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Former D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty has been cleared of wrongdoing in the awarding of contracts a company run by one of his college fraternity brothers.
"Our investigation uncovered no wrongdoing on the part of the mayor," says the Trout Report, an independent investigation commissioned by the D.C. Council into the issue. "and we found that the DPR(Department of capital funds were not transferred for the purpose of avoiding Council oversight."
In 2009, money for parks and recreation projects were diverted from the Department of Parks and Recreations, through the office of the Deputy Mayor of Economic Development, to the District's Housing Authority and then to the D.C. Housing Enterprise. The report, issued by attorney Robert Trout, who was contracted by the D.C. Council, concluded that although this transfer of funds was unusual, it was done with the sincere interest of completing the parks and recreation projects faster.
The report acknowledged that initially, there were rumors that $90 million had been transferred from the Department of Parks and Recreation to Banneker Ventures, a company run by friend and college pal Omar Karim of Adrian Fenty. But Trout said in his investigation that the actual amount of money that made it to Banneker Ventures, which was contracted to manage the parks projects, was actually much less, $4.5 million.
The funds had never been approved by the D.C. Council, which by city rules, must vote on expenditures of over $1 million. The report said that the Housing Authority was wrong for not having secured Council approval before awarding the contract. However, it conluded the agency was not intentionally trying to avoid the Council's oversight.
Although Fenty emerged from the report largely unstained, Trout recommended that Omar Karim and Sinclair Skinner, also a fraternity brother, should be further investigated for their role in the park and recreation projects. According to the report, the two overcharged the city for their services.