Chief Financial Natwar Gandhi announced Friday afternoon he will continue payments on the contracts that were not voted on by the D.C. Council, but he plans to ask a judge to sort out the ongoing feud between the mayor and the council over the issue.
In recent weeks, Gandhi has been caught in a dispute between the county and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's administration over whether the city should continue payment on $875 million in contracts that did not get council approval.
The council passed emergency legislation last month requiring Gandhi, who writes checks for the city, to halt payments on the contracts if the Fenty administration did not send them to the council for review. But Attorney General Peter Nickles maintains the contracts did not have to be sent to the council for approval because their underlying agreements had been approved.
In a letter to Fenty (D) and Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) Friday, Gandi said he has decided to pay the contracts "in the interest of maintaining good governance in the District of Columbia" and to continue 'the operations of the District government."
Halting payment, he said, could result in a "rash of lawsuits" and undermine the "District's credibility in the financial markets." But Gandi said he hired an attorney to take the matter to Superior Court so a judge can resolve the issue.
"Despite my understanding that the Council and the Executive are continuing to discuss a compromise, neither has indicated that any agreement may be achieved soon, if at all," Gandhi wrote.
-- Tim Craig