- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
- U.N. warns of Muslim ‘cleansing’ in Central African Republic
- Senate blocks change to military sex assault cases
- Drug mix may have cured child born with HIV, doctors say
- De Blasio’s wife irks former mansion chef with ‘servant’ remark
- Russia’s neighbors shiver amid Putin’s Cold War moves in Ukraine
- New SAT: The essay portion is to become optional
- Military group can’t march to honor the fallen at Boston Marathon due to security changes
- Senate passes bills deleting ‘retarded’ from laws
Mayoral challenger’s claim of filed permit called ‘not true’
A day after D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray announced his candidacy for mayor, a city official rejected his claim that he has filed, under threat of costly fines, an application for a 6-foot-high fence he built in 2008 without a permit.
“This is not true,” wrote Lamont Regester, chief inspector for the D.C. Department of Transportation, in a reply to a letter from Mr. Gray’s lawyer on Monday that claimed the newly announced mayoral candidate had filed a permit application March 11. “This agency has never received a proper submission.”
Since March 4, the department has been threatening to fine Mr. Gray, challenger to incumbent Adrian M. Fenty, $300 for every day he fails to follow the law. So far, it has not imposed any fines.
Mr. Gray has long criticized Mr. Fenty for rewarding his friends with lucrative city contracts, hoarding baseball tickets and exploiting the trappings of office.
But last year, following a series of articles by The Washington Times, Mr. Gray became the subject of an investigation by the Office of Campaign Finance for allowing a mega-developer, close personal friend, campaign donor and president of a company on whose projects Mr. Gray has voted to oversee unauthorized repairs at his $667,000 home in the Hillcrest section of Southeast Washington.
Mr. Gray at first denied that the friend, W. Christopher Smith Jr., had had anything to do with the repairs. He then confirmed it and produced receipts showing that Mr. Smith’s company, which was not a licensed home-improvement contractor at the time, was planning a major home renovation for Mr. Gray that never materialized.
The Times then reported that Mr. Gray had had a different contractor build a retaining wall and a 6-foot-high, 357-foot-long aluminum fence around his large corner lot in 2008, also without proper permits.
At least two D.C. agencies await resolution of the matter: the Departments of Transportation and Consumer Regulatory Affairs, which requires a hearing before the Public Space Committee for fences more than 42 inches high. Mr. Gray’s fence measures 72 inches high, according to the unlicensed, out-of-state company that installed it.
D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles said recently that he is “mystified” that Mr. Gray has not managed to resolve the matter. Mr. Gray, who originally hired D.C. power lawyer Frederick D. Cooke Jr., now is represented by another lawyer, former D.C. Attorney General Robert J. Spagnoletti.
According to the city Department of Transportation, Mr. Spagnoletti’s firm misfiled Mr. Gray’s permit application to the wrong agency.
“DDOT can assume no responsibility for this mistake,” Mr. Regester wrote Wednesday to Mr. Gray’s lawyers, who declined to comment.
Doxie McCoy, communications director for Mr. Gray, said the office had “nothing to say” on Mr. Gray’s relationship with Mr. Smith or the multiple unauthorized improvements to his property.
About the Author
TWT Video Picks
By Tammy Bruce
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- DELAY: A revolution for the Constitution
- Unemployment insurance vote could happen next week
- Otter attacks, kills alligator at Florida wildlife refuge
- Back to the Future: HUVr Tech marketing video goes viral with hoverboard release tease
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- R-S-P-E-C-T: Find out what it means for Obama
- BRUCE: Obama's bizarre immigration rules
- PRUDEN: Likening Putin to Hitler on Ukraine shows Hillary's shaky grasp of history
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again