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Posted at 01:48 PM ET, 06/03/2011

DeAfternoon DeBonis: June 3, 2011

TODAY IS JUNE 3, 2011 — DAY 153 OF THE GRAY ADMINISTRATION

PREVIOUSLY — Anonymous online comments match subsequent Gray administration statementKwame Brown wanted mayoral-type SUV, e-mails show

The Kwamemobile saga is back! City Paper’s Alan Suderman FOIA’d still more e-mails, which include the best indication yet as to why D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown was ordered luxury Lincoln Navigators instead of the simple “black-on-black SUV” he said he wanted. “Chairman Brown wants a Navigator comparably equipped as Mayor Gray’s,” one Department of Public Works employee e-mailed to another, after speaking to a council employee. Brown called me today to insist that he asked only for the black-on-black SUV, as he previously stated. He also questioned why us reporters are still interested in this old story. He also noted, as he has noted before, that he takes “full responsibility for everything.” As a reporter, however, I am more heartened by this show of responsibility, in a December e-mail between the DPW employees: “You need to make damn sure that you are able to show exactly everything from a to z, and who said what and when concerning this Navigator issue for Chairman Brown. One day someone is going to come back and dig into this. I want to make sure that we can tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth on the purchase of this vehicle and the waste and abuse of taxpayers money.”

AFTER THE JUMP — No charges in DC9 death; Graham criticizes Lanier — House moves to ax St. E’s project — A closer look at tax allegations — Gandhi nixes UMC contract — Cop under questioning for Prince George’s murder

*** MAIN COURSE ***

NO CHARGES IN DC9 DEATH — There will be no criminal charges in the death of Ali Ahmed Mohammed outside the DC9 nightclub last year. Clarence Williams reports for The Post: “U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. said in a statement that there was insufficient evidence to press charges. Prosecutors had interviewed witnesses and medical professionals, reviewed physical evidence and retained a “nationally renowned forensic pathologist” to help in the investigation. ... Mohammed, 27, of Silver Spring, had thrown bricks through the window of the club after he was denied admission. Police said witnesses told them soon after Mohammed’s death that five men, all club employees, chased him, held him down, and punched and kicked him. But prosecutors and police, who issued a separate statement Thursday, said witness statements did not match forensic evidence to support claims that Mohammed was beaten. ... In a news conference after his death, D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier sparked controversy by saying Mohammed was a victim of a ‘savage’ beating and ‘vigilante justice’ — claims that defense attorneys vehemently denied. ... Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), who represents the area, said Lanier’s initial comments set the tone for an agitated response in the community. ‘A big question is what motivated Chief Lanier to stir us all up by terming this a savage beating,’ he said Thursday night in a telephone interview. ‘How does she reconcile that with [the closing of the criminal case]? She set the tone for all the agitation, and now to have the final evidence that there’s no evidence for prosecution really reflects back on those earlier comments.’ ” Also WUSA-TV, WTOP, WJLA-TV, City Desk.

NOTHING TO SEE HERE? — WBJ’s Michael Neibauer digs into the allegations that the city tax office potentially failed to collect lots and lots of deed recordation taxes over the past decade. Neibauer goes through the allegations of attorney Jeffrey Mitchell and consults other real estate types, and approaches the conclusion that while the statute itself might require the city to collect taxes in the way Mitchell suggests, there is no evidence that the District ever intended to do so. “That the CFO would draft the legislation and then misinterpret the law ‘completely strains credulity,’ [Shaun Pharr of the Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington] said. Mitchell’s reading, he added, is ‘completely tortured and devoid of any legislative context.’ ‘It was never the statutory intent,’ said Pharr, who was involved in developing the tax clarity act. The CFO’s fiscal impact statement on the tax clarity act suggests that Pharr is correct, that the legislative language was not designed to garner millions of dollars for D.C. coffers. ‘Revenue impact: No revenue impact, clarifies current practice,’ according to that Sept. 28, 2000, document.” In a companion blog post, Neibauer adds: “I’m not a real estate attorney, nor am I a tax attorney. I’m a reporter. All I can do is research and report the following: To a decade of borrowers and their attorneys, you probably have nothing to worry about.”

St. E’S FACES AX — The House of Representatives was set yesterday to cut funding for the Department of Homeland Security relocation to St. Elizabeths. Ben Pershing reports at D.C. Wire: “The cut has drawn the ire of local officials as well as of the Obama administration. DHS has enough money already to complete a headquarters building for the Coast Guard, but beyond that, the White House said in a Statement of Administration Policy issued this week, the ‘bill would delay the consolidation of the Department of Homeland Security headquarters by at least two years, resulting in higher lease costs and will mean the loss of construction efficiencies and increased future construction costs.’” The Senate is unlikely to agree with the cut, and Neibauer notes at WBJ that D.C. will continue with its East Campus development plan regardless of what the feds do.

