This morning The Washington Examiner noted how Abdullahi Barrow’s “eminence” allowed him to obtain an engineering license in 2008 despite having failed the exam at least seven times. (That license, in turn, enabled his company to obtain city subcontracts that are now at the center of an investigation.)

Board of Professional Engineers spokesman Clive Cooks says that licenses for “eminence” are rare.

Part of the reason they’re rare is because the Board of Professional Engineers didn’t read the law thoroughly — for several years, Cooks said.

In 1999, the law was changed on engineer licenses. The bit about “eminence” was moved to another section and board officials never bothered to follow up. They simply assumed that “eminence” licenses could no longer be granted, Cooks said.

As late as August 2007, in fact, officials at the board were telling Barrow that they didn’t hand out such licenses, documents obtained by The Examiner show.