Fenty Smells Controversy, Heads It Off

Historical Society returns $37,000 in taxpayer money

WASHINGTON -- With city spending under as much scrutiny as ever thanks to a projected three-year budget shortfall of more than $660 million, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty was wise to beat Republicans, the city council and the media to the punch in asking the attorney general to investigate Monday night's frat party.

Especially now that the council wants to hike sales, gas and cigarette taxes.

Remember Travelgate and Truck Stop? The mayor probably smelled a new controversy coming and cut it off quick. Bravo!

See, the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., accepted $37,000 from D.C. economic development officials to hold a welcome reception for Fenty's fraternity Monday night. The money covered food, drinks and live entertainment.

The grant for the frat party was inappropriate, D.C. Attorney General Peter J. Nickles ruled, and the fraternity reimbursed the city.

Fenty attended the open-bar for the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and was on stage as fraternity members thanked him for paying for the event. He didn't realize the money had come from the city, so he deftly asked the attorney general to investigate, Nickles told The Washington Post.

"There are some things in life where you just want to speak very clearly in saying this is just a mistake," Fenty told News4's Tom Sherwood.

Fenty spokeswoman Mafara Hobson told The Post that those who knew about or authorized the grant have been advised that it was an improper use of funds.

The fraternity is in town this week for a conference.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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