Neil Albert, the chair of the DC Housing Authority Board, stepped down last week. A handful of Bowser’s picks faced controversy since her start as D.C.’s leader. FOX 5 asked the Mayor on Thursday whether she, herself, should be held accountable.
"Well I’ve been Mayor for almost seven years and so, and I have more than 70 cabinet members and 2,000 appointees, so if you can point to six people who have made different decisions about what they’re going to do, I think that should be expected. I’m very proud of the long tenure that I have enjoyed with many high-level officials in our administration. And because of that, we can see the realization of a lot of projects that we started and will finish…" said the Mayor, making a reference to the day’s groundbreaking at the old Walter Reed site in Northwest D.C. – where FOX 5 and other stations got to speak with the city’s leaders.
Albert marks at least the 5th appointee or employee to resign, connected to some sort of investigation about improper conduct while on the job. Bowser accepted his resignation on Tuesday.
First reported in the "Washington City Paper" and now "The Washington Post," the reports claim Albert stepped down following allegations he purchased property with a female companion, for whom he also approved federal contracts for. The post also noted a serious of stories authored by Jeffrey Anderson on "DistrictDig.com" detail the alleged misconduct.
Some of the Mayor’s other hires caught-up in previous controversy include:
-Former City Administrator Rashad Young: He faced ethics violation accusations for reportedly helping the city approve a multi-million-dollar Howard University deal before taking a job with the school. It was widely reported that the D.C. Board of Ethics and Government Accountability had found Young "inadvertently committed a technical violation." He was fined $2,500 according to TheDCist
- A DC Inspector General report found former Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson gave preferential treatment to city officials
- Another former DC Schools Chancellor, Antwan Wilson, resigned during an investigation for bypassing a competitive lottery to give his child preferential treatment
- Current Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice, Chris Geldart, is well received in his work – however, the Inspector General also determined that while he was HSEMA’s Director, Geldart improperly used a government vehicle and his position to help female friend.
On July 6, 2017, BEGA, the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability, dismissed the formal investigation into Geldart saying there was "insufficient evidence to support a reasonable belief that a violation occurred." A "Washington City Paper" report on his departure also reported at the time that all four BEGA members were Bowser appointees. Geldart’s quote to the paper describes him leaving for family reasons only.
Geldart served on the Board of Directors for the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission after and led the city’s Department of Public Works before becoming the District’s Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice - positions that all require D.C. Council confirmation. Billtrack50.com says Geldart was confirmed as Deputy Mayor by unanimous vote.
- The head of D.C.’s Crime Lab also resigned this year
We also saw the head of DC’s Crime lab resign this year amid fallout over from an OAG audit of a crime lab error that called the lab’s leadership into question
"Has someone been in a position long enough to be held accountable for the things that go on in an administration," said D.C. Auditor Kathy Patterson speaking to FOX 5 about a previous question another Reporter asked her years ago, "and I think that speaks to how we want to hold people accountable and when and in what fashion."
Not wanting to get into the politics of the matter, Patterson did point out to FOX 5 that with some the resignations we mention, it does show that – while there’s always room for improvement – there are guardrails in place.
The Mayor did confirm she has ask the D.C. Board of Ethics and Government Accountability to investigate the allegations against Albert.
Mayor Bowser also hinted at another run in 2022.
When asked her response and whether she would endorse Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie for D.C. Attorney General, the mayor said, "I don’t expect to be endorsing anybody in a race. I don’t usually get involved if I have a campaign myself …" In a follow-up question to whether that answer meant the mayor will in fact run again, she responded saying she hasn’t officially announced yet.
FOX 5 reached out but did not hear from opponent Councilmember Robert White’s response in time for this report.
Councilmember Trayon White tells FOX 5 it’s an issue he’s been raising for years.
This story has been updated to include more information on Chris Geldart’s positions held and the BEGA investigation results.