GANDHI NIXES UMC CONTRACT — Ben Fischer reports in WBJ on the latest dustup between David Catania and Natwar Gandhi over United Medical Center, with Gandhi questioning the Catania-supported obstetrics partnership between UMC and Washington Hospital Center. “The partnership between the two hospitals, which began in March, is on hold while the D.C. Council approves a revised contract, further delaying a pivotal part of the Southeast D.C. hospital’s financial revival. [Catania] hopes to introduce a new contract as soon as June 7. ... In a May 10 letter to UMC CEO Frank DeLisi, Gandhi said the original contract amount of $900,000 did not identify precise costs for several expenses necessary to implement the partnership, including equipment upgrades and increased medical malpractice premiums. Under District and federal law, open-ended contracts with D.C. entities, such as the hospital, are illegal, Gandhi said. In addition, the partnership’s real price tag has surpassed $1 million, he said, a funding level that requires D.C. Council approval.” Do note: “Both hospitals have since readily agreed to the new contract revisions.”

SOUR GRAPES — Lanier responds to allegations that she’s harder, discipline-wise, on male officers than female officers. WaTimes relays what she said on WTOP’s Ask the Chief: “Well I certainly take any of these lawsuits seriously, so I don’t want to sound like I’m dismissive of the issue. But I will say that nobody wants to be demoted and nobody wants to be disciplined. And some of these folks have already filed one lawsuit that’s been dismissed and now are trying their hand at a second lawsuit. And I will also say that I’ve had similar suits filed from every race and every gender on the police department claiming that I’ve despaired treatment against that race and that gender, so it is not uncommon.”

COP QUESTIONED IN SLAYING — A D.C. police officer is in custody and being questioned in connection with the deaths of a 20-year-old Wynetta Wright and her infant daughter, who were found Thursday in Prince George’s County. From Crime Scene: “Richmond Phillips, an active duty vice officer who has been on the force since 2003, was being questioned Friday regarding their deaths, multiple law enforcement sources said. Phillips lives in Temple Hills, according to online court records, and Wright in District Heights. ... A hearing in a child support case brought by Wright against Phillips in Prince George’s County Circuit Court was scheduled for Tuesday.”

*** SMALL PLATES ***

Remembering Isaiah Harris, gunned down at 15; arrest has been made (WAMU-FM)

Trash-to-energy plant for D.C.? (Housing Complex)

No soccer stadium planned for Capital City Market (Soccer Insider)

Graham concerned that DYRS nominee Neil Stanley steered New Beginnings job (WaTimes)

On dancing at the Jefferson Memorial: “Jiving at a national memorial isn’t civil disobedience. It’s a trivial stunt.” (Post editorial)

Yvette Alexander calls on Public Service Commission to investigate Pepco outages (WRC-TV, WTTG-TV)

Catania’s “South Capitol Street Tragedy Memorial Act” comes up for hearing; charter schools don’t like proposed screening requirement (WaTimes, WAMU-FM, WJLA-TV)

How will redistricting affect Reservation 13? (WBJ)

Metro trains will remain in herky-jerky manual mode for “several years” (the Examiner)

DCPS teacher hiring overhauled, with help from Gates Foundation (AP via The Post)

New tax commission “needs to be a serious endeavor backed by solid research” — and with a strong director, expert members and lots of resources (DCFPI)

McKinley Tech principal’s accuser says she wasn’t contacted by investigators (WTTG-TV)

107 degrees inside one city ambulance (the Examiner)

Charters not happy with new District testing regime (D.C. Schools Insider)

Fix GU’s town-gown problems by giving students more reasons to stay on campus (GGW)

Laurie Collins: “IT entrepreneur of choice for D.C. government” (WBJ)

Pay-by-phone parking will costs as much as 35 cents per transaction (the Examiner)

UDC gets $424,000 Defense grant (news release)

Gray kicks off Capital Pride with town hall on gay issues (WAMU-FM)

Man gets 30 years in Brian Betts slaying (WRC-TV)

Down with rush-hour parking restrictions! (GGW)

Heading to Dulles rail meeting at USDOT, Fairfax and Loudoun chairs drive to wrong quadrant (the Examiner)

Wilson High football coach Horace Fleming is dismissed after 29 years — “They’re all about change – whether it’s good change or bad change, they just want to change things.” (The Post)

Remembering Robert Randall, medical marijuana pioneer who died 10 years ago Thursday (DCist)

*** ON THE MENU ***

Gray cuts ribbon on LeDroit Park, 12:30 p.m. at 2025 3rd St. NW; participates in Kenilworth Park clean-up, 2:15 p.m. at Parkside Place and Burnham Place NE; holds “Neighborhood College One City Leadership Forum,” 5:45 p.m. at George Washington University’s Marvin Center, 800 21st St. NW — D.C. Council legislative meeting, 10:30 a.m. in JAWB 500

By  |  01:48 PM ET, 06/03/2011

 
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