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Gray attacks Fenty on Sinclair Skinner contract

Tim Craig

(Click to see a larger version)

Updated at 12:25 p.m. with response from Fenty

D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray has sent out his toughest campaign mailer to date in his bid to unseat Mayor Adrian M. Fenty in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary, taking aim at Fenty friend Sinclair Skinner.

In the mailer, which hit mailboxes Monday, the Gray campaign accuses Fenty of steering $82 million in city contracts to Skinner and Omar Karim, also a friend of the mayor's.

"Meet Sinclair Skinner," the mailer states above an unflattering photo of Skinner. "Adrian Fenty's hand-picked choice for multi-million dollar construction and engineering contracts to fix city parks."

Skinner and Karim, both fraternity brothers of the mayor, are at the center of a D.C. Council probe into whether the administration illegally awarded the contracts without council approval. Karim, owner of Banneker Ventures, was awarded a contract to oversee $82 million in park improvements.

Karim then selected subcontractors, including Skinner. They have denied any wrongdoing, saying the contracts were competitively bid.

In an interview today during a visit to the Washington Post newsroom, Fenty shot back at Gray, accusing him of misrepresenting his record. He said "it's been well-established that the contracts were completely done by an independent agency and went through the procurement process."

But the controversy has become a central theme of Gray's campaign.

"Adrian Fenty has a special jobs program...for his frat brothers," Gray's mailer states. "We need real transparency in how City Hall operates."

Fenty sent out a mailer 10 days ago attacking Gray's record as head of the Department of Human Services in the early 1990s.

"We believe he is much more vulnerable on how you manage finances and his record of running a government agency," Fenty said today, referring to Gray's tenure at DHS. "This is a candidate trying to paint a portrait of a candidate which is probably much more applicable to how he ran his agency in the 1990s."

Gray's mailer marks the first time he has gone negative against the mayor, campaign aides say.

"This is one of the key differences between Vince Gray and Adrian Fenty and I think frankly its one of the key issues that the mayor has yet to answer for," Gray adviser Mo Elleithee said. "He is running around the city on this apology tour but has yet to apologize or explain to people why he thought it was o.k to channel $82 million his frat brothers and we want everyone to understand, very clearly, that Vince Gray will be a mayor who puts an end to pay to play politics."

Sean Madigan, a Fenty spokesman, was not immediately available to comment.

--Tim Craig

By Tim Craig  |  August 24, 2010; 9:46 AM ET
Categories:  2010 District Election , D.C. Council , Mayor Fenty , Tim Craig , Vincent C. Gray , vincent gray  
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Adrian Fenty should be thrown in prison for public corruption.

Posted by: ashafer_usa | August 24, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Disgusting! Now that is some negative campaigning. Just incredible. Gray investigates Skinner then turns around and uses the indictment as campaign material for direct mailers. I have no love for "play for play politics". But I have true disgust for this type of attack.

He is calling Fenty a theif.

That is unsubstaniated circumstantial character assasination. It is dirty on its face. This isn't Ron Moten or Vince Brannum attacking a candidate as a private citizen.
It isn't even calling Fenty's mangement ability nor results into question. It is calling the young man a liar and thief.

Shameful politics.

This directly from Vincent Gray, a person who claims to be a dignified leader. This is Karl Rove type trash.

Posted by: politicalrealist | August 24, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse


The shoe fits and King Fenty should be proud to wear it.

Posted by: hoos3014 | August 24, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Politicalrealist aka King Fenty, please go back on your medication. You are truly losing it. Why are you constantly kissing the behind of King Fenty? How many D.C. contracts to you have, D.C. low numbered tags, or are you a relative of the King? I truly beleive, you are King Fenty making these asinine comments.

Posted by: Ward4DC | August 24, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

A vote for Gray is like a vote for Berry and Kelly.

Posted by: wujjs | August 24, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

get 'em Gray!

Posted by: nivla | August 24, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

More power to Gray. I just question why it took him so long.

Posted by: nate20011 | August 24, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

We are not talking small change here. Folks, we are talking about 85 million dollars in contracts. Sinclair Skinner was awarded contracts for engineering projects that he, nor his partner, at the time of award, had an engineering license to complete. The served as very expensive go between's for venders who actually HAD the credentials. The Mayor has used the D.C. treasury as his own personal piggy bank during a recession. That is wholly unacceptable.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | August 24, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Okay...Gray brags about being the first black to be admitted to a fraternal organization at a white university. Now he attacks a fraternal brother of Fenty. One of the highlights in this brochure...says that Skinner failed an engineering test. Duh rah...Gray show us your academic record and you better have passed all of your exams on the first try, buddy. Also be mindful passing for another race does not count.

See, this is when the Fenty has the disadvantage...because Gray wants to play the "dozen" and Gray is probably well versed in that area. Wow! Gray that was mighty black of you to turn so critical.

Posted by: PowerandPride | August 24, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

About Mrs. Graham....

Graham’s will would be tested a short time later during the Watergate investigation. From the moment of the burglary at the Watergate complex on June 17, 1972, to President Richard Nixon’s resignation on August 9, 1973, it was the Washington Post that led on the story, keeping it alive after Nixon’s landslide election in November 1972, when few other papers had any interest. Bradlee, as executive editor, was front and center on the coverage, but Graham supported him. It was important to her. Watergate “was a conspiracy not of greed but of arrogance and fear by men who came to equate their own political well-being with the nation’s very survival and security.” This is an apt statement about Watergate, and also about any other political scandal in Washington or any other capital.

