Attorney General Peter Nickles hit D.C. Council members Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) and Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) Monday with hand-delivered letters, writing that their probe into the donation of a firetruck and ambulance to a town in the Dominican Republic has been sullied by the lost testimony of two District employees.
The recordings of depositions by property disposal specialist Robin Booth and city ethics counselor Thorn Pozen are not available as Cheh and Mendelson prepare to complete their investigation with the release of a report Wednesday.
But Nickles is urging the council members to "terminate" the probe and defer to the Office of the Inspector General, which is also investigating.
"As you can imagine, this loss of testimony is a serious matter and calls into question the integrity of the investigation," Nickles wrote.
In an interview, Cheh called the letter "typical Nickles."
"They're not lost or missing tapes," Cheh said, adding that the testimony was never recorded due to an error with equipment. "I guess he wants to put a sinister spin on this."
In an e-mail, Mendelson said, "I'm amazed that the AG has run to the press about this; is his role to represent the government or score points against the legislative branch?"
A series of hearings last year already revealed that Sinclair Skinner, a friend to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D); Ron Moten, founder of Peaceoholics and another Fenty friend; and David Jannarone, who was director of the development, helped orchestrate the donation of the emergency equipment.
When the donation drew media attention, the equipment, which had made it all the way to Florida, was returned.
Cheh and Mendelson launched an investigation into the disposal of city equipment.
-- Nikita Stewart