D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles used “poor judgment” and “compromised” the interests of the District when he agreed to pay $550,000 to Banneker Ventures last week, even as the D.C. Council is probing the parks and recreation deal between the company and the Fenty administration, council members said in a letter obtained by The Washington Examiner.
Banneker, which is owned by a friend and fraternity brother of Mayor Adrian Fenty, claimed the city owed it $3.2 million for work it did on parks and recreation facilities. The contract was terminated late last year by the council after Nickles determined the mayor had illegally bypassed the council when it handed the contract to Banneker.
The settlement was made two weeks before the council is scheduled to receive a report from lawyer Robert Trout, who the council hired to conduct an independent investigation into how the contract was handled.
In a joint letter to Nickles, Councilmembers Phil Mendelson, Harry Thomas and Mary Cheh demand a copy of the settlement agreement.
“District taxpayers are now twice injured by this matter,” the councilmembers wrote. “The District having apparently paid an exorbitant mark-up when the contract was first issued, and now paying the vendor a large sum of money for no other reason than to bring this matter rapidly to a close.”