When Mayor Marion Barry's 14-member transition team convened for its final meeting, one item mentioned, but not further discussed, was the D.C. Armory Board, which operates the city's armory and RFK Stadium.
Some transition team members felt there were two reasons for concern. The board has a $20,000-a-year promotional expense fund that is not audited by the District government. Rather, the expenditures are monitored by the three-member Armory Board. More-over, transition members fretted, two of the board members were serving with questionable -- though legally documentable -- status.
Labor leader J. C. Turner is chairman of the board, even though his term expired two years ago. A second member, former city administrator Julian R. Dugas, served on the board as a stand-in for Mayor Walter E. Washington. Now that Washington is out of office, the board is not sure if Dugas is on the board or off.
Robert H. Sigholtz, general manager of the armory and the stadium, said he sees no cause for alarm on either count. Transition team members had no specific allegations of wrongdoing, but some were concerned about the potential for abuse.
"It's a serious situation," one key transition team member said. "You've got two guys who are there beyond their terms making decisions. About what, we don't know. The whole situation is just kind of explosive."
The concerns were not included in the transition report, sources said, for fear that public knowledge of such problems could hamper the mayor, should he decide to launch an investigation.
Sources on the transition team said Barry was told about the concerns, but so far no one has been assigned to look into the problem. "It's on a back burner," a ranking Barry aide said last week. "We've just got a lot of other things to do, and how much wrong can be done with a $20,000 fund?"
When Barry met last week with the third member of the board, Gen. C. C. Bryant, commander of the D.C. National Guard, the fund was not discussed, administration sources said.
Barry advisers are concerned about a wide range of board operations, from the board decision last year to grant a $3,000 pay increase to Sigholtz, to its attitude about minority contracting, the number of its employes living in the city and its decision to change the name of the Stadium-Armory complex to the acronym Starplex.
Sigholtz said board members have never used money from the fund. He said the fund is used for press and promotional receptions, some out-of-town travel, lunches and dinners and other expenses incurred in promoting use of the two facilities. "It's used like any other business would use its promotional fund," Sigholtz said.
The board has a private auditor who looks at the expenditures, Sigholtz said. The rest of the board's books have been audited annually by the Office of Municipal Audit and Inspections (now the Office of the Inspector General).
Like nearly all the board's operating funds, money for the promotional fund comes from annual revenues of the armory and stadium operations. Until last year, the fund was allocated $10,000 a year. But the City Council doubled the amount in early 1977. Still, Sigholtz said, only about half the $20,000 was spent in 1978.
The board has yet to meet this year, largely, Sigholtz said, because he is uncertain if Dugas is still a member. A 1975 opinion by the D.C. Corporation Counsel states that members may continue to serve until someone is appointed to replace them, even if their terms have expired. That's why Turner is still on the board.
"According to that opinion," Sigholtz said, "Mr. Dugas would still be a member of the board, too, even though he was an alternate for Mr. Washington. But before we have another meeting, I want to see if we have a legally constituted board."
Nathaniel (Nate) Sims, a community activist who is one of nearly two dozen candidates for the Ward 4 City Council seat, had a unique way of getting personal political mileage out of the Mardi Gras Costume Ball given last week for De. Walter E. Fauntroy at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
While most other candidates merely shook hands or wore their campaign buttons, Sims showed up in a jogging suit with a big number 1 pinned on it and a sign reading, "Front Runner."
The Fauntroy bash had a certain "Las Vegas Night" air to it, with various game booths staffed by Fauntroy supporters from different wards and card dealers that included Rep. Mendel Davis of South Carolina, savings and loan executive William B. Fitzgerald and WHUR sportscaster Greg Mosso.
It must have been a concidence that the Ward 7 project was running the horse races. Certainly that had nothing to do with the fact that the City Council representative from that ward, Democrat Willie J. Hardy, is the council member who reported wininng $2,380 in 1977 at race tracks in Laurel, Md., and Charles Town, W. Va.