Fenty friend Skinner takes aim at D.C. Council, Graham
Sinclair Skinner, one of former mayor Adrian M. Fenty's friends at the center of the investigation into parks and recreation contracts handed out under the previous administration, issued a biting statement Monday accusing District government leaders of being "synonymous with corruption, scandal and mismanagement."
In a an open letter to "fellow Washingtonians," Skinner takes aim at council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), and his former chief of staff, Ted G. Loza, who pleaded guilty Feb. 18 to charges of accepting an illegal gratuity from leaders of the city's taxicab industry.
Skinner implies that the media should be more focused on Graham's potential involvement in the matter. Graham has never been accused of wrongdoing in the Loza scandal, which federal prosecutors have spent more than two years investigating.
But Skinner is calling for a criminal probe of Graham.
"If ending the age of corruption in D.C. is something we want to be serious about, we must look into this situation thoroughly," wrote Skinner, who council members have accused of being uncooperative in their investigation into parks and recreation contracts. "The 24-hour news cycle has disregarded an issue that could be detrimental to curing the dysfunction of (the) city council."
Skinner continues, "Wake up ... we can do better D.C."
"Cash for policy is a slap in the face of the democratic process, and every citizen deserves to know the truth behind this story."
Graham declined comment.
"I don't want to dignify this outlandish statement with a comment," Graham said.
It's unclear why Skinner, through a spokesman, decided to go public today with his harsh assessment of Graham and the current state of the political process.
At the council's request, attorney Robert P. Trout is continuing an outside probe of the contracts issued by the Fenty administration to Banneker Ventures, a firm owned by Fenty friend and fraternity brother Omar Karim. Skinner was a subcontractor on that deal.
Skinner was not immediately available to comment, but his spokesman, Frederick Butler, said his boss decided to go public with his concerns because he "was tired of the bickering"
In 2005, Skinner and Graham got into a dispute over Graham's push to revoke the liquor license for Club U in the Reeves Municipal Center after a spate of violence. Skinner was also linked to posters depicting Graham as ''Grahamzilla," which were widely condemned for their racial overtones.
But Butler said Skinner's open letter is "nothing personal."
"Everything on this end is coming to a close and the food fight that happened last week with (D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown) and Mayor Gray, we feel like that is a red herring to what is really going on here, corruption in the government," Butler said.
| February 28, 2011; 1:05 PM ET
Categories: City Life, D.C. Council, Jim Graham, Mayor Fenty, Tim Craig, Vincent C. Gray
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