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Posted at 4:30 PM ET, 09/10/2010

Mr. Fenty and the Banneker contract: Setting the record straight

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Bill Slover,
Washington

Since last October, there have been questions about the role of the D.C. Housing Authority in the contract awarded to Banneker Ventures – a firm with close ties to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty -- to oversee millions of dollars of renovations to parks and recreation facilities. Recently, my role as chairman of the Housing Authority – and in particular my abrupt removal from that position in November 2009 by the mayor -- has come under increased scrutiny. In an Aug.29 editorial, The Post indicated that it was “particularly troubled” by my removal by Mr. Fenty. It is time to set the record straight, and I have the documentation to do so.

Last week, after nearly a year of ignoring the issue, Mr. Fenty finally gave a reason: He said that D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles recommended that I be removed as chairman for refusing “on numerous occasions” to submit the Parks and Recreation contracts to the D.C. Council.

This statement is patently false. Mr. Nickles did not make numerous requests of me or the Housing Authority to submit this contract for approval, and I did not block this contract from going to the council. Under the governance structure of the Housing Authority, a vote of the full board is required to take such action; therefore, I did not even have the authority to do what the mayor claims I refused to do.

Furthermore, it was the contractual responsibility of the Office of the Deputy Mayor – not the D.C. Housing Authority -- to bring the contracts in question to the council for approval, as well as to ensure that there was adequate funding available to pay for the renovations. The Housing Authority did not – and did not have the ability to -- stand in the way of the deputy mayor's office. Clearly this office failed to fulfill its obligations under the contract; to point the finger elsewhere is disingenuous.

The mayor has repeatedly asserted that the contracts were awarded through an independent process. Not so. In fact, the “competitive bidding process” hinged on the decision of a five-member selection panel; three of the panel's members were on the mayor's staff. To top it off, the Office of the Deputy Mayor had final approval of which firm was awarded the contract. Further, the project manager's fee was negotiated solely by the Office of the Deputy Mayor, which handed Banneker Ventures a flat fee of more than 9 percent of the contract value, with an additional 9 percent markup of fees charged by each subcontractor. A Post article quoted Allen Y. Lew, executive director of the D.C. public school renovation program, as calling the fee structure “outrageous.” (Typical fees for the services Banneker was to provide range from 3 to 5 percent.) Clearly, the process was anything but independent.

But this is not just about cronyism: This is about fiscal responsibility. In an economic downturn, when the District’s budget shortfalls have forced cutbacks to schools, libraries, police and other vital city services – and when the city’s rainy-day fund has been ransacked – it is simply bad policy to pay double and triple the normal cost of doing business. To suggest, as The Post did in the Aug. 29 editorial, that the multimillion-dollar contracts in question were a “tiny” share of a much larger capital budget -- and therefore somehow not worthy of scrutiny -- is to return to the worst days of D.C. governance. It is irresponsible and insulting to D.C. residents. Just think how many additional units of housing could have been built for the money that went to Mr. Fenty’s friends. This city deserves more from our mayor.

During my tenure as chairman of the Housing Authority, I upheld my fiduciary responsibility to protect the interest and the mission of the Housing Authority and the 19,000 families it serves. And for that, the mayor fired me.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | September 10, 2010; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., D.C. politics, Fenty, HotTopic, Mayor Fenty  
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Comments

Thank you for being transparent! we know how the Mayor claims transparentcy but really prefers opaque.

Posted by: diahhna | September 10, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Uh Oh!!! The dirt is being exposed. Way to go Mr. Slover. Wish you had come out sooner but now is as good as time as ever. This Mayor is unethical as they come and should not have been elected in the first place and certainly should never be elected again.

Posted by: Unbelievable6 | September 10, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

I guess the Wa Post got permission from Fenty to put this letter back up. I could swear it disappeared for awhile. Figured he and Nickles came up with a new strategy to explain Mr. Slover's letter away.

Posted by: Unbelievable6 | September 10, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Wow, the more I found out about Fenty, the more disappointed I am in him. Slover seemed like he was just trying to do his job properly and was fired for doing that. This administration is so corrupt and so arrogant about it, it is unbelievable.

Posted by: LoveTheCapitol | September 10, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

The chickens have come home to roost for King Fenty. Adrian Fenty is now reaping what he has sowed. I am so disappointed in Adrian Fenty and I am sadden by his behavior. As a citizen of the United States of America and a registered D.C. voter, I will never trust or put my faith in any politician again. Politicians can't be trusted and they would sell their mother's soul to the Devil.

Posted by: Ward4DC | September 10, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry Mr. Slover, those of us that saw the many hearings, know better. Thanks again for setting the record straight again. This should be front page news.

Posted by: candycane1 | September 10, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for setting the record straight Mr. Slover. I would never accept the words of perrymasonwannabePeter Nickels over a professional and ethical official, since he like Rhee is a mudslinging political hack for Maser Fenty, who has run the dc government into the ground, like slave masters did on their plantations during the
1800s.

From what I have read about your background Mr. Slover, you have served the public with decency and honor despite the trumped up allegations by Maser Fenty's no good officials.

Posted by: maserfentyaintnogood | September 11, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for your contribution Mr. Slover. In support of what you have said, I tender this as food for thought and discussion.

Point. Click. Truth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtSIeOPGN9Q

YOU DECIDE! Pass it on.

Posted by: jobforce | September 11, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Thank you Mr. Slover for your honest service to the city. It's commendable and remarkable that you upheld your principles rather than keep your job. It's shameful that Fenty forced you to choose. I hope there's a new one for you in the Gray administration.

Posted by: pfish | September 11, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I believe too that Mr. Slover was a former Fenty supporter. If so, then what does that say?

Posted by: starclimber9 | September 11, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Slover, you can sleep at night, because you have good morals. Fenty and the New Jack City Crew will not be around much longer.

Posted by: fivetogo | September 11, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Slover: I am confused. You are a developer (correct?) and ordered work to stop in your capacity as Chairman of the Housing authority on the parks and recreations center without discussion with anybody and then you got fired (correct ?).

Maybe I am misunderstanding something but in the private industry would you have discussed your concerns with somebody before you ordered work to stop?

Why didn't you discuss your concerns with the Housing Authority board or others before ordering work to stop. I think you wife is an elected member of the School Board. It seems to me that both of you must have had access to a whole host of people in the Fenty Administration. How did you decided to order the work to stop without talking to anybody? Did you talk to Peter Nichols.


Posted by: beautifulwashington | September 11, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

@beautifulwashington

Give us a break. Do you really believe the bull you posted. Who are you Nickles, Fenty's wife or one of his parents?

Washington has always been a beautiful city regardless of the wards. Each ward has its problem areas but each also has some very lovely areas.

Rec centers and dog parks do not make a beautiful city. Fenty making his friends rich did not make DC beautiful but probably added to his "retirement fund".

Posted by: guylady201001 | September 11, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Most of the boy boy life is a wanna be crimmial.You can tell by the crimminals that he lets surround him to keep his crimminal mind set going. Four more years of him, things will get worser.

Posted by: cureton46 | September 12, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Most of the boy boy life is a wanna be crimmial.You can tell by the crimminals that he lets surround him to keep his crimminal mind set going. Four more years of him, things will get worser.

Posted by: cureton46 | September 12, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Stover, I felt the same as you and that's why I quite, without a job secured, working for DC government under Fenty's administration. Cronyism and government waste of taxpayers' dollar is rampant.

Thanks you for speaking out and holding The Wash Post Editorial Board and Mayor Fenty accountable.

Posted by: GoldCoast | September 12, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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