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Gray calls on Fenty to fire Nickles

D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) Thursday called on Mayor Adrian M. Fenty to fire Attorney General Peter Nickles, arguing Nickles has become "the mayor's political hatchet man" instead of the city's top lawyer.

Gray, who is challenging Fenty in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary, accused Nickles of "protecting the mayor's cronies" and working as an "enabler of the mayor's cronyism."

"His politicization of the office is inappropriate at best, and illegal at worst," Gray said. "And by protecting the mayor's cronies, he has put the interest of the mayor squarely ahead of the interest of his actual client."

Gray's call for Nickles ouster represent one of his most direct criticisms to date of the Fenty administration and highlights Nickles' expanding role in the mayor's race. Two weeks ago, Nickles publically attacked Gray's record as director of Human Services in the early 1990s under former Mayor Sharon Pratt.

On Saturday, the Washington Post reported Nickles had crafted a $550,000 settlement with Banneker Ventures, the firm whose city contract to oversee the construction of renovated and new parks and recreation centers was terminated last year in the wake of a council probe into how they were awarded. Banneker is owned by one of Fenty's friends and fraternity brothers.

Several council members are outraged that Nickles settled the case before the conclusion of a council probe into the matter.

"He has betrayed the public trust too many times," said Gray, who also accused Nickles of improperly asserting himself into politics by raising questions about the chairman's record in recent media interviews.

A Fenty spokesman was not immediately able to comment. In an interview, Nickles said he's "sorry to see that Gray has got so caught up in the political campaign that he issues these kind of political statements."

"I think his campaign is lagging and he is trying to find a flash point and I guess he figures I am as good of target as any," Nickles said. "He should have picked on someone else because I am not going to stand by and have these outrageous assertions made."

Nickles said the Banneker settlement was "good for the city" because it allows numerous stalled construction projects to now move forward. Nickles also strongly denied Gray's allegations of cronyism. "I did not pass the settlement by the mayor and I did not get the approval of the mayor," Nickles said. "This was purely a legal matter that was handled by experts in the law."

Nickles added," My commitment has been and will remain to the citizens of the city...It's a shame that Vince Gray has stooped to this level because of politics."

--Tim Craig

By Washington Post Editors  |  July 8, 2010; 1:24 PM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Thanks Gray for standing up to the "Calhoun" of the Fenty administration.

It is clear that Nickels has no respect for the citizens of DC but obviously he has none for Fenty as well.

If Gray's campaign is lagging then Fenty's campaign is dead. With backers like Nickels, Gray will win by a landslide.

Thanks co-mayor Nickels.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | July 8, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Attorney General Peter Nickles is easily among the most corrupt public officials ever in DC's history. In addition to firing Nickles, Michelle Rhee should also be fired. Ideally, Nickles, Rhee, and Fenty should share a prison cell - they are all guilty of illegal actions and should be locked away.

Posted by: ashafer_usa | July 8, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Right on Gray. Keep it up. When Fenty losses in Sept. he can take Nickels with hi,

Posted by: samvped205 | July 8, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Right on Gray. Keep it up. When Fenty losses in Sept. he can take Nickels with him!!

Posted by: samvped205 | July 8, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

"I think his campaign is lagging and he is trying to find a flash point and I guess he figures I am as good of target as any," Nickles said. "He should have picked on someone else because I am not going to stand by and have these outrageous assertions made."


Did he snicker a little after saying this?

Posted by: 411Tibby | July 8, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Who does Peter Nickles work for? He didn't get the Mayor's approval to authorize a settlement???? Whose money is he using....HIS??????

Posted by: joyful53 | July 8, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I happen to be a replanted Washingtonian now residing in Maryland ... but back in the day (not long ago) I voted for Fenty. I hope old Washington is for real when they say that they want Fenty out! Put his tail in between his legs and march him right back to Crestwood! Go V. Gray!

Posted by: gordonj1 | July 8, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Peter Nickles is wrong if he believes that people will vote for Fenty to save his job. Like all those that are Hatched Peter Nickles should leave his job if he wants to be a part of the Fenty campaign machine.

I have tremedous respect for Peter Nickles as an attorny but his political skills as an attack dog are really lacking. Where as Michelle Rhee may be a plus for Fenty, Peter Nickles in this role surely isn't.

The campaign that may be lagging is Fenty's if he needs to rely on Nickles political instincts.

Posted by: peterdc | July 8, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Nickles should have been disbarred a long time ago. Where is the DC Bar when you need them?

Posted by: starclimber9 | July 8, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Yes please get rid of this arrogant closet Nazi. He is the worst

Posted by: bigheadbull2 | July 8, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I am glad that Vince Gray is out front with this. Peter Nickles has done a lot of damage to this city and to the credibility of the Office of the Attorney General.

There is absolutely no way that signing away the District's right to pursue a fraud claim against Bannaker is in the best interest of the city.

I believe that the Council's independant report is coming out soon. Perhaps this is being done in advance of the report because Nickles knows that it is going to be bad.

Posted by: tacard1 | July 8, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Nickles is trying to save his own job the only way he can--Kiss ole Bendy Fendy(oops, I mean Fenty) ass. He is focus on attacking Gray because Fenty is too much of punk to do it himself. Mayor Fenty, Nickles and Rhee all need to "hit the Road and don't come back no mor, no mor.

Posted by: impat1210 | July 8, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Unless the Mayor has delegated much more settlement authority to Nickles than previous AGs had, Nickles would certainly have had to discuss this with the Mayor or the City Administrator in order to get the authority to settle for that much money. The AGs settlement justification forms are public records, and can be reviewed. I'd love to see the rationale for negotiating away the City's rights to any claims against this contractor.

Posted by: dcindy522 | July 9, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Bravo to Vince Gray! He now regrets his vote to affirm Nickles' confirmation. The Attorney General should represent the public's interests and not act as the Mayor's lawyer. I testified against confirmation at the Council Hearing on October 17, 2008.

David Schwartzman
At Large Council Candidate
DC Statehood Green Party

Posted by: dschwartzman | July 9, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

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