- The Washington Times - Friday, September 2, 2011

Mayor Vincent C. Gray should not have to testify this month about the D.C. Lottery contract because it is “unduly burdensome” and his legislative activities as council chairman are shielded by law, according to papers filed by D.C. Attorney General Irv Nathan.

The motion filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., is in response to an Aug. 23 subpoena that requests Mr. Gray’s deposition on Sept. 15 in the matter of Eric Payne v. the District of Columbia.

Mr. Payne, a former contract manager for the D.C. chief financial officer, filed a five-count lawsuit against the city, accusing Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi of retaliating against him when he claimed that elected officials, including then-council chairman Gray, improperly intervened to thwart the selection of a vendor to run the city’s lottery contract in 2008.

After making the complaints, Mr. Payne was reassigned to lesser duties and ultimately fired in 2009. The lottery contract was rebid and was the subject of a bitter and protracted dispute.

Now attorneys working on Mr. Gray’s behalf say Mr. Payne and his legal team have not justified their request to hear from the mayor.

“The Court should not allow plaintiff to burden Mayor Gray, a high-ranking city official, because plaintiff cannot show that the Mayor has personal knowledge that could not be obtained from another source,” the motion says.

It also says Mr. Gray has “absolute legislative immunity in connection with his legislative activities when he served on the Council cannot be compelled testify about them.”

Mr. Payne has also subpoenaed CFO Natwar Gandhi and council members Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, and Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat.Motion

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