Williams Decides Not to Run Again
Who Will Lure Backers Remains Unclear
The race for mayor will be without incumbent Anthony A. Williams (D), who will not seek a third term. To be answered is what steps a successor would take toward development of the Anacostia riverfront, public housing and caring for the city's poor, as well as the future of a hospital that Williams wants to build for Howard University to run.
Five Democrats have announced as candidates in the 2006 race for mayor. They are expected to wage an aggressive campaign to pick up endorsements and funding from the mayor's backers. Some of Williams's most ardent supporters said they have not decided whether to back any of the current candidates.
Developer Indicted on Bribery Charges
Allegations Involve Former City Official
A major city developer, Douglas Jemal, was indicted on charges of bribing a city official to get sweetheart contracts that cost taxpayers millions. Prosecutors said he got two major leases and other deals and handed out about $25,000 in gifts. Two executives in his company, Douglas Development Corp., also were indicted.
Most of the allegations involve dealings with Michael A. Lorusso, the former deputy director of the D.C. Office of Property Management who pleaded guilty last year to bribery conspiracy charges.
Judge Throws Out Assessments
Property Valuations Described as Arbitrary
Widespread discrimination forced owners of less-expensive houses to bear an excessive tax burden, said a D.C. Superior Court judge who invalidated a third of the city's 2002 residential property tax assessments.
Judge Eugene N. Hamilton, who said assessments of 35,000 properties were arbitrary and capricious, ordered the District and those who brought the suit to propose remedies. However, attorneys said it could be years, if ever, before taxpayers feel the effect.
Ladner Loses Support of Some Trustees
Board Majority Says AU President Should Leave
Benjamin Ladner, suspended as president of American University, was the subject of a board of trustees meeting at which a majority concluded that he must be replaced, according to two sources close to the board.
Ladner has been the target of investigations, protests at the school and a no-confidence vote by the faculty over questions about his spending and compensation.
Roughly half of the board members, including some of Ladner's strongest supporters, issued a statement saying they had "serious concerns" about the president.
Baby Dies in Columbia Heights Fire
4 Children Were Left With Great-Grandmother
A 10-month-old baby, left in the care of his great-grandmother, died in a fire in Columbia Heights. The woman, 83, and three other children she was caring for escaped.
Officials determined that a candle left burning in Jonah Flores's room led to the fire.
Panda Cub Turns 12 Weeks Old
Crawling to Be Next Milestone
The National Zoo's male panda cub has doubled in length, put on weight and gained strength since his first examination two months ago, officials said. They said the cub, now 12 weeks old, could be crawling around within two weeks.
Across the Region
Arrest in Md. Stabbing; National Harbor Grows
* A 15-year-old girl was charged with second-degree murder in the death of another 15-year-old girl who was stabbed after a football game at James Hubert Blake High School in Silver Spring.
* The Prince George's County Council voted unanimously to allow the developer of National Harbor to add 2,500 houses to the hotel, office and retail project going up along the Potomac waterfront.