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Confusion over possible Peaceoholics contract

Tim Craig

There was confusion across D.C. government Tuesday over published reports that Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's administration is poised to award a $400,000 non-bid contract to Peaceoholics, a nonprofit organization that was co-founded by one of the mayor's friends and biggest supporters.

In recent days, both the City Paper and Washington Examiner have published stories stating that Peaceoholics is short of cash and that Fenty is working to secure a $400,000 contract for the gang-prevention organization. The Examiner reported Tuesday morning that the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services would be handing over a check "within a week" to compensate Peaceoholics for work the group performed last fall after the council canceled its contracts.

But in an interview with the Washington Post Tuesday, D.C. Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) said he's received assurances from Robert Hildum, the interim director of DYRS, that the story is not true that the agency is not in the process of awarding Peaceoholics a contract.

"I have been assured by Rob Hildum that no check would be written for past work," said Wells, chairman of the Human Services Committee. "It is my understanding that anything that goes out will be competitively bid."

Ronald Moten, a strategist for Fenty's reelection campaign, is a co-founder of Peaceoholics. Since Fenty took office in 2007, Peaceoholics has received more than $10 million in city contracts, including several million dollars from DYRS.

Last year, however, the D.C. Council moved to restrict funding for Peaceoholics, curtailing the group's crime prevention efforts.

Reached by telephone Tuesday morning, Moten also denied that Peaceoholics was expecting an imminent no-bid contract from the city. But Moten said the organization was never paid for gang-prevention work it performed last year, and he conceded its looking for additional revenue.

"I can tell you, if we got $400,000 this week, I would go pray on my knees and thank God," Moten said. "We deserve it... We were in the position (last year) of providing services for 30 children and we had to either drop the children and let them get killed or continue providing services. We chose to continue to provide services."

Speaking to reporters Tuesday afternoon, Fenty praised Peaceoholics and said he expects the organization will continue to receive contracts from DYRS and other city agencies.

"I believe that DYRS...thinks that they're doing a great job and they will continue to use them as long as they do that great job," said Fenty, noting DYRS began contracting with the group before he was elected mayor.

Reggie Sanders, a spokesman for DYRS, said Tuesday he's looking into the reports that the organization is poised give Peaceoholics a no-bid contract.

Mafara Hobson, a spokeswoman for the mayor, said in a statement that "Peaceholics has worked with the District providing work for DYRS and other District agencies that has greatly benefited at-risk District youth across the city."

"The organization's work and any agreed upon compensation is subject to the same rules, regulations and accountability measures as any other organization or contractor that does business with the District of Columbia," Hobson said.

Wells said the council would "highly scrutinize any payment made through a no-bid contract."

"This could open a whole can of worms of groups saying they are doing work but not being paid," Wells said. ""It is not acceptable and not good government and highly inappropriate."

Moten, who has emerged as one of the mayor's chief boosters on the campaign trail, counters "children will be killed" by violence if his organization is forced out of business.

Moten said he specifically has his eye on part of the $1.3 million the city council earmarked last year for the Children's Youth Investment Trust Corporation to disperse to gang-prevention organizations working in Northeast. Moten accused D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D), Fenty's chief rival in the mayor's race, and Council member Harry Thomas (D-Ward 5) of failing to provide proper oversight of those funds.

"That is the money I am expecting and anything else that comes, that's great," Moten said.

UPDATE, 8:10 P.M.: At Wells's request, the story has been changed to clarify that he did not intend to challenge City Paper's reporting. Wells says that Hildum assured him that no payment would be made. However, Wells says that he does not know whether there was previous intent to send money to Peaceoholics.

--Tim Craig and Mike DeBonis

By Tim Craig  |  August 17, 2010; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  2010 District Election  
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Why is Moten, who is CLEARLY still acting as a representative for Peaceoholics (despite his supposed resignation last year,) allowed to openly campaign for Fenty? Peaceoholics is a 501c3 organization which is PROHIBITED from participating in political campaign activity? Anybody wonder where all those anti-Gray t-shirts come from??

