DC Government / DC Politics / Ward 4 / Ward 4 Businesses

Update on Chambers Law Firm Whistleblower Case

D.C. Official Possibly Fired To Appease Campaign Contributor, Lawyer Says

Wilson Building disagreement: Officials from the Bowser administration say the Department of General Services should not have changed a scoring system for contracts.
Wilson Building disagreement: Officials from the Bowser administration say the Department of General Services should not have changed a scoring system for contracts.

A lawyer representing one of the employees forced out in the controversial staff shakeup at D.C.’s Department of General Services says his client Yinka Alao may have been fired to appease a major donor to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Alao and another employee, Carlos Sandoval, were placed on administrative leave in August following disputes involving Fort Myer Construction, a top donor to city politicians. Just days earlier, the head of the Department of General Services, Christopher Weaver, resigned.

The disputes involve contracts related to two high-profile construction projects: the Buzzard Point soccer stadium deal and the St. Elizabeths East campus project in Ward 8.

In both cases, Fort Myer Construction, a local street-paving firm, had bid on the work and lost out to national construction firms.

As the D.C. Council plans to investigate the staff shakeup at DGS, a lawyer for one of the fired employees is speaking out for the first time about the controversy.

“It is outrageous that the Mayor and City Administrator’s offices may have chosen to sacrifice [Alao] to appease a campaign contributor that lost out on city contracts, one of which would have cost District residents $10 million additional dollars over the winner’s bid.” said attorney Darrell Chambers in a statement released to WAMU 88.5 by his law firm.

Chambers says he was hired by Alao to fight his termination. Chambers is a former litigation chief in D.C.’s Office of the Attorney General.

But city officials say the personnel changes at DGS have nothing to do with any single contractor but with how the agency was picking the winners.

City Administrator Rashad Young, speaking on WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi Show earlier this week, said DGS had started using a new scoring system that diluted the preference to local businesses when they bid on contracts. Young said the contract scoring change was “indefensible” and that neither his office nor the mayor’s had signed off on the change.

“A fundamental change in rules without discussion with the mayor or with me is not something we take lightly,” said Young.

But Chambers, the attorney for Alao, says he believes they have “documentary proof” to show that Alao had permission for DGS to handle the contract they way it did.

Posted from: http://wamu.org/news/16/09/02/lawyer_says_dc_official_was_fired_to_appease_campaign_contributor

For the original press release from the Chambers Law Firm go to:

https://www.scribd.com/document/322855443/News-Release-From-Chambers-Firm-About-Former-D-C-DGS-Associate-Director-Yinka-Alao#from_embed

For additional information, please visit the Chambers Law Firm at: http://www.chambersfirmdcmd.com/blog/2016/9/7/former-dgs-associate-director-hires-the-chambers-firm-to-fight-termination-amid-city-council-investigation

New Small Business in Brightwood – The Chambers Firm

 

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