Just when D.C. Mayor Bowser does something good like not let a developer weasel out of affordable housing promises, she does this (boldface mine):
The head of the D.C. Department of General Services has resigned and two top staffers are being forced out after a company that has been a key contributor to Mayor Muriel Bowser’s campaigns lost out on two major city construction contracts, sources tell WAMU 88.5.
The sources say the shakeup comes after Fort Myer Construction failed to win city contracts for infrastructure improvements for a new soccer stadium at Buzzard Point and the St. Elizabeths East Campus, the future Southeast D.C. home of the Washington Wizards practice facility and an arena for the Washington Mystics.
City Administrator Rashad Young asked DGS Director Christopher Weaver to fire two staff members involved in the contracting process, according to sources. Weaver declined to dismiss them. On Aug. 12, he resigned. On Aug. 15, the city placed the two staffers on administrative leave….
Multiple sources tell WAMU that the Bowser administration showed great interest in the contracts that Fort Myer didn’t win. The city forced out the two top-level staffers involved in contract decisions, the sources said….
Fort Myer Construction — a local infrastructure firm best known for its street-paving work in D.C. — is a CBE [certified business enterprise]. As previous WAMU reports have shown, the company is also a major political backer of Bowser, donating tens of thousands dollars to her campaigns over the past decade through its company, affiliates, employees and family members. Fort Myer also donated more money than anyone else — $20,000 — to Fresh PAC, the now-defunct political action committee set up to aid Bowser…
In February, the city opened the bidding to redevelop St. Elizabeths East. Documents show Fort Myer bid $16 million. Rhode Island-based Gilbane Building Co., one of the nation’s biggest construction firms, bid $6 million.
In June, DGS awarded the contract to Gilbane. While Gilbane’s offer would save taxpayers roughly $10 million, Fort Myer scored slightly better on a technical evaluation of the bids.
Granted, the new Democratic party line is that without explicit evidence of a quid-pro-quo, there is no corruption (I’m old enough to remember when Democrats opposed the Republican position on Citizen United). But it’s hard to believe that pay-to-play wasn’t at work here.