Gray's Wallet Part of Fenty's Budget Solution?

Council chairman fined hundreds for building code violation

By Arlene Borenstein
|  Wednesday, Apr 14, 2010  |  Updated 8:51 PM EDT
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Gray's Wallet Part of Fenty's Budget Solution?

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Vincent Gray

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Council Chairman Vincent Gray is getting some heat from the D.C. government.

He is being fined for a 6-foot-high aluminum fence he built around his house in 2008. Officials say He didn't file a public space permit application for the fence and will be fined $300 a day for the violation, officials said. D.C. Department of Transportation spokeswoman Karyn LeBlanc confirmed that her department would mailGray citations "each day until the matter is resolved."

The first reportedly was mailed Tuesday. The pressure was really on after D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles spoke up about the fence issue.

 According to Washington City Paper:

Peter Nickles goes on the offensive on the Vince Gray fence issue. In another WaTimes piece from Jeffrey Anderson, the AG 'said he was "mystified" that Mr. Gray had yet to file a completed permit application for the fence and a stone retaining wall installed two years ago...."Why does The Washington Times, two years after the fact, have to alert us that such a large project was done without permits?" Mr. Nickles said. "Then, once we know, why doesn't the city deal with it immediately? That's what an ordinary citizen would expect."' Nickles added that he is 'unhappy with the performance of our agencies' in the matter. He tells Anderson that $300-a-day fines begin today.

The chairman's spokesperson, Doxie McCoy, sent out an email Wednesday regarding the timeline in which Gray responded to the fine.

To be clear, Chairman Gray and his attorney initiated the process of filing the required permits and paperwork for his fence several weeks ago and the Chairman has cooperated fully with all of the pertinent District agencies. On Monday, his attorney informed the Chairman that his permit application to DDOT was complete. Therefore, we do not understand why there would be a need for any fines given his continuing efforts to clear up any unresolved issues. The last portion of McCoy's email also addressed the media's response to the fine. "Some TV reports have implied that his filing just happened this week, when in fact, as I said earlier, the process began weeks ago when the issue of permits first surfaced. "

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's proposed budget for fiscal 2011 relies on at least $72 million in new and increased fees and penalties as part of an effort to close a $523 million shortfall, according to the Washington Post. Maybe he is just making Gray the example. Gray is currently running for Mayor against Fenty.

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