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D.C. Fire Truck Donation Violated Procedure: OIG

Updated: April, 26 2011

High-ranking officials in ex-Mayor Adrian Fenty’s administration made several violations when donating a surplus fire truck to a Dominican resort town in 2009, according to the Office of the Inspector General.

The fire truck, and an ambulance, were en route to Sosua, Dominican Republic, when they were stopped and returned to the city. Such surplus vehicles usually go to auction, but aides in Fenty’s economic development office arranged for their donation to Sosua via the anti-youth violence group Peaceoholics. Head Peaceoholic told the Washington examiner that he and some friends of his regularly visit the Dominican beach town.

Council members Mary Cheh and Phil Mendelson asked for an investigation, and the Committee on Government Operations and the Environment determined there was an abuse of authority by several administration appointees.

“We knew there was something very wrong when the Mayor’s representatives were dealing with District property as if it were their own,” Cheh said.

The OIG report released this week came to many of the same conclusions, saying eight sections of personnel rules were violated, including improper acceptance of gifts and transporation, and underestimating the value of the fire truck. High-ranking officials failed to follow protocol for disposing of surplus Fire and EMS equipment or donating D.C. property and misapplied contracting laws.

“It concerns me that high-ranking members of the former administration knowingly violated District rules and then engaged in actually covering up the deeds by failing to do their due diligence in oversight,” Mendelson said.

The OIG report also found a failure of oversight by the Office of the Attorney General and a conflict or interest by Fenty’s general counsel, which led an internal investigation, Cheh said.

The OIG disagrees with the general counsel’s determination that the disposition was “legally and totally proper.”

Source: NBC Washington

Category: DR News |

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