- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A staunch ally of D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty defended the activities of his anti-violence group Peaceoholics and its receipt of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds, dismissing a probe by the Office of the D.C. Auditor as an electoral ploy.

“That’s all political,” Peaceoholics co-founder Ronald Moten said in an interview at his home Tuesday regarding the probe by the auditor’s office, which has been asked to produce a preliminary report by Friday.

A sharp and highly visible critic of D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, Mr. Fenty’s main challenger in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary, Mr. Moten is defending himself on several fronts. On Tuesday, the program manager for hugely popular WKYS radio denied a weekend comment by Mr. Moten that another Fenty supporter, singer-actor Anwan Glover, had been fired because of his support for the mayor.

D.C. Council member Yvette Alexander requested the audit last month after city taxpayers raised concerns about the effectiveness of Peaceoholics‘ efforts. As a nonprofit group, Peaceoholics by law is not allowed to endorse political candidates or to engage in campaigning.

Mr. Moten has said he left his leadership position in the group in order to work for Mr. Fenty’s re-election, but he still sits on the group’s board.

Mr. Moten has generated considerable press coverage as he promotes go-go and hip-hop concerts and works on behalf of the mayor, who is seeking a second term. Another such get-out-the-vote effort was scheduled for Tuesday night in Northeast Washington.

Mr. Moten also has released CDs and used his online magazine, theothersidemagazine.com, to praise Mr. Fenty and criticize Mr. Gray.

Peaceoholics, founded in 2004, works with police, schools and community groups to stem youth violence. Oftentimes, for example, Mr. Moten and others in the organization serve as the eyes and ears for law enforcement officials about turf battles and other incidents of youth violence.

Regarding questionable financial records and expenditures, Mr. Moten did not provide precise figures on the amount of government funding received by the Peaceoholics, from which he stepped down as chief operating officer last fall. But he said the group’s books were being audited last year by the D.C. firm Haymaker & Associates.

“We were engaged to do the 2008 audit but withdrew,” said a spokeswoman who answered the phone at Haymaker but refused to identify herself.

Mr. Moten said his political agenda is not about Mr. Fenty per se, but “our people” and our “community.”

“This election is bigger than Adrian,” Mr. Moten said. “The audit? That’s all political. … Who does an audit that fast?”

Mr. Moten has butted heads previously with Ms. Alexander and others who disagree with him. He dubbed her at one point “the worst politician of the year.”

Mr. Moten said he always has been a rabble-rouser who fights for “principles,” while the politicians change their stripes.

“I’ve supported Adrian since 2006. He kept his word. Adrian was visible,” said Mr. Moten.

Regardless of the results from the audit and possible fallout for Mr. Fenty’s campaign, Mr. Moten vowed to keep urging youths to vote and said he may organize a political action committee.

“I know a lot of what I do gets results,” he said. “I’m not supposed to be at the table.”

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