City State: Morning Roundup

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Developer considers financing Gray recall effort; Renewed gay-marriage debate begins in Annapolis; Jack Johnson yet to enter prison; Evans schedules meeting on D.C. online gambling; Cuccinelli announced rat-relocation summit; Victims identified in police chase; Gary wants probe of ill-fated housing deal.

Millionaire developer R. Donahue Peebles says he wants — and might be willing to finance — the recall of D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, council Chairman Kwame R. Brown and other elected officials. Mr. Peebles, a D.C. native who was reared by a single mother and became the owner and CEO of the largest black-owned real estate development company in the country, also says he regrets not running for mayor in 2010, reports Jeffrey Anderson of The Washington Times.

A Maryland Senate committee will hold a public hearing today on a bill by Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, that would make Maryland the eighth jurisdiction to legalize gay marriage. Opponents got a head start on the debate Monday night when they rallied in Annapolis to defeat gay marriage for a second straight year. The debate and effort to pass the legislation in the Democrat-controlled assembly is expected to be marquee battle in this year’s 90-day session, reports David Hill of The Times.

Former Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson, who pleaded guilty last year in a federal corruption investigation, will have two more weeks of freedom. Johnson was sentenced in December to more than seven years in prison for extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from developers and accepting assorted gifts. He was scheduled to turn himself in on Friday, but the federal Bureau of Prisons says it hasn’t completed its evaluation or finalized plans on where to send him. Johnson, a Democrat, is expected to serve his sentence at the Butner federal prison in North Carolina, according to the Associated Press.

D.C. Council member Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, has scheduled a hearing Wednesday that will allow lawmakers for the first time to weigh in on a bill to repeal the city’s online gambling program. Mr. Evans‘ Committee on Finance and Revenue will mark up a bill that eliminates controversial iGaming from the city’s lottery system, according to The Times.

D.C. officials will meet with counterparts from Maryland and Virginia to discuss the threat of rodents relocating from Washington to neighboring states, Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II’s office said Monday. Mr. Cuccinelli recently set off a media firestorm when he alleged that a little-known D.C. law could force the city’s animal-control companies to dump trapped rats in Maryland and Virginia. The law exempts most rodents from its purview and allows companies to pursue four options with animals they’ve trapped, including relocation — but only with the property owner’s permission — and euthanasia, report the Washington Examiner.

The Metropolitan Police Department has identified two of the three people involved in a fatal crash Sunday when their vehicle was being pursued by a police cruiser. The victims have been identified as Thaddeus Alphonso Howard, 19, and William Kurland Joseph Adams IV, 18, both of Northwest Washington. They were killed when their minivan spun out of control, then struck a tree and a police cruiser. The third occupant, a juvenile, remains in critical condition, according to The Times.

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray says he will ask the city’s Office of the Inspector General to investigate how and why the District of Columbia spent $5.5 million to renovate vacant apartment buildings in a deal that went sour. Peaceoholics, the nonprofit group that proposed building the housing for at-risk young men in 2008, no longer owns the three apartment complexes, which were purchased with money from the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development. The agency appears to have done little vetting before it transferred the properties in 2011 from Peaceoholics to Richard Hagler, who has faced more than a dozen lawsuits alleging such problems as shoddy construction and breach of contract, according to The Washington Post.

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