An investigation conducted by Mayor Marion Barry's legal counsel has concluded that Jose Gutierrez, the aide who openly criticized the administration, acted improperly in administering contracts while he headed the D.C. Department of Administrative Services, according to sources.
A report summarizing the findings, scheduled to be released by Barry on Monday, also concludes that there is no basis to allegations by Gutierrez that he was pressured by City Administrator Thomas Downs to award certain contracts for political reasons.
Gutierrez was demoted March 25 from his cabinet-level post to a job in the D.C. Planning Office after he accused Downs of attempting to pressure him to award several major contracts to the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. as a political favor to C&P executive Delano Lewis.
Gutierrez said yesterday that he expects the report, prepared by mayoral legal counsel Herbert O. Reid Sr. after a six-week investigation, to be weighted against him. He said he is prepared to answer the allegations in court if necessary.
"They can make some political hay with the report but I'm going to get it resolved in court," Gutierrez said. "I'm not going to let them question my professional integrity without challenging it."
Barry planned to release the report at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday but changed his mind at the last minute and delayed the release until Monday, when he is scheduled to return from California and Delaware.
According to one source, Barry was worried that the report's findings were "too strong" and damaging to Gutierrez and wanted to consider possible revisions or deletions. Another source said that the mayor delayed the release after conferring with a former high ranking official in his administration who is also a friend of Gutierrez.
Barry told a reporter yesterday, before departing for a black women's political forum in Los Angeles, that he decided to wait until Monday to release the report so that he would be in town for what he expects to be "two to three days of discussion" about the findings.
Asked whether he decided to hold the report at the behest of a former aide, Barry said: "I make my own decisions. That's it."
Gutierrez said yesterday that he has learned that the report will criticize him for "exceeding his authority" in leasing space in a building at 1111 E St. NW that was acquired late last year by a partnership controlled by Angel Roubin, a prominent Hispanic businessman.
The city was already leasing space in the building, for the Bureau of Traffic Adjudication, for $18.25 per square foot.
Gutierrez, as head of the administrative services department, approved leases for additional space in the building last November and January for $26.12 per square foot -- a rate that Downs and other officials believed was high.
According to an administration source, the building's previous owner had agreed to lease the additional space to the city at the old rate of $18.25 per square foot. Administration officials were puzzled, sources said, about why Gutierrez also renegotiated the existing five-year lease for the adjudication office at the rate of $26.12 per square foot,.
Gutierrez, who until recently was the highest ranking Hispanic in the Barry administration, has denied that he approved the lease as a favor to Roubin or gave him any preferential treatment. He said that before he signed the leases, he attempted to arrange a deal in which the District would end up with half ownership of the building after the lease expired. However, he said, Downs vetoed the idea and ordered him to negotiate a lease as soon as possible.
Reid and Downs declined to comment on the investigation and report.