31 August 2011

Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, well why not?

Only someone who knows how dysfunctional the DC government is would have the wherewithal to try to pull this one off.

Allegedly, convicted (but now released) "drug kingpin" Cornell Jones landed a sweet deal -- via a non-profit he started called Miracle Hands -- with the city to renovate a warehouse into a job training center. The WaPo has the details. Sort of. The salient points are as follows:
According to the suit, Miracle Hands submitted false invoices to “wrongfully obtain” $329,653 in grant funds in its agreement to renovate a 14,000-square-foot warehouse at 2127 Queens Chapel Road NE into a job training facility.
The claim is that Mr. Jones received HIV/AIDS funding to build the training center, but instead it became a strip club. Let's leave aside the status of the property and try to figure out what the hell the DC government is doing giving grant money to convicted drug dealers. This guy was sent away for 27 years...he served 9 years of his sentence, then promptly started a non-profit because there are so few worthy non-profits out there that the District was falling over itself to distribute buckets of cash to a convicted drug dealer.

But it gets better. Miracle Hands obtained the grant money most likely because Mr. Jones was a close chum of a D.C. official:
The series also exposed the unopened job training site and the conflict of interest between Jones and Debra Rowe, interim housing chief of the city’s HIV/AIDS program from 2004 through 2008. Three of Rowe’s relatives worked at D.C. Tunnel, a nightclub operated at that time by Jones.
Four years as "interim" housing chief of the HIV/AIDS program? Was the job so crappy that no one would take it? I suppose it has its benefits if you can steer several hundred thousands of dollars to cronies who in turn employ your relatives.

And by the way, this didn't happen under Vincent Gray's watch (corrupt though he may be) or our former Mayor-for-Life Marion Barry. This cavalier attitude toward oversight occurred under notorious bean counter Anthony Williams and his successor, Adrian Fenty, who billed himself as a modernizer who would bring new transparency to District government.

Of course, Fenty was too busy bringing in new untested idiots like Michelle Rhee to worry about corrupt officials already working for the District.

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