Supporters of Rep. Stan Parris (R-Va.) accused Alexandria Mayor James P. Moran Jr. (D) yesterday of intervening with city housing officials to benefit two developers who contributed to his congressional campaign, a charge Moran denied.
Moran and Parris are vying to represent Northern Virginia's 8th Congressional District in Tuesday's election, in one of the area's most bitterly contested and expensive campaigns.
Alexandria Republican Chairman W. Michael Holm and Yvonne Weight, a former member of the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority, said at a news conference that Moran lobbied the Housing Authority board on behalf of two Washington developers, Conrad Cafritz and John K. Freeman. Each man gave Moran's campaign $1,000 in March.
Holm and Weight said that in June, Moran called authority board members and attempted to change their minds about a project involving the Cafritz-Freeman Group. On June 28, the authority awarded federal rent subsidies for 27 apartments to a complex the group owned. Three days earlier, the board had rejected the subsidies. Moran said he spoke to two board members about the issue during that three-day period.
Holm said the incident and several others raise questions about Moran's ethics. Moran was convicted of conflict of interest in 1984.
"Jim Moran has a habit of doing things to help people who make a sizable contribution to his campaign," Holm said. The question is, is he a politician that's for sale? And the evidence in this case appears to say yes."
Moran vehemently denied yesterday that he had acted improperly. He said the rent subsidies were part of a larger deal in which Cafritz-Freeman agreed to pay the city $800,000 to finance low-income housing and to set aside more than 60 apartments for poor residents.
Moran also said that one of the authority board members to whom he spoke, Ron Fitzsimmons, continued to oppose the rent subsidy awards. Fitzsimmons is now issues director in Moran's campaign.
Yesterday's news conference marked the third time since Labor Day that Parris supporters have raised allegations of impropriety against Moran and attempted to link them with Moran's 1984 conviction on conflict of interest. In that instance, Moran resigned from Alexandria City Council after he cast a vote that aided a developer with whom he had a business relationship.
Moran contended yesterday that none of the allegations raised by Parris supporters has had any merit, and that Parris campaign officials are attempting to revive accounts of the 1984 incident.