Why all this attention? The Post itself seemed puzzled in its Feb. 12 editorial, spending hundreds of words trying to explain why it was so cross with me after it had endorsed me in every one of my election campaigns.
Much of what was written would have been red-lined out of a news story. But editorial is opinion, and pretty much anything goes.
The Post builds much of its case on speculation regarding a four-year-old conversation I had with a group bidding to become the local and majority partner in the D.C. Lottery contract. While I cannot recall every detail of the meeting, I remember repeatedly challenging the qualifications of the bidders and the irresponsible actions of one of the group’s principals, who had held a D.C. government lease and alcohol license at the Reeves Municipal Center, later revoked, for the notorious Club U. I expressed similar strong reservations at a D.C. Council hearing on April 7, 2008.
Members of this group were also involved with Banneker Ventures, an engineering and contracting firm that, in 2009, would be at the center of allegations of political cronyism, lack of qualifications and overbilling. Indeed, Banneker executives were compelled to testify before the council about what they did and didn’t do with millions in city contracts. The council’s special counsel, Robert Trout, concluded his examination of the matter by recommending that the U.S. attorney conduct “further investigation” into Banneker officials regarding these contracts.
For some reason, The Post sees an injustice perpetrated against those bidding for the lottery, as well as against Banneker and its principals. I do not agree. Let’s get some clarity on the facts.
First and foremost, there is zero allegation of any crime — because none was committed. There is also no suggestion of any financial gain by me.
The Post brushes aside, with little or no mention, these facts:
● No evidence of wrongdoing by Graham, the D.C. inspector general concluded last month in a lengthy review of my involvement with the lottery contract process.
● No evidence of wrongdoing by Graham, the Metro general counsel concluded in a five-page letter dated May 28, 2010, after a careful review of the major points raised by attorney A. Scott Bolden concerning the lottery and Metro projects. The review found that the problem with Banneker’s Metro bid was Banneker. The contractor missed deadlines, slashed its initial offer for the land and failed to demonstrate the capacity to do the work.