Posted by: mariedc1 | August 17, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

What services do they offer that they are saving children? what about the 2 recent murders by those 18 yo 'kids' that left the peaceoholics facilities (paid for by tax money) and went out and killed people?? One was Sanquan Carter of the SoCap drive by fame. They are building a facility on my street. I submitted a foia request to DYRS about the security requirements for such facility. there are no security requirements. The 'youthts' are adjudicated to these facilities and there is NO SUPERVISION, they are FREE TO COME AND GO. it is a jail with no bars. They are building another such facility for all females. This city has decided that 'community based' rehab facilities is what's best for the criminals. Where is Phil Mendelson? Who is speaking up for people who pay LOTS of taxes and don't break the laws?

Posted by: | August 17, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Sooo, Rhee will give up her no child left behind mantra and quit if we dont elect Fenty. With Moten, CHILDREN WILL BE KILLED. With Nickles, even though we pay him to represent us, he give news statements say THERE IS NO WAY HE CAN DO THAT. And this is the competent, transparent, whatever Bloomberg said about the Fenty admin.

Note to Ron, are we able to deduct any money from your contract anytime a teenager is killed or kills someone? If so, you owe us BACK PAY!!!

Posted by: tformation1 | August 17, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Fenty surrounds EVERYTHING he does with suspicious activities and suspicious characters. (Skinner, Moten, Karim, Jannerone, etc.) It is as if he is a magnet for controversy, as if he is some sort of attention starved drama queen. I have never encountered such a politician. What ever happened to "avoid even the appearance of impropriety"?

I am truly tired of this guy.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | August 17, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

thanks for FINALLY devoting time to covering news. It has only been 4 days. Hey, will you be writing about Bloomberg's endorsement on Friday or Saturday.

Posted by: mamaspearl | August 17, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

you may want to follow this story more on city paper. they seemed to have more information than the late posting post.

Posted by: mamaspearl | August 17, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Here, I'll help:

Posted by: LukasWP | August 17, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Read this interesting story about how the current economic climate is affecting a PR firm in exurban Chicago. Grim stuff:

Posted by: HitEleven | August 18, 2010 3:59 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for crossing out your erroneous statement that the City Paper and Examiner story "was not true."

Now can you come and cross that error out in my printed copy of the Post?

What's that? The Post STILL has not devoted one drop of ink to the Peacoholics Payoff story in the printed paper? Hey, Post, you better get on it!

Posted by: Trulee | August 18, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

If The P'Holics are so short on money, how are they able to print 10,000 copies of a color magazine with picture of Gray as a vampire. doesnt add up. I need them to fill out their 2009 Tax Form-990 before they get any more money from DC.

Posted by: lilscooby09 | August 18, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

If The P'Holics are so short on money, how are they able to print 10,000 copies of a color magazine with pictures of Gray as a vampire. doesnt add up. I need them to fill out their 2009 Tax Form-990 before they get any more money from DC.

Posted by: lilscooby09 | August 18, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Lukas, the city paper article was so much better.

Posted by: Redial1 | August 18, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

As a citizen of any law abiding society, you cannot have government run like this.

The key words that scream foul play and corruption are the apparent effort to reimburse the peaceaholics for work previously done. Moten stupidly has been making that statement openly and very candidly. Government 101 says you don't get paid for doing work without a contract!!! If they chose to knowingly do the work without a contract, who's decision was that? DC is not obligated to pay a dime and to pay them retroactively is a violation of any government procurement law!

Moten is nothing more than a hustling con artist that knows his buddy writes checks.

The Examiner piece also included information that a former Peaceaholics Board member or employee is now a key member of DYRS as part of the leadership change since the prior director. so this story is no where near over.

Posted by: oknow1 | August 18, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

"'children will be killed' by violence if his organization is forced out of business."

Wow - I think we refer to that as a God-complex. Peaceaholics may benefit some of the kids they work with, but they are by no means the be all, end all.

Posted by: dcresident12 | August 18, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Right!

Did Tommy Wells get assurance from Peter Nickles, if not; Peaceoholics will get paid, just as Nickles recently paid Fenty's other crony, Banneker Venture, while the company is still being investigated by the city council.

Posted by: GoldCoast | August 18, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

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