D.C. Council member Willie J. Hardy (D-Ward 7) charged yesterday that the city's chief prosecutor filed a lawsuit against her and a community group she heads as punishment for her endorsement of City Council Chairman Sterling Tucker, a candidate for mayor.
In papers filed in the D.C. Superior Court, Hardy denied any wrongdoing and contended the D.C. Corporation Counsel John R. Risher Jr. brought the suit against the last month for the purpose of "punishing, harassing, intimidating an inhibiting" Hardy's constitutional right to free speech.
Risher, who has announced he will resign as corporation counsel June 25, is a confidant of Mayor Walter E. Washington, a candidate for reelection. Risher said earlier that Hardy would have to prove her allegations "in court."
The lawsuit centers on a grant of $50,000 in federal funds made by the city to The Community Task Force for the Safety of Children and Youth Inc., a nonprofit corporation that Hardy chairs.
The city contends that the task force owes $2,606 in matching funds -- as part of the giant agreement -- and $6,796 to cover task force expenditures that the city contends were not adequately documented.
In the court papers, Hardy and the task force "categorically deny" they owe the money and contend they provided adequate records of expenditures.
Hardy also contends that a total of $1,050 from three checks signed by her was used exclusively for task force programs.