As reported in the recent edition of the Brookland Heartbeat, it appears that Ms. James, current chairperson of ANC5B, has “full confidence” in the Commissioner Smith-Daniels, the current Treasurer of 5B who admitted to not performing her duties that allowed then-Chair William Shelton to alledgedly steal $30,000. Yes, you read correctly, Ms. James has “full confidence” in negligence. But it doesn’t stop there.
Apparently, Ms. James is positioning her friend and confidant, Tony Dugger, to become the next paid person of ANC5B as its Executive Director. Ms. James and Mr. Dugger, I am told, wrote the job description for the position and Mr. Dugger is already “volunteering” his time for many of its duties. Ms. James is doing what any self-serving public official would do to ensure that there is conflict and non-transparency: surround herself with cronies.
That brings us to the current situation. ANC5B will soon have no money and NO OFFICE. Commissioner Bennett brought it to my attention that because of Ms. James’ behaviour at the Harbor Center, where the current ANC5B office is located (and where no one can gain access to), has given 5B a 30 day termination notice. Below is Mr. Bennett’s recollection of events, which has been echoed by Kathy Henderson on the Ward 5 listserve.
Denial of Access to ANC Office September 26, 2011
11:00am I entered the Salvation Army Harbor Light Center lobby to gain access to ANC 5B’s office. I showed the staff person, Mr. Curry, at the security desk my ANC identification and told him that I wanted to go to the ANC office. I was informed that Regina James was in the office. Mr. Curry called the ANC office and then told me that Regina James said that she was not seeing anyone. I explained to Mr. Curry that I am an ANC Commissioner and wanted to into the ANC office.
11:10 Mr. Curry took my ANC identification back to the ANC office in order to present it to Ms. James.
11:15 Mr. Curry returned with my identification and again told me that Rgina James said that she is not seeing anyone. I asked Mr. Curry if he would contact Ms. Mary Lynn Logsdon, Executive Director of theSalvationArmyHarborLightCenter, or Mr. Robert Smith, Business Manger for the Salvation Army Harbor Light Center. Mr. Curry told me that they were not available and that he could not allow me access to the office because Ms. James said that she is not seeing anyone.
11:20 Patsey Staten ANC 5B’s staff person enters the building, signs in and proceeds to the ANC office. I asked Mr. Curry why Ms. Staten would be given access to the ANC office and not an ANC Commissioner. Mr. Curry went back to the ANC office.
11:26 Mr. Curry returned and told me that Regina James had instructed him that she is not seeing anyone. Mr. Curry said that Ms. James told him that if I create a disturbance to have me removed.
11:36 Ms. Logsdon enters the lobby and tells me that Regina James would be right out.
12:00pm Ms. Logsdon returned and informed me that Regina James had called the police. I asked Ms. Logsdon why she had called the police Ms. Logsdon said she had no idea.
12:05 Four officers of the Metropolitan Police Department show up, Officer Stewart Badge #3677, Officer Rodgers Badge #2342, Officer Barber Badge #2212, Officer Stewart Badge #5777. Officer Stewart told me that I was not to talk to any of the other Officers but him. I asked him why the police had been summoned, he could not (or would not) give me an answer.
12:10 Regina James walks into the lobby of theHarborLightCenterand states that “the Councilmember (Harry Thomas) called” and that she “needed to be escorted to her car.” Ms. James walked out of the building. The Officers did not escort her to her car.
12:12 I called Ms. Logsdon and told her that Regina James had just left and I asked if I could enter the ANC office. Ms. Logsdon said absolutely.
12:13 Mr. Curry called Patsey Staten and told her that Regina James had left and that she needed to “come out here and deal with this.
12:15 I signed in. Mr. Curry told me that I had to wait for Ms. Staten.
12:20 Patsey Staten comes into the lobby. I asked her if I could go to the ANC office Ms. Staten said, “The office is not open. I am not in the office.”
12:23 I called Ms. Logsdon and told her that Patsey Staten would not allow me into the office and asked if she would allow me access. Ms. Logsdon told me that she could not do it and that, due to the reprehensible behavior displayed by Commissioner James and Ms. Patsey, she was going to be giving a thirty day notice for ANC 5B to vacate the premises. Ms. Logsdon told me that the Salvation Army had donated the space, computer and telephone and that they were not going to be involved with Commissioners denying access to other Commissioners.
I still have never been in the ANC office over the nine + months I have been an ANC Commissioner and I was Recording Secretary for ANC 5B until Wed. September 21, 2011.
During ANC 5B’s Special Meeting, (held last week Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011), when the community residents asked why I was being removed as ANC 5B’s Recording Secretary, Commissioner Regina James told them that there did not have to be a reason.I think the reason is very clear. More $$$.Ironically, (sorry to romanticize), during ANC 5B’s meeting held September 1, 2011, the Treasurer, Pat Brown-Daniels, stood up in front of more than fifty people and announced that she had not seen 5B’s bank statements, did not write the financial reports and was not going to resign as treasurer.There are major questions screaming to be answered regarding the expenses, purchases and management (or mismanagement) of ANC 5B’s public funds, far beyond the $30,000 that was stolen. The financial records of 5B paint an ogre of possible misappropriation that, in my opinion, has a much longer history.Consider:
- Our staff assistant, (who has worked since January with no contract and says we owe her $5,450), signed her own time sheets. No one else ever signed them! ANC 5B paid her, on average, over $20,000 per year at $25.00 an hour; to answer telephones that most of the time did not ring, collect voicemail and mail, make copies and spend ANC 5B’s money.
- In 2010 ANC 5B spent (staff assistant purchased) hundreds of dollars on office supplies from a company in Gaithersburg that sold us cases of soda at $15.00 apiece.
- One Commissioner wrote checks to himself.
- Etc., etc.The ANC Security Trust Fund (STF) is a fund set up to give reinbursement to ANC’s when their money (public funds) is misappropriated.Yesterday evening there was an STF hearing, at 5:30pm in Room 120 of the John Wilson, regarding ANC 5B’s request for reimbursement. Commissioners Pat Brown-Daniels, Regina James, Berneice Blacknell and myself testified in the presence of STF Board Members; D.C. Auditor Yolonda Branch, Atty. David Zevenyach, Cynthia Brock-Smith and Gottlieb Simon. There is a real prospect and possibilty that 5B may be reimbursed up to $16,000 from the STF!ANC 5B currently owes an $8,000 ATT Blackberry bill, the highly questionable $5,450 mentioned above, and an assortment of smaller bills.My belief is that, as a Commission, ANC 5B should seize the grand opportunity, (during this period of disaster and utter dysfunction), to inform, educate, unite and empower the people we serve. All of the residents (or as many as possible) of our Commission should be involved with virtually every single move we make.Transparency should be the order of the day; but in my opinion, too many of my fellow Commissioners would rather stick their head further in the sand from fear; or act as puppets, instead of upholding the law and being the leaders they took an oath to be.ANC 5B faces a serious dilemma; the continuation of a damning culture of laziness, irresponsibility and false sense of entitlement. We really need the people’s help.Consider that, as a Commission, we have not vetted nor interviewed Mr. Tony Dugger! Regina James announced Mr. Dugger at the September 1, 2011, as her volunteer; yet James and Dugger have taken it upon themselves to create and publicly announce a brand new PAID position of ANC 5B “Executive Director”. Now James, (without Commission approval), tells Mr. Dugger that he can take the Commission’s reponsibilty for notifying the almost 24,000 residents of 5B.
If Tony Dugger gets the job he wrote, wouldn’t that be considered a conflict of interest for Regina James?