De-Gifted Fire Truck on the Auction Block

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Tom Sherwood, NBCWashington.com
    Councilman Mendelson standing guard.

    One of two pieces of fire equipment at the center of a 2009 controversy is being auctioned online.

    The bidding is up to $4,500 for the D.C. fire truck, which, along with an ambulance, were en route to a Dominican Republic resort town when they were stopped and returned to the city. They are surplus vehicles, which usually go to auction, but last year, aides in D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty's economic development office arranged for their donation to the town of Sosua via the anti-youth violence group Peaceoholics. Head Peaceoholic told the Washington Examiner last year that he and some friends of his regularly visit the Dominican beach town.

    A D.C. Council report found that some of the aides also had traveled to Sosua for social reasons, including Super Bowl parties.

    The Washington Business Journal reported that the attempted donation was organized by the mayor's chief development adviser, David Jannarone, and controversial Fenty friend Sinclair Skinner.

    The council committees found the donation disturbing, especially given Skinner's role, but not criminal. Ward 3 Councilwoman Mary Cheh deemed it "merely the pet project — even if well-intentioned — of a senior District official and a well-connected nongovernment individual."

    Cheh has since introduced legislation to strengthen city procurement laws. Councilman Phil Mendelson issued an extensive report as well. Nickles panned the council reviews as a waste of time.

    The mayor of Sosua has since said his city lost $11,000 on the deal, money he said was paid in cash to Skinner to cover the cost of transporting the vehicles.

    Fenty said he didn't know about the attempted donation until the media reported it.


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