And it points up the reasons why our nation needs a vigorous and free press as well as strong independent leadership at the helm of such media. Ultimately, as Graham wrote in her autobiography,

The credibility of the press stood the test of time against the credibility of those who spent so much time self-righteously denying their own wrongdoing and assaulting us by assailing our performance and our motives.

Not a bad epitaph for a woman who grew in her role as a leader and used her communications to demonstrate leadership in good times and bad, and in the process served as a good example for others. End


Redford and Hoffman's casting call is sept 15th. only for WP writers.

Posted by: gordonbundy | August 24, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Please take a deep breath. Relax. This might take awhile.

Please read one or more of the following parts of the U.S. criminal code (available at this handy link:

18 USC 4 misprision of felony
18 USC 201 bribery
18 USC 1001 false statement
18 USC 1341, 1346, 1349 mail fraud
18 USC 1505, 1512 obstruction of justice

D.C. Code crimes are published in Chapter 22 of the D.C. Code, which Council provides online at this link:

Many D.C. Code crimes parallel such federal crimes or have been interpreted by local courts to parallel such federal crimes, such as these:

22-704, -711, -712 corrupt influence, bribery
22-721, -722, -723 obstruction of justice
22-1803 attempts to commit crime
22-1805a conspiracy to commit crime
22-2402, -2403, -2404, -2405 perjury & false statements

The well-known press reports regarding the mayor's cronies whose contracts were disapproved by Council provide ample grounds to investigate any of the above crimes. The typical D.C.-style delay in getting answers from the investigation(s) doesn't mean voters are forbidden from drawing their own logical conclusions in time for the primary.

And Democratic voters have decided that Fenty is corrupt, that his frat brothers are corrupt hustlers, and that his attorney general is a threatening bully who obstructs justice rather than defend the city's legal interests. Result? Fenty loses.

Could that be why Fenty is desperately looking for ways to stuff the ballot boxes with non-Democratic votes? WaPo blogs today & yesterday reported that Fenty is appealing a Board of Elections order that only Democrats can vote in the Democratic primary.

Posted by: Rambler3 | August 24, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Fenty, we trusted you before and here is what we got:

-After 10 years of increasing school test scores, scores declined last year

-Only 15 schools in the District of Columbia this year met the annual goals of No Child Left Behind, down from 54 in 2009

-Public Relations stunts around teacher firings and overtstating results

-Crime- specifically robbery, thefts, sexual assaults are up for 3 years!

-Your police department lost DNA crime evidence in more than 200 cases

-DC now has the highest city-wide unemployment in it’s history (30% in some areas)

-You awarded your fraternity brothers $82 MILLION in illegal contracts that they were unqualified for. Your frat buddy Sinclair Skinner got a engineering contract. His qualification was being a failed dry cleaner.

-You JUST vetoed a bill passed by 10 Councilmembers that made it illegal for a candidate to pay someone for their vote

-You arrived into office with a huge budget surplus that he has turned into a large deficit. You depleted our Rainy Day Funds so he could open $400k dog parks and heat his favorite swimming pool.

-Over the last few years, you dipped into the city's rainy day fund to the tune of $840 million, bringing the balance in the savings account down from $1.5 billion in 2007 to just over $650 million for 2011.

-You risk the city’s bond rating

-You leave the country (to Jamiaca and Dubai) without telling anyone or leaving any one as custodian of the DC government

-You have your police escorts close down roads so he and his friends can bike on them.

-You are unwilling to hear any different opinion and anyone that doesn’t agree with you.

-You don’t consult with the community on ANYTHING.

-You have not held ONE news conference since becoming Mayor. Not one.

-You miss community meetings and simply say you “couldn’t make it happen”

-You refuses to hand over any government records- has worst record of responding to Freedom of Information Act requests

-You are simply unable to play well with others- another example is when you refused to give City Council tickets to Nationals game

-You led a sketchy donation of firetrucks to the Dominican Republic

All I'm going to say is that we gave you a chance. For nearly 4 years. And you failed. Your only supporters are people you have paid or are in danger of losing their jobs: Nickles, Rhee, and Moten. You are in over your head and we need someone new that is competent, can deliver, and includes citizens in his decision-making process.

I am going to vote for VINCE GRAY because WE CAN HAVE INCLUSIVE, TRANSPARENT GOVERNMENT THAT GETS RESULTS. It doesn't have to be a choice between listening/thinking and getting results. We can have someone do BOTH.

Let's let Vince Gray lead the city in a way that brings us progress and things are done the right way! Without cronyism or corruption.

Posted by: DCResident3 | August 25, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

@PowerandPride, come on man, we both know each other and you should know by now that I would not stand with anyone is is NOT a mental giant. Mr. Gray can stack his educational records and legislative records up again, Skinner and Fenty any day of the week, but you already know that. I know you LOVE TO PLAY DEVILS ADVOCATE however, in this case the DEVIL has been in office for some 4 years.

Why did you NOT speak about the disparate treatment that Eastern SHS student bore in trailers when NOW Wilson SHS students are being housed at UDC while their school is renovated. Seems a little racially motivated to me, brother!

Posted by: lacairaine | August 25, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

This isn't a good thing for the Fenty campaign. The information is out in the air & it should be addressed as voters are making their decisions leading up to Election Day. My question is how is this not viewed as "negative campaigning" or even how can people view personal relationship & political/campaign friendships as a problem however, in the chairmans race people are supporting a man who has personal & campaign financial issues?? Sounds like Kwame Brown's issues are being swept under the rug & Fenty's issues are being praised. All im saying is be consistent on everything people. Glad the right information is being communicated to the people though. Now people will take their vote a lot more serious.

Posted by: SELegacy | August 31, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

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