This might not be happening if he’d run for mayor.
D.C. developer Don Peebles, who played Hamlet on a mayoral run for the better part of the year, is now being sued by the government he could have led. Washington City Paper’s Alan Suderman reportsAttorney General Peter Nickles alleges that Peebles’s MLK Associates “was trying to get the city to pay for $1.25 million worth of ‘improper charges,’ including a fundraiser and political contributions.”
The District and MLK Associates shared a lease on a building in Southeast for 20 years, with the city responsible for a share of operating costs. Earlier this year, MLK Associates said the city still owed it $3 million, but Nickles is suing based on an independent audit showing that more than one-third of that amount was “not supported.”
The Washington Examiner says the case “highlights the District’s systemic failure to track its bills.” Though he’s not excusing Peebles for possible overbilling, At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson told the Examiner, “Any time the city has a bill, it should be sent to an auditor to make sure it’s accurate. … Now, in a high-profile dramatic way, we’re trying to get back what’s owed.”
As the Washington Post’s Mike DeBonis reports, Peebles is a longtime foe of exiting mayor Adrian Fenty. Though he decided against running himself, Peebles “helped bankroll an independent expenditure campaign aimed at ousting Fenty, spending nearly $100,000 on the ‘Coalition for a Better District of Columbia.’”
Elsewhere in the DMV:
* Is Fenty glad to go? The Examiner’s Freeman Klopott says Fenty “had a bit of a Freudian slip Wednesday morning.” Introducing Mayor-elect Vincent Gray at a groundbreaking, “Fenty said, ‘I couldn’t be happier to turn the government over to…,’ then he cut himself short. The crowd laughed and he started over. ‘I couldn’t be happier to turn the podium over to Mayor-elect Vince Gray.’”
As for Gray, City Paper’s Suderman issues his “first report card.” Gray “may not be the official mayor yet, but that’s just a technicality. Gray is, after all, making the big decisions these days,” and his “record over the last 60 days gives clues to what kind of job he’ll do as mayor.” Suderman says the results are mixed. Gray moved Michelle Rhee out the door with little fallout, and got good reviews on naming Kaya Henderson as her interim successor. He also quickly and frankly addressed the city budget crisis. But Gray has been plagued by small but symbolic missteps like missing a police officer’s funeral and having his election night party at a club whose owner owes D.C. back taxes.
* Talking Points Memo says Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz may not become our Capitol Hill pseudomayor after all. Chaffetz could give up the leadership of the House Oversight Committee’s subcommittee dealing with District affairs in order to take on another assignment. That could put California Rep. Brian Bilbray or Pennsylvania Rep. Bill Shuster in charge of D.C. in the House.
* During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” Wednesday, Gov. Bob McDonnell said he believes Sarah Palin “is qualified” to be president: “I think Sarah Palin’s been a mayor, she’s been governor of a state. I happen to be partial and think governors make great chief executive officers and have the experience to be good chief executive officers of the United States.” However, McDonnell -- who has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential contender -- said there will probably be “10 or more” GOP presidential candidates, and he will make a decision on an endorsement “down the road.”
* The Virginia 2012 U.S. Senate race is already heating up. The Post reports possible Republican candidates George Allen, Bob Marshall, and Corey Stewart will be hosting “competing hospitality suites at the annual Republican Advance” in McLean later this month. Hosting a suite “has long been a way for Republicans to signal their intention to run for big offices, not to mention hob-nob with their fellow party members.”
* The Post reports Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler has filed a complaint against Julius Henson, a longtime Democratic political consultant who went to work for Republican Bob Ehrlich this year. Gansler alleges that Henson’s “anonymous election-night robocalls were designed to suppress the Democratic vote and violated federal law.”
* The Examiner reports Maryland “is facing a $1.6 billion hole in fiscal 2012 that cannot be plugged without a drastic cut in services.” The state is “also at its debt limit, and the rainy day fund needs $30 million to stay solvent.” The Post says in order to close the gap, Gov. Martin O’Malley and the legislature “must cut programs, payrolls or other funding commitments” by about 10 percent.
* Why are the buses yelling at us? As a reader of Unsuck D.C. Metro complains, Metrobuses “are now screaming ‘PEDESTRIANS, BUS IS TURNING’ and then again in Spanish. It’s so loud it wakes me at night and can be heard for blocks and blocks around.”
Greater Greater Washington’s Rob Pitingolo says taking what Metro says is a pilot program system-wide “would be a poor use of resources and would do little to improve safety.” While everyone loves a talking car, at least if it’s driven by David Hasselhoff, Pitingolo says “for those on the street and riders on the bus, listening to the same safety message on repeat for an extended period of time is enough to drive most people at least a little crazy.”
* The Falls Church News-Press reports that the Falls Church School Board has approved a resolution calling for an end to the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on gay and lesbian soldiers. A laudable stance, but a bit outside the purview of a local school board, isn’t it? Perhaps next they’ll weigh in on global warming, or Federal Reserve policy.
* The AP reports the D.C. Department of Health will move its second annual Bed Bug Summit to a larger venue because so many people want to attend.
* Nationals Enquirer has a snapshot of the new Nats home jersey. It’s not hideous, but it’s not very striking, either.
* Restonian takes a look at the latest video from the Reston Association. This month’s topic: the Six Noble Truths of the Essential Reston.
* The Metro D.C. Lawn and Garden Blog has some ideas on how to thank a veteran today.
Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitter at @PJOinDC