The new FBI headquarters was the fly in the ointment at an otherwise friendly lunch involving area political leaders Thursday.
The FBI and its 11,000 employees are looking to move from downtown D.C. -- a potential economic windfall wherever the new headquarters lands.
At Thursday’s gathering, regional leaders were supposed to be discussing local cooperation, not competition.
Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett bluntly said the FBI would go to Prince George's County, to which Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., added, “and hell freezes over.”
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray mocked the whole idea of cooperation on the FBI.
The D.C. Chamber of Commerce and Washington Business Journal forum also touched on transportation, housing and worries companies play one jurisdiction against another for tax breaks.
Connolly said the Marriott Corp. "extorted" $35 million from Montgomery County to stay there instead of moving to Fairfax.
“I used the word to make a point,” Connolly said. “I didn’t use it in the legal sense.”
Private business leaders said there's natural competition, but the region can benefit as a whole.
“Rather than us looking at our own jurisdictions … what is the right thing for the region?” said Barbara Lang of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce.