PREVIOUSLY — D.C. attorney general investigating gas station mogul

Nikita Stewart and I stayed up past our bedtime for today’s talker: Highlights from e-mails released to the D.C. Council that detail trusted adviser Lorraine Green’s central role in directing Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s hiring in the early days of his administration. “The trove of more than 800 e-mails ... contrasts with statements Green’s attorney made to The Washington Post that she did not vet or interview job candidates. Green ... was involved in matters as mundane as doling out license plate assignments and as significant as helping screen his top-level appointees, the e-mails show.” Here’s one of the best: “In December, Gray’s son, Carlos Gray, e-mailed Green with a rsum and cover letter for his ‘best friend,’ Greg Meeropol. Gray said they worked together at the D.C. Housing Authority, noting that he ‘worked on ALL of Vince’s campaigns, and played a prominent role on this Mayoral campaign.’ Green later wrote to [Gerri Mason Hall] and [Judy Banks]: ‘before I answer Greg back (to say I don’t know what he is talking about) ... are you aware of a position we are working on for him or is this another Carlos special?’ ” Much more to come.

AFTER THE JUMP — Kid gloves come out at House hearing — Irv Nathan takes a look at gas mogul — Sekou Biddle reflects — Pay freeze nixed in markup — Robert Bobb has cancer


GRAY IN THE HOUSE — Gray and D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown appeared this morning before a House Oversight subcommittee concerned about the District’s budget and a potential return of the Control Board. Despite expectations of fireworks between the recently arrested officials and top Republicans, the early questions were hardly explosive — as predicted in a preview yesterday from The Post’s Ben Pershing: “ ‘We don’t yet see anything other than the ordinary concern for a city that does have some fiscal challenges that they have to meet,’ [Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)] said. ‘We have concern but we don’t have any expectation of the control board needing to come back.’ Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who chairs the D.C. subcommittee, said the hearing had no ‘agenda, nefarious or otherwise. ... There’s no “lay in wait for a gotcha” moment. It truly is: Tell us about the fiscal state of the District’” The Post editorial board takes the opportunity to call on Congress to give the District more control over its spending: “[I]f Congress allows itself to be guided by facts and the judgment of experts, it will loosen, not tighten, its control over the city’s budget. ... If Congress is serious about the city’s fiscal viability, it would give local officials the tools they need to manage the city’s money” — particularly in the case of a federal government shutdown. Martin Austermuhle snapped a pic of Gray greeting Gowdy, and you can read Gray’s testimony. WaTimes and Examiner also previewed the hearing.

IS D.C. GETTING (GAS) HOSED? — Joe Mamo, owner of half of the District’s gas stations, has come under the scrutiny of Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan and his office’s anti-trust unit. I report in The Post: “Nathan said his investigation will probe whether Mamo’s recent expansion of his service station holdings represents an illegal monopoly under the District’s local antitrust law, which is modeled on the federal statute. The investigation might also explore whether Mamo’s dual role as a station owner and gas wholesaler represents an illegal restraint of trade. Besides owning many stations, Mamo also owns a company, DAG Petroleum, that resells gasoline from refiners to individual service stations — a ‘jobber,’ in industry parlance. Nathan’s investigation comes about four years after the D.C. Council repealed a law it had passed in 2004 that prohibited jobbers from owning individual service stations, based on competition concerns. ... Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), who supported the repeal, said she ‘made a mistake.’ ... Cheh said she is planning to introduce legislation to restore the prohibition on allowing jobbers to also own retail outlets.” Also WRC-TV, WUSA-TV, WBJ.

NOTA BENE — “Mamo is a frequent donor to city political campaigns. According to campaign finance records, Mamo, his family members and his companies have donated more than $40,000 to D.C. candidates in the past decade — including $12,000 to former mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s reelection campaign. The investigation was disclosed Wednesday at a news conference held by the man who beat Fenty, Vincent C. Gray (D). While Gray was council chairman, lobbyist Bruce C. Bereano, who is a close friend of Gray’s, lobbied on behalf of independent station owners in favor of keeping the ban on retail ownership by jobbers. But Bereano said he was not aware of the investigation and has not discussed the matter with Gray since the 2007 law was passed. He, too, said he welcomed the investigation. ‘It’s good old John D. Rockefeller coming home,’ Bereano said of Mamo.”

