For Release: June 29, 2015
Contact: Robin Diener 202 431-9254
DC Auditor Looking into McMillan Deal
DC Auditor Kathy Patterson is looking into financial and ethical questions that have engulfed the city’s plans for the development of the 25-acre McMillan Sand Filtration and Park site along North Capitol Street. Patterson confirmed that an inquiry was underway Friday, during an hour-long meeting with citizens from around the city, including from Ward 5, where McMillan is located.
DC Auditor Patterson’s interest in reviewing the project was first reported by Jeff Anderson in the Hill Rag on April 8, 2015. “It’s worth looking at those costs in terms of what DC is getting for that money,” she said. (http://www.capitalcommunitynews.com/content/spin-doctors#sthash.9Gqn0GOP.dpuf )
In June, citywide supporters of Save McMillan Park formally requested Patterson take a look. Among the many issues discussed on Friday for investigation were:
— the hiring, with DC taxpayer dollars, of Fontaine & Co., a Baltimore based public relations firm, to “discredit” the public and provide “political cover”;
— why market value was not sought for the land, and why DC taxpayers are being charged “$78 million in predevelopment costs, including fees to lawyers….where the demand for more housing, offices and retail continues to grow” (NY Times, June 23, 2015);
— how an Exclusive Rights Agreement was awarded to the Project Management team, by the District’s Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, when a competitive process for a “creative” plan had long been promised.
“We are pleased the DC Auditor has responded that she will look into these questionable actions by the DC government, which seems bent on destroying this national and local historic site, turning it into a bland, suburban-style development, and exacerbating gridlock along North Capitol Street and around the community” said Andrea Rosen, a signatory of the Auditor request letter. “Every time the public has spoken, in surveys, in petitions, before official agencies, they have overwhelmingly said ‘no’ to this plan.”
In addition, Citywide Friends of McMillan have petitioned the DC Council to amend the FY2016 Budget Support Act to preclude the expenditure of $68 million allocated for demolition of McMillan until the judicial and administrative reviews are completed.
The Citywide Friends of McMillan will hold a press conference on Tuesday June 30 at 9:30 am on the steps of the Wilson Building, to announce the DC Auditor’s investigation.