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Peebles spent nearly $100,000 on primary election

R. Donahue Peebles, the big-time developer who spent months promising to get into the mayoral race only to sit back in the end, did not remain on the sidelines after all.

Two weeks before the city primaries, according to campaign finance records, Peebles wrote a check to the "Coalition for a Better District of Columbia" for $43,252.89. Days later, he made a $55,000 loan to the group.

The bulk of the group's spending -- more than $98,000 -- went to Gold Communications, a Texas-based Democratic mail firm.

Also contributing were two longtime District contractors.

Urban Service Systems, an enterprise that has long held contracts to haul trash for city agencies, gave $2,000 to the committee. Its owner, Dickie Carter, has often been touted as a success story from Marion Barry's efforts to boost minority contractors.

And Lottery Technology Enterprises, the company that has held the city's lottery contract since the early 1980s, gave $5,000. LTE and its owner, Leonard Manning, were ousted one and for all from the city's lottery business last year after an extended saga over the contract's bidding.

It's not clear what the mailings paid for, but during his months of publicly exploring a mayoral bid, Peebles was highly critical of Mayor Adrian Fenty in public appearances -- including this chestnut: "I don't dislike Adrian Fenty. I mean, you know, he's probably a good athlete. But I am angry at the job that he's done as mayor and the level of disrespect and the lack of compassion."

Observers speculated his threatened run represented revenge after Fenty's economic development team nixed a Peebles Corp. plan to redevelop a downtown school. But Peebles insisted his motives were pure, that he wanted to give back to the city that gave him his start in business. For now, his business interests have lured him outside the District: The Peebles Corp. recently submitted a proposal to develop land surrounding the New Carrollton Metro station.

Peebles threatened to spend as much as $8 million of his personal fortune to beat Fenty. In the end, he got what he wanted -- Fenty out of office -- and he didn't have to spend nearly so much.

Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post

By Mike DeBonis  | October 11, 2010; 8:05 PM ET
Categories:  DCision 2010, Don Peebles, The District  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Gray campaign announces new town hall locations
Next: DeMorning DeBonis: Oct. 12, 2010


Now that was money well spent.

Posted by: starclimber9 | October 12, 2010 2:19 AM | Report abuse

Mike D, I would love a story on how Peebles originally made his money during the Barry era. Its discussed in Dream City but another telling with more info would be great. AFAIK he got a sweet land deal from Barry, sat on it for a while, then sold it for lots. Its a story that needs some more light if he's going to continue being a presence in DC politics...

Posted by: mendelsonmustgo | October 12, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Congrats to Don Peebles, Len Manning, Josh Williams, Dickie Carter, former Congressman Walter Fauntroy and many others who turned the courage of their convictions into action in the struggle for needed change in DC and by empowering our candidate Vince Gray to victory as our next Mayor! Well done, the people won.

Posted by: RonDC | October 12, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

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