- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 18, 2007

A D.C. deputy mayor has been named interim head of the Anacostia Waterfront Corp. (AWC)

Neil O. Albert, the deputy mayor for planning and economic development for Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, will immediately take over as interim president and chief executive officer of the quasi-public agency, which is responsible for redeveloping portions of the Anacostia waterfront.

He will not receive a salary.

Mr. Albert’s appointment occurred just days after the resignation of the AWC’s former president, Adrian G. Washington, and the resignation of the president of the National Capital Revitalization Corp. (NCRC), another Anacostia development agency.

The NCRC’s former president and chief executive, Anthony C. Freeman, left his post two weeks ago.

The future of the two organizations is uncertain at the moment.

Mr. Fenty has commissioned a report to analyze alternative structures for the agencies, and D.C. Council member Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, has introduced legislation that would dissolve both.

A dispute between the two groups led to the delay of a major land transfer that would further redevelopment near the river. But the groups said the transfer has now been completed.

Mr. Albert served as deputy mayor for children, youth, families and elders from June 2004 to September 2005 under Mayor Anthony A. Williams.

He also is founding president and chief executive officer of EdBuild, a D.C. nonprofit that partners with public schools to provide facility-development services and education support.

• Crash course

Police e-mails and memos show that House Delegate Leo Wardrup, chairman of the Transportation Committee, tried to use his legislative office to avoid a traffic ticket after running a red light and causing an accident.

The memos state that the Virginia Beach Republican raised the issue of legislative immunity after an October 2005 traffic accident, the Virginian-Pilot newspaper of Norfolk reported Friday after obtaining the correspondence through the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

Mr. Wardrup has denied trying to get out of the summons.

City officials withheld the correspondence until Mr. Ward-rup’s court case was concluded. Last week, he dropped his appeal of a conviction agreed to pay a $100 fine.

A memo written by Police Lt. J.T. Orr to Capt. Steven Smith on Oct. 11, 2005 — the day after the accident — said that another officer investigated the crash and determined that Mr. Wardrup had driven through a red light.

That officer, S.J. Michal, then wrote Mr. Wardrup a summons, the memo said.

Lt. Orr was also at the scene when the discussion took place.

“He very politely explained that he was not refusing to sign it, but that he was currently under the protection of state code Section 30-5, which in effect made him immune from prosecution in connection with his charge,” Lt. Orr wrote.

Virginia State Code Section 30-5 allows lawmakers to request delays in court hearings during General Assembly sessions, or 30 days before or after any session.

Based on Mr. Wardrup’s claim, Officer Michal and Lt. Orr decided not to issue the traffic summons, but instead to note on the accident report that Mr. Wardrup was at fault. Officer Michal then gave Mr. Wardrup a ride home.

On Oct. 18, Officer Michal changed his mind and obtained a magistrate’s summons against Mr. Wardrup. Later that day, Mr. Wardrup called police Chief A.M. Jacocks Jr.

A 10-page transcript of that conversation was released to the Virginian-Pilot in response to the Freedom of Information Act request.

In the conversation, Mr. Wardrup told Chief Jacocks that Officer Michal was the first to bring up the issue of legislative privilege. Chief Jacocks challenged that recollection.

In an interview with the Virginian-Pilot weeks after the wreck, Mr. Wardrup said he never refused a ticket for the accident because police at the scene never offered him one.

• Romney to speak

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney will speak at Regent University’s commencement May 5, the school founded by religious broadcaster Pat Robertson announced last week.

Mr. Romney, who formally entered the 2008 presidential race Tuesday, is to talk to graduates about “Leadership in Critical Times.”

Mr. Romney was a businessman who spent years amassing a fortune by helping found a venture-capital firm that invested in fledgling businesses and guided them to grow into healthy corporations.

In 2002, he turned the scandal-plagued Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City into a success. As governor of Massachusetts for one term, he led that state out of fiscal woes without raising taxes and pushed through a comprehensive overhaul of the health-insurance system.

Mr. Robertson has not endorsed Mr. Romney, and Regent University does not endorse political candidates, school spokeswoman Sherri Stocks said.

Founded in 1978, Regent has some 5,000 students studying on campuses in Virginia Beach and the District and also via online education. The school offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from a Christian perspective.

• Off and running

Nearly 50 people have signed up as potential candidates for the two D.C. Council seats vacated last year when two members, both Democrats, ran for and won higher offices in the city.

The November victories of Vincent C. Gray as council chairman and Adrian M. Fenty as mayor left the seats in Ward 7 and Ward 4, respectively, empty on the 13-member council.

In the crowded race to succeed Mr. Fenty in Ward 4, those who have picked up nominating petitions include familiar faces, including former school board member Dwight E. Singleton and Michael A. Brown, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor last year.

A front-runner in the fundraising race for the seat and Mr. Fenty’s apparent pick is Muriel Bowser, who already has amassed nearly $200,000 in contributions.

Among those hoping to replace Mr. Gray in Ward 7 include former school board member Carrie L. Thornhill, education activist Iris Toyer and Johnnie Scott Rice, formerly director of constituent services for council member David A. Catania, at-large independent.

The special election is scheduled for May 1.

Gary Emerling and Jim McElhatton contributed to this column, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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