SEKOU LOOKS BACK — Sekou Biddle reflects on his four months as a D.C. Council member in Alan Suderman’s Loose Lips column this week: “Biddle sure looks to LL like he paid for Gray’s hiring missteps and Brown’s Navigator-fancy. But Biddle doesn’t see it that way. In a lengthy interview, he goes out of his way not to pin his defeat on Gray’s and Brown’s missteps. ‘To be frank, those things didn’t help my cause,’ is about as strong a statement Biddle would offer. ... But while Biddle wasn’t keen on pointing fingers at his political patrons for his defeat, he did allude to mistakes made by a familiar scapegoat: the media, including blogs and social networks, which Biddle says gave the public an incomplete picture of who he really is. ... ‘It was odd to me that effectively … a narrative was created very quickly about me being some sort of insider that frankly did not pay any attention to anything that I had done or anywhere I had come from,’ says Biddle, whose previous work included teaching and working for Teach for America, as well as serving as a school board member. (Of course, LL can’t help pointing out here that Biddle — as an incumbent member of the council and a candidate who raised more than $175,000 for his campaign — could have probably done more to influence the narrative about him.)” As for the future: “Biddle plans on returning to work at a nonprofit that promotes early education. But he hasn’t ruled out a return to politics, no matter how this last shot ended.”

RAISES SAVED — Mary Cheh’s proposal, on page 105 of her committee budget report, to freeze city pay raises (including step increases) was dispatched at markup yesterday, Suderman reports: “Cheh’s proposal was swiftly shot down by Councilmembers Harry Thomas Jr., Michael A. Brown, and Tommy Wells. Thomas said Cheh’s proposal was unconstitutional, and the labor unions hadn’t even had a chance to respond to her idea. Wells said it looked to him that Cheh was trying to find enough money off the backs of the city’s lower paid workers (’trash haulers, the garbage truck folk, all the folk that do not make that much money’) so the council wouldn’t have to pass the mayor’s proposed income tax increase for those making $200,000 or more. ... A council staffer tells LL the mayor’s office was scrambling today to send Thomas, Wells, and Brown into the hearing to kill Cheh’s proposal.”

ROBERT BOBB’S CANCER — In an exit interview with the Detroit Free Press, former D.C. City Administrator Robert C. Bobb disclosed that he was diagnosed with Stage 4 tongue cancer last April while serving as emergency financial manager of the Detroit Public Schools: “The cancer spread to the lymph nodes in his neck, and he had about a 40% to 50% chance of surviving five years. But after two surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation, he said his prognosis is ‘very good. Excellent.’ Bobb said he told only a handful of people about the cancer because he didn’t want his personal problem to become a distraction. ‘In some instances, it would have been used against me,’ Bobb said. ‘In other instances, it would have drawn sympathy. I didn’t want either.’ ” Bobb also discussed his future plans with the Freep: “He’ll return to his Washington-based consulting business and is writing a book on his experiences in Detroit Public Schools and in a variety of cities he has managed. ... ‘The book is in the works. It’s about people we have met along the way, the heroes and she-roes. People who are making a difference.’ ”


Gray picks Lisa Mallory to lead Employment Services (The Post)

Phil Mendelson wants $100,000 police staffing study, vexing David Catania (the Examiner)

Police boundaries to be drawn in secret? (themail)

City to start cracking down on worker’s comp recipients (City Desk)

Can the BASIS charter school “in a city that is poorer and more diverse” (The Post)

OPEFM launches pay-for-hire plan — “It’s basically free money,” says official (Housing Complex)

Will combining DRES and OPEFM into DGS hurt schools construction? (The Post)

Some dispute as to how much Cherita Whiting was paid at DPR (WaTimes)

More on “What [Kwame] Brown Can Do for You” on the budget (DCFPI)

More on Wells’ budget plans (GGW)

District woman sues over federal gun transfer law (WTOP)

Teen shot to death Sunday was DYRS ward (WaTimes)

Michelle Rhee: “I’m not for school choice for its own sake.” Pundit: “I’m not sure I understand her.” (HuffPo, Cato)

Another Fenty gig (WBJ)

OSSE to study 120 “chronic truants” at three high schools (the Examiner)

Why Mark Ein’s big idea for fixing unemployment won’t work (GGW)

COG members worried about attack response (WRC-TV, the Examiner)

All about your streetcars (Housing Complex)

John Hinckley gets more time away from St. Elizabeths (AP, Reuters)

*** ON THE MENU ***

Gray testifies at House Oversight subcommittee hearing, 8:45 a.m.; appears at Kiwanis Club Youth Leadership Awards Luncheon, 12:30 p.m. in National Press Club ballroom, 529 14th St. NW; meets with Namibian Ambassador Martin Andjaba, 3 p.m. in JAWB; attends Leadership Conference on Civil Rights awards dinner, 6 p.m. at Washington Hilton, 1919 Connecticut Avenue NW — D.C. Council budget markups: Committee on Finance and Revenue, 9 a.m. in JAWB 500; Committee on Aging and Community Affairs, 10 a.m. in JAWB 500; Committee on Housing and Workforce Development, 11 a.m. in JAWB 500; Committee on Health, 12 p.m. in JAWB 500; Committee on Economic Development, 2 p.m. in JAWB 412; Committee on Human Services, 2 p.m. in JAWB 500; Committee of the Whole, 4 p.m. in JAWB 500