Mark David Richards
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What Is DCWatch?
For many years, the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has been among the
worst managed of DC government agencies. Businesses and consumers alike have complained
about its incompetence and the contemptuous treatment that it gives to those who are
unfortunate enough to have to deal with it.
Three years of Control Board management have done nothing to improve matters at DCRA.
Now, Mayor Barry has appointed a new director of DCRA who shows every sign that he will
continue DCRAs history of incompetence, mismanagement, favoritism, and corruption.
Camille Cates Barnett, the Chief Management Officer appointed by the Control Board, also
wants to claim credit for this incredibly bad appointment; and Harold Brazil, Chairman of
the Council Committee on Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, has already signaled that he is
unconcerned and unworried about the appointees long history of scandals, and wants
to rush approval of the appointment through the Council.
Lloyd J. Jordan was formerly the Chief of Staff and Chief Administrative Officer for
St. Louis, Missouri. While in St. Louis, he compiled the following public record:
- Jordan was the highest-paid city employee, at $90,454 a year. When a St. Louis City
alderman complained in 1993 that it was wasteful for the city to provide him with the free
use of a Mercury Grand Marquis when he was earning that high a salary, Jordan replied,
If Mr. Shrewsbury worries about people having cars around the clock, he ought to
know that I work around the clock. Ive been averaging 14- to 16-hour days and put on
about 400 miles a week.
- Jordan ran both of St. Louis Mayor Freeman Bosley, Jr.s, mayoral campaigns, the
one Bosley won in 1993 and the one he lost in 1997. Prior to Bosleys winning office,
he worked in Jordans law office.
- In 1995, while serving as Chief of Staff, Jordan headed a group of businessmen who
negotiated to buy 24 supermarkets from Schnuck Markets, Inc., that the grocery chain was
forced to sell in an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission when it bought out
another grocery chain. At the same time that he was negotiating with Schnucks as a private
businessman to buy the supermarkets, the St. Louis city government was also negotiating an
agreement with them to develop a new grocery store in north St. Louis.
- In 1996, when a St. Louis City alderman criticized Jordans bid to
buy the Schnucks stores as a conflict of interest, Jordan moved to quash criticism by
suing the alderman for $22 million dollars, claiming that the aldermans criticism
embarrassed him, and damaged his reputation as an attorney and employee of the City of St.
Louis. The lawsuit is still pending.
- Mayor Bosley solicited private funds to supplement the Mayors contingency fund,
which also got $30,000 a year in public funds. He refused to disclose the list of donors
or their amount, and Jordan claimed that the Mayor reported the private donations to the
fund as his private income, and paid personal income taxes on it until it was
revealed that Mayor Bosley didnt disclose the donations on his personal financial
disclosure reports, either.
- Mayor Bosley and Jordan promoted Charles Bussey, a former law partner of Jordans
and employer of Bosley, as the developer of large projects in St. Louis, including
redeveloping an apartment building owned by HUD and demolishing a large historic downtown
office building to build a parking garage. Both projects ran into trouble with HUD because
Bussey had previously been convicted of felony tax evasion and lying on a HUD
housing-subsidy application, and had served three years in prison on the charges. For
other projects, Busseys company received over $1 million in federal funding
channeled through the city, even though Bussey was suspended twice from doing business
with HUD, had not paid a $93,000 judgment in federal district court, and never repaid a
$1.5 million loan to buy another apartment building.
- When Jordan left office in St. Louis in 1996, he said that his stint with the mayor was
a community service, and that he could make much more money in the private sector.
From Day One, Ive said Im only on loan. Im only here to do a
community service and then Id be gone, Jordan said.
- After he resigned from public office, Jordan ran Bosleys second
mayoral campaign, in which Bosleys major opponent was Clarence Harmon, former St.
Louis chief of police. While running the campaign, Jordan also served as the first vice
president of the St. Louis chapter of the NAACP. Just four days prior to Harmons
announcement of his candidacy, the NAACP released a report claiming that he had mistreated
black police officers.
- HUD required a commercial building to evict the Bosley campaign office
because the buildings owners diverted money that should have been used to pay off a
defaulted HUD loan to renovate the space, and then charged the campaign rent at lower than
the market price. The buildings owners claimed HUD was discriminating, and
demonstrated carrying Bosley for Mayor campaign signs. They were later suspended from
doing business with HUD.
- The 1997 campaign that Jordan ran for Bosley against Harmon was one of
the most racially divisive in St. Louiss history, even though both candidates were
black. Bosleys father, himself an alderman, called Harmon a rented
Negro; other Bosley supporters called Harmon the white mans
candidate and a race traitor for running against Bosley, and criticized
him for being married to a white woman. Congressman William Clay, a Bosley supporter,
said, You cannot tell me this is not a racial confrontation. White politicians are
afraid. They are cowards afraid to support [an incumbent] who has the basic
interests of black citizens at heart. The campaign ran an ad that claimed that one
of Harmons sons, also a police officer, was convicted of sexual assault, yet later
received a promotion Mayor Bosley later had to apologize and admit that the ad was
inaccurate to settle a libel suit by Harmons son.
- Even though Mayor Bosley was the incumbent and raised three times the
campaign funds that Harmon did, he lost the race.
- In December 1996, Jordan repaid the city of St. Louis $5,792 for
telephone calls that he made on his cellular telephone. Jordan refused to make the
telephone bills public, even though they had been paid by the city, and claimed that he
paid the whole bill because, I dont have time for the pettiness of going
through the records to see whether the calls were business-related. So, I reimbursed the
city for both business and personal calls. Its my contribution to the city, and I
would hope that people generally understand that we do an awful lot for the city and get
nothing in return. I lost money just taking the job with the city.
Mr. Jordans appointment as director of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory
Affairs, after it is rubber-stamped by the City Council, will go to the Control Board for
its final approval. After that, well all be at his mercy.
Footnote: On July 30, City Council Chair Linda Cropp withdrew the resolution approving
Jordans nomination from Council consideration because the votes werent there
to pass it. Councilmembers Harold Brazil, Harrry Thomas, Sr., and Kathy Patterson spoke in
favor of the nomination; Councilmembers David Catania, Sharon Ambrose, Carol Schwartz, and
Frank Smith spoke against it. Since the Council action is only advisory, the nomination
still went to the Control Board, which approved it unanimously at August 7.
For background on any of the points in this article, see the archives of the St.
Louis Post Dispatch, on-line at http://www.stlnet.com