No foul play in Ward 5 development project
The Dec. 13 editorial "The tangled tales of Harry Thomas" continued The Post editorial board's unrelenting and inappropriate venture into investigative journalism.
The insinuation of a quid pro quo between Rhode Island Avenue Metro LLC's January 2008 donation to Team Thomas and the passage of legislation in December 2008 is ludicrous. The genesis of Rhode Island Station, a mixed-use project near the Rhode Island-Brentwood Metro, occurred well before my tenure on the D.C. Council, with the initial legislation supporting the project with tax incremental financing becoming law in December 2004. The December 2008 and November 2010 legislation to which the editorial refers were introduced in collaboration with the executive and have enabled the project to remain viable.
Furthermore, the editorial mischaracterized the December 2008 legislation as authorizing a $7.2 million payment in lieu of taxes, when the bill simply made technical changes to the financing in place since 2004. The editorial also mentioned a $1 million sales tax exemption on construction material, but the bill actually reduced the sales tax exemption from $2 million to $1 million.
The legislation has enabled the project to pass muster on Wall Street, and I did not personally benefit from the funds Rhode Island Metro LLC contributed to Team Thomas. The true winners are the residents of Ward 5, who will soon have greater retail shopping opportunities near their homes.
The writer is a member of the D.C. Council (D-Ward 5).
Harry Thomas Jr., Washington
| December 15, 2010; 6:18 PM ET
Categories: D.C., D.C. politics, HotTopic, Mayor Fenty, Metro, development, economy, media, real estate, taxes
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