Gray's record assailed on Fenty friend's Web site

By Tim Craig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, May 15, 2010

One of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's friends launched a Web site Friday to try to undermine mayoral candidate Vincent C. Gray by attacking his record as a D.C. Council member and former city agency head.

Ronald C. Moten, a co-founder of Peaceoholics, said is designed to show voters how Gray "helped run the city into the ground" when he led the Department of Human Services in the early 1990s. At the time, the city was often accused of doing a poor job of delivering services, and Fenty supporters say Gray shares in the blame.

"It will show he didn't care about the poor, the homeless and those that needed services," Moten said of the Web site. "If he wins, we will go right back to the old D.C., and all this recent progress will go down the drain."

The site, which Moten described as "only the beginning" of his efforts, includes newspaper stories about the human services agency from 1991 to 1994. Moten has been feuding for months with Gray, the council chairman, over the council's decision to cut city funding for Peaceoholics. He said the Web site is not connected to Fenty or his campaign.

Gray is challenging Fenty for the Democratic mayoral nomination. Fenty's campaign declined to comment Friday on the Web site.

But Gray supporters are pinning the blame for the site on the mayor. Mo Elleithee, a senior Gray adviser, accused Fenty of sending out his "henchmen" to "smear" Gray and to "deflect attention from the mayor's ethical problems," including allegations that Fenty has steered city contracts to two fraternity brothers.

"It's no surprise a discredited Fenty ally with a city contract would want to smear Vince," Elleithee said. "It's this kind of Fenty cronyism and frat-brother contracting that will end when Vince Gray becomes mayor."

Although they knew each other as teenagers, Fenty and Moten developed a closer relationship after Moten co-founded Peaceoholics in 2005. The group mentors youth and combats crime.

The organization flourished after Fenty became mayor in 2006, when it began receiving city grant funding. Last year, however, Gray and some council members limited the amount of money that flowed to the organization after a series of high-profile controversies, including the group's involvement in the donation of a city-owned firetruck and ambulance to a town in the Dominican Republic.

Moten, who resigned from Peaceoholics this year, said his campaign against Gray is not personal. But Moten said he and other Fenty supporters will no longer stand by while Gray attacks the mayor over his ethics. In his campaign kickoff speech last month, Gray took repeated swipes at Fenty for what he termed "cronyism."

"Adrian has made a lot of mistakes, but Vince has made many more," Moten said.

On his Web site, Moten highlights a 2004 Washington Post story about a computer company that received more than $11 million in no-bid contracts for services provided to St. Elizabeths Hospital during Gray's tenure at the Department of Human Resources.

"Everything you can think of, they did wrong," Moten said.

Elleithee countered Friday that Gray "helped streamline operations and reduce bureaucracy" when he headed DHS. "The Fenty campaign preaching about fiscal responsibility is almost as funny as Homer Simpson preaching about dieting," Elleithee said.

In addition to Gray's record at DHS, Moten's Web site refers to a controversy surrounding the installation of a fence last summer at Gray's Hillcrest home. It also mentions Gray's part in a long-running controversy over the award of the city lottery contract. The site uses previously published stories about Gray and the council, but Moten said he will post additional information in the coming days.

Council member Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5), a Gray supporter, accused Moten of "being irresponsible" by posting "a lot of wrong information" out of spite. "I think people should question how and where the money is coming from to fund this site," Thomas said.

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