At the center of the controversy over the campaign finances of Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4) is Woodrow Boggs Jr., a consultant who has been Jarvis' longtime political adviser, confidant and social companion.
For years, some of Jarvis' colleagues on the council, city politicians and business leaders have privately questioned whether Boggs has sought to exploit his relationship with Jarvis to win appointment to city commissions and to obtain consulting contracts with groups lobbying the council.
Boggs' frequently blunt style has irritated some politicians and business leaders. Yet his closeness to Jarvis, chairman of the Committee on Housing and Economic Development, which oversees important commercial projects and financial regulations, has prevented critics from publicly challenging him, according to political observers.
However, an audit of Jarvis' 1984 campaign committee's finances released yesterday by the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance severely criticized Boggs' management of committee funds and recommended that Jarvis, Boggs and two other former campaign aides be cited for violations of the city's campaign finance laws.
The audit found that Boggs, the manager of Jarvis' 1984 reelection campaign, improperly authorized $161,957 in campaign committee checks and cashed nearly $5,000 in campaign checks written out to "cash."
The report marks the first time that Boggs' handling of Jarvis' political activities has been publicly and officially criticized.
Jarvis, who has been considering a bid for mayor this year, has dismissed the report as a politically inspired attempt by the administration of Mayor Marion Barry to undermine her. She has called Keith Vance, the director of the Office of Campaign Finance, "a hired hand of the mayor."
Both Jarvis and Boggs yesterday declined to discuss specifics of the report on the advice of a lawyer retained to represent Jarvis' campaign committee.
"We obviously want to comply" with the city's campaign finance law, Boggs said in a brief interview. "All we can do is address the concerns to the best of our ability. We will continue to submit documents to satisfy [Vance's] concerns. We just don't give credence to the rest of it."
Vance's office previously issued preliminary reports citing problems with Jarvis' campaign finance reports. District officials and others interviewed yesterday that they were not surprised by the final report.
"People have talked about [Jarvis and Boggs] behind closed doors ever since Charlene has been down here," the council member said. "Everyone, including her friends, was convinced that Woody [was] a ticking time bomb."
Others said the audit is bound to hurt Jarvis politically, but they differed over what the ultimate fallout will be.
"Here's a leading public official who wants to be mayor of the city," said the council member. "If you can't run your campaign, how are you going to keep the city straight?"
A Democratic party activist said he doubts Jarvis will suffer permanent damage if the matter is confined to technical violations. "I don't think this means much to her," the Democratic politician said. "She seems to have a clean perception. People really wonder why she hangs around with him [Boggs]."
Jarvis and Boggs in the past have denied that Boggs has tried to take advantage of his relationship with the council member. In fact, Boggs said that his work for Jarvis has actually hurt him financially.
Asked about Boggs in an interview earlier this year, Jarvis said: "Do I have a political adviser? Yes. So does the mayor. So does [President] Reagan. So does every other political figure."
Boggs, 44, a Chicago native, graduated from Howard University Law School in 1970. He was a member of the Kentucky bar from 1973 through 1970 and has been a housing and political consultant here for many years.
In 1979, he worked at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for three months as a special assistant to former D.C. City Council Chairman Sterling Tucker, who at the time was an assistant HUD secretary.
During one 14-month period in 1983 and 1984, Jarvis named Boggs to chair a city government study commission charged with overhauling the city's unemployment compensation fund; appointed him to a city advisory panel on cable television; selected him to be a general counsel for a foundation set up to promote business along Georgia Avenue NW, and twice hired him as a paid consultant to her council committee.
Boggs received a total of $15,517 as a consultant to Jarvis' council committee and $2,700 as chairman of the unemployment commission, according to city officials. He also had use of city-leased offices the commission had at 1012 14th St. NW. Last summer, a portrait of Boggs was observed by a reporter in one of those offices. The offices are now occupied by a new commission Jarvis helped establish -- the District of Columbia Housing Production Commission.
Boggs was the Housing Production Commission's senior housing consultant until a staff was hired but received no salary, a Jarvis spokeswoman said yesterday.
While a paid consultant to Jarvis' council committee in 1983, Boggs was also a lobbyist for the local Association of Trial Attorneys and helped it conduct a campaign to block adoption of a no-fault insurance law in the District. The lawyers paid Boggs $10,000.
Boggs also has worked within the past year as a paid consultant to the Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington, a major city real estate lobbying group that frequently appears before the council.