On Feb. 22, I interviewed Warren Williams in the presence of his lawyer, A. Scott Bolden. Williams is co-owner of W2 Tech, a joint venture partner with Intralot, a major international lottery vendor. W2 Tech and Intralot formed W2I, which submitted a bid on the D.C. Lottery contract. In January 2008, W2I was awarded the contract by the office of the city’s chief financial officer.
On Monday, I spoke with a second participant in the 2008 meeting. This individual would speak only on background, but this person’s identity has been disclosed to Post editors.
Both said that James Link, a lobbyist retained by W2I, arranged the meeting. Aware that Graham was known to be opposed to Williams’s participation in the lottery contract, Link reportedly sought the meeting to address any concerns from Graham about W2I’s capability to carry out the contract.
According to both participants, Graham spent the first 30-plus minutes of the meeting complaining about activities of Williams and his father in the operation of a U Street NW club inside city-leased space. The club had closed in 2005 after a violent altercation. Graham also, both said, took Williams to task for allegedly supporting one of his campaign rivals — a claim Williams denies.
Williams said that Graham produced a stack of papers that he claimed detailed the adverse effects of Williams’s business activities in the District.
Both participants said that Graham then switched gears and said directly to Williams, “You’ve been winning too much.”
The participants took that as a reference to Banneker Ventures, a general contracting and construction management firm that had landed lucrative city projects. At the time, Williams was a partner in Banneker.
Graham then said to Williams, both sources told me, “You recently won an award at a Metro site.” The meeting participants said this was a reference to Banneker Ventures having won a competition to develop a site owned by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
In 2008, Graham was the District’s representative on the Metro board; on the D.C. Council, he represented the ward where the Florida Avenue Metro project would be located.
Williams told me that he responded to Graham, “Yes, Omar did well,” a reference to Banneker Ventures’ co-owner Omar A. Karim, who put together the winning Metro bid.
Williams said that Graham told him: “Well, you’ve got to give me something in order for me to support you on the lottery, and the something I’m looking for is the WMATA project.”
Both participants told me they believed Graham was asking Banneker to withdraw from the Metro project so another bidder could win.