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Posted at 12:28 PM ET, 08/10/2010

FOP sues Fenty administration over FOIA request

The D.C Fraternal Order of Police, which is backing Vincent C. Gray in the mayor's race, filed suit Tuesday against Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's administration for its alleged failure to respond to an information request about how the city police department works with Peaceoholics.

In the suit, filed in D.C. Superior Court, the FOP seeks judicial relief because it alleges the administration "has delayed its response" to an information act request filed last month.

The request, filed with the Office of Chief Technology Officer, seeks all documents between Jan. 1 2007 and July 17, related to how the police department responds to requests from Peaceoholics and whether the agency uses government resources to assist the group. The request also seeks information on whether the police department has ever evaluated whether Peaceoholics is effective.

Under D.C. law, government agencies are expected to comply with a Freedom of Information Act. request within 15 days, although a 10-day extension can be granted in "unusual circumstances."

Krisopher Baumann, chairman of the local FOP lodge, said the administration has yet to respond.

The court filing highlights Peaceoholics role in the mayoral election between Gray and Fenty. Peaceoholics co-founder Ronald Moten is a key advisor and supporter of Fenty.

Baumann said the FOP, which endorsed Gray in May, decided to file its information request because police officers are skeptical of Fenty and Moten's claims that Peaceoholics is effective in reducing crime and youth violence.

"All I hear is they did great things, so I just want to see something from the department that they did X and then given what Fenty and Moten are saying, they did X really, really well," Baumann said. "We give awards all the time. I have never seen these guys get an award. Stop talking about it, show us."

Moten responded, "Its clear (Baumann) is with Vince Gray and just attacking anybody associated with Mayor Fenty."

"He is not credible," Moten said. "I have invited him to go out on the street with us but not one time has he come to do it."

Peaceoholics, a gang prevention and youth mentoring organization, has collected millions in city grants and contracts since Fenty took office in 2007, as the administration consistently turned to it to help fight crime and provide youth services.

Last year, Peaceoholics received at least $5.1 million from the city, including $4.4 million to build a group home for at-risk youths in Southeast Washington, according to an analysis by the Washington Post published in June.

But the full extent of city funding to the organization remains murky because not all city records are available and the group has not filed its 2009 990-form with the Internal Revenue Service.

Last week, the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services responded to a FOIA request from the Washington Post filed in June seeking information about its contracts with Peaceoholics from 2005 through 2010.

In 2006, DYRS had $119,000 in contracts with Peaceholics. By 2008, those contracts swelled to nearly $1 million. In 2009, DYRS had $675,000 in contracts with Peaceoholics to "reduce youth violence" and enhance "youth's ability to navigate day-to-day realities and environmental situations," according to the agency's FOIA response.

--Tim Craig

By  |  12:28 PM ET, 08/10/2010

Categories:  2010 District Election, 2010 District Election, 2010 District Election

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