Fenty donors put their mouths where their money is
On Friday, Mayor Adrian Fenty (D) is debuting TV commercials touting his commitment to affordable housing, small business and neighborhood development. Fenty himself appears in none of the ads, leaving unidentified District residents to talk up Fenty's record.
But these aren't exactly man-on-the-street testimonials: Two of the three ads feature folks with close ties to Hizzoner -- including city contracts and fat campaign checks.
One spot touts Fenty's commitment to small business. It features Bryan "Scottie" Irving, president of Blue Skye Construction and a close ally of Fenty's.
"I'm a local small-business owner," Irving says in the ads, "and I know for a fact that Mayor Adrian Fenty is making sure that local small businesses have the opportunity of rebuilding Washington, D.C."
And how: Since Fenty took office in 2007, the company has done more than $8.5 million in business with the city, according to city spending records, mostly for school construction. And Irving has also entered the development sphere -- partnering with Donatelli Development on an ambitious mixed-use project at Minnesota Avenue and Benning Road NW in Ward 7, and embarking on wholesale renovations of affordable housing, including the Tewksbury in Brightwood, featured in the Irving ad and in another Fenty spot.
Fenty has mentioned Irving's name on the campaign trail as an example of a businessman committed to hiring District residents. "D.C. spends close to $1 billion a year on construction and other goods and services, and we return that tax dollar to the people in D.C.," Irving told the Washington Business Journal in 2008.
Blue Skye has also been a major donor to the Fenty camp, giving the maximum $2,000 to his reelection campaign. Irving and his wife also donated $2,000 each, as did business partners George Mavrikes and Scott Whittier and their wives.
Sean Madigan, a Fenty spokesman, says that including Irving among the campaign's first ads was an obvious move. "You can't find a better local contractor than Scottie Irving, who not only brings his projects in on time and under budget, but goes above and beyond to train and hire his workers who live in the neighborhoods where the projects are based," he said.
Another ad highlights Fenty's work in communities east of the Anacostia River.
"He's rebuilding old Congress Heights School that's been vacant for nearly 25 years," Monica Ray says, standing on the construction site. "That's delivering."
Ray is vice president of Capital Services Management Inc., a Ward 8-based firm specializing in job training that is also among the development partners on the Congress Heights project, which will end up housing a charter school. Ray is also executive director of the Congress Heights Community Training & Development Corp., which will use the building after completion, the Informer has reported.
CSMI has given $2,000 to Fenty's reelection bid. Ray and CSMI President Phinis Jones also both gave $2,000. Jones also hosted a fundraiser for Fenty last year
"These are real folks putting in real work to improve their communities," Madigan says.
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