done all the time.

My question is why is this looked at as if its unusual?

My bank just came up w/a new fee regarding maintaining a certain balance or they will charge me per month. Not unusual, if i don't like it i can change banks.

But, the amount of the fee's were'nt that high, this is a witch hunt, i feel.

Thanks

Posted by: weaverf | April 15, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

weaverf-a witch hunt, please...

As someone who pays a huge chunk of change to DC, I want to know why and how Fenty's friends and allies received these contracts. It is relevant and many people want to know.

I've learned, especially over the last two years, that Fenty is a complete joke and I will never vote for him again. His time has passed.

Posted by: DCJUSTICE | April 15, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

At the break, requested by the attorney, Skinner and attorney went straight to the mayor's office? C'mon!! That doesn't help! A strategy session with the mayor? He can't help them now. They can only kill his reelection bid. He should stay 1000 feet clear of them - though it really is a bit late for that.

I can barely stand to watch anymore of this. It's painful. I am so disappointed in our mayor - the one I voted for (but not again).

Posted by: DCcomm | April 15, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

DCcomm,
Fenty probably hasn't cut ties with Skinner, because Skinner probably has something really big and embarassing on Fenty. You know it has to be really big, because just associating with Skinner himself is one huge embarassment on its own.

Posted by: blankspace | April 15, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Sorry DC residents. This is just a dog and pony show. The rest of the council is getting all sorts of exemptions and kickbacks from just about anybody who does, did, will do or wants to do business in the city.

You should be outraged they are wasting money even asking this guy questions.

Posted by: kenayers1 | April 15, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

DC government at its worst. Or most typical. And it's not getting better anytime soon - Fenty and Gray are one in the same, they just have different people that they owe and will enrich.

Posted by: Aerowaz | April 15, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

"Skinner tells people that he has "special clout" with the mayor and the government.
Skinner said he did not recall making statements that he has influence."

Notice he said he didn't recall making the statement. This is what your lawyer tells you to say when the answer is against you.

"Skinner said he took an exam to be a professional engineer twice and did not pass.
He said he is not certified to perform the geotechnical engineering or the land surveys that his firm, Liberty Engineering and Design, has been hired to conduct.
He has to leave the work to others."

Neither he nor his firm were qualified to perform the work specified on the contract but he was able to get awarded the contract. Apparently being unqualified is not a determining factor in getting a contract in the District.

This Fenty administration is the most corrupt group that I can remember and that includes the administrations of Marion Barry. It's time to get rid of Fenty and his consigliere Attorney General Nickels.


Posted by: Jimof1913 | April 15, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

the kid is dumb and never led anything in his life. you don't volunteer anything in these situations.

Posted by: oknow1 | April 15, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Let’s use some common sense. I respect Ms. Stewart but the Post needs to sell papers. Skinner has shown he can help the media with his actions and sounds bites. But let’s be clear this is an election year. This is a one-sided investigation. They show that by not questioning the other subcontractor pricing. I am an engineer and I can almost guarantee that the architects have price tags of a couple million for each site. I also think it’s irrational for anyone to expect a CEO to know that level of detail off the top of his head. I doubt the council sent him questions in advance.

Posted by: zsg2010 | April 16, 2010 6:21 AM | Report abuse

Skinner is a sleaze and a racist.

Fenty tolerates his buddy, Skinner, so that makes Fenty a jerk.

A Scott Bolden, former DC politician, is a sleaze and a race baiter.

It's pathetic.

Posted by: ObjectiveReader1 | April 16, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

ObjectiveReader1-Your comments don't seem very objective since you know them personally. If you don't know them personally then your comments to dictated by what you read. Are you one of the people that allows the media to think for you?

Posted by: zsg2010 | April 16, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Skinner was paid over 900k in local tax dollars to do engineering work that he could not and did not do.

Fenty's maneuvering using his Deputy Mayor of Economic Development made this whole charade possible.

It is not political posturing to point out the obvious.

This was WASTE, FRAUD, and ABUSE.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | April 16, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

O think he recalls everything clearly he just will never let anyone know what truly happened.

You have to love that DC. Government.

Posted by: SurveyDash101 | April 16, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Yesterdays hearings were unreal! I'm starting to believe that Skinner is a really smart guy who is laughing all the way to the bank.

The priceless comment and there were many would be Skinner homage to Marion Barry. I respect you Councilmember Barry....I don't care what you done to some of my friends...you cool with me and I'll help you with whatever you need.

I was done after that one.

Posted by: thelildiva4u | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Yesterdays hearings were unreal! I'm starting to believe that Skinner is a really smart guy who is laughing all the way to the bank.

The priceless comment and there were many would be Skinner homage to Marion Barry. I respect you Councilmember Barry....I don't care what you done to some of my friends...you cool with me and I'll help you with whatever you need.

I was done after that one.

Posted by: thelildiva4u | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Yesterdays hearings were unreal! I'm starting to believe that Skinner is a really smart guy who is laughing all the way to the bank.

The priceless comment and there were many would be Skinner homage to Marion Barry. I respect you Councilmember Barry....I don't care what you done to some of my friends...you cool with me and I'll help you with whatever you need.

I was done after that one.

Posted by: thelildiva4u | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Yesterdays hearings were unreal! I'm starting to believe that Skinner is a really smart guy who is laughing all the way to the bank.

The priceless comment and there were many would be Skinner homage to Marion Barry. I respect you Councilmember Barry....I don't care what you done to some of my friends...you cool with me and I'll help you with whatever you need.

I was done after that one.

Posted by: thelildiva4u | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Yesterdays hearings were unreal! I'm starting to believe that Skinner is a really smart guy who is laughing all the way to the bank.

The priceless comment and there were many would be Skinner homage to Marion Barry. I respect you Councilmember Barry....I don't care what you done to some of my friends...you cool with me and I'll help you with whatever you need.

I was done after that one.

Posted by: thelildiva4u | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Yesterdays hearings were unreal! I'm starting to believe that Skinner is a really smart guy who is laughing all the way to the bank.

The priceless comment and there were many would be Skinner homage to Marion Barry. I respect you Councilmember Barry....I don't care what you done to some of my friends...you cool with me and I'll help you with whatever you need.

I was done after that one.

Posted by: thelildiva4u | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

It's quite obvious that this guy set up a sham company to take advantage of the city's minority business program that is not adequately monitored.

And to all of you who are boo-hooing that his company is being unfairly targetted, keep in mind, if you live in DC, he's ripping you off too.

Posted by: JeffB-27 | April 16, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

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