- Marionville mayor ‘kind of agreed’ with Kansas City shooter’s views
- Rev. Al Sharpton’s Easter message: Politically ‘crucified’ Obama has risen again
- Supreme Court to weigh challenge to ban on campaign lies
- UNICEF launches ‘Mr. Poo’ mascot in India to curb public defecation
- Teen taking selfie by train: ‘Wow, that guy just kicked me in the head’
- Goodbye, Afghanistan — hello, Africa: Air Force to shift as U.S. exits Middle East
- Iran mulls ban on vasectomies, decrease on abortions to bolster population
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers ‘more deadly than jihadists’
- Classes resume at high school rocked by stabbings
- ABC News accuses Center for Public Integrity of stealing Pulitzer-winning work
CBE haven also a home base for Ward 8 politico
A three-bedroom Colonial on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Southeast that houses a dozen businesses and received $3.5 million from the District government since 2010 also serves as a home base for a longtime Ward 8 politico with a history of debt and dubious financial dealings with the city, records show.
The house at 3215 MLK Jr. Ave., the site of the nonprofit Congress Heights Community Training & Development Corp., lists Phinis Jones as registered agent. It also is a haven for 12 small and minority-owned for-profit businesses known as Certified Business Enterprises, or CBEs, several of which have ties to Mr. Jones.
And despite personal and business judgments in excess of $155,000 in D.C. and Maryland since 2000, according to court records, Mr. Jones and his various companies, along with other small businesses at that address, have managed $62,000 in contributions to D.C. politicians in the past seven years.
Monica Ray, owner of the house, receives $125,000 a year to run the Congress Heights nonprofit, in addition to roughly $7,200 per month in rent from her CBE “tenants.” She said Mr. Jones operates out of 3200 MLK Jr. Ave., but city records show that Capitol Services Management Inc., a for-profit CBE set up to receive D.C. contracts, is located at 3215 MLK Jr. Ave., with Mr. Jones listed as registered agent.
The Congress Heights nonprofit and the for-profit CBE share goals to promote economic development in a disadvantaged neighborhood. A review of city records shows both firms receive District funding on some of the same projects. D.C. property records also show that the Independent Holding Corp. owns 3200 MLK Jr. Ave., with a business address at 3215 MLK Jr. Avenue with Mr. Jones as its registered agent. That property, as of March 23, owed the city $2,712 in taxes.
Mr. Jones did not return calls. But on a recent visit to 3215 MLK Jr. Ave., Ms. Ray objected to questions about her arrangement with Mr. Jones after an employee of the Congress Heights nonprofit told The Washington Times that the 12 for-profit CBEs listed at the address three of which have ties to Mr. Jones simply rent mailboxes.
Ms. Ray later described the house as an “incubator” where CBEs rent office space for their fledgling businesses. One of the 12 business owners listed at that address told The Times the rent is $600 per month.
District Development Group and P & M Development Corp. both of which list Mr. Jones as their registered agent call 3215 MLK Jr. Ave. their home. As do firms called 3132 MLK Jr. Avenue Corp. and The Mitchell Company Inc.
A call to the Mitchell Co. was returned by a man who said he was the owner. He hung up at the mention of Mr. Jones. Campaign finance records show the five non-CBEs at that address contributed $24,500 to local campaigns since 2005.
The various groups’ political moves are clearly coordinated. On March 20, 2008, for example, eight entities associated with Mr. Jones and Ms. Ray gave 12 donations to D.C. Council members Yvette M. Alexander and Marion Barry, a process commonly known as “bundling.”
Mr. Jones, who has campaigned for Mr. Barry, has been investigated for fraud and breach of contract for allegedly offering ineffective job training services through the Congress Heights nonprofit, according to a 1997 report in Washington City Paper. But he has maintained a complex network of ties to the city over the decades, with his hands in numerous nonprofit and for-profit entities, including the United Black Fund.
In 2007, former Mayor Adrian M. Fenty asked Mr. Jones to do “community outreach” on an initiative to build a soccer stadium at Poplar Point in Ward 8, and to be his Ward 8 campaign coordinator, The Washington Post reported at the time.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Luke Rosiak is a projects reporter on The Washington Times’ investigative team. He formerly covered lobbying and campaign finance for two watchdog groups as well as transportation for The Washington Post. Luke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Md. couple indicted in scheme to cheat SBA on minority contracts
- As federal agencies trim fat, contracts feed billions in profits to 59 companies
- Conflict of interest in $4 billion government minority program
- $4 billion program for disadvantaged businesses lacks oversight
- Maryland's minority-contracting program gets failing grade on 'graduation'
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By John R. Bolton
Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- HURT: Wilson and Obama ... 100 years apart, but so alike
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- IRS emails reveal discussion with Justice about suing nonprofits for election activities
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers 'more deadly than jihadists'
- GOP writes legislation to deny Attorney General Eric Holder his salary
- WEBER: Obamacare cuts home healthcare for millions of seniors
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
- Fuel-filled wings, ability to swarm: Pentagon offers glimpse at future of drone fleet
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.