D.C. Mayor Uses Federal SUVs For Recreational Purposes
Mark Segraves WTOP.com
November 10, 2009
WASHINGTON – D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty’s use of government resources to facilitate his recreational activities isn’t limited to a police escort while he trains with his bike team.
The mayor has used a federal Homeland Security vehicle to transport himself and his bike to at least 14 races in the past two years.
The District’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency has two large SUVs, which are detailed to the city from the U.S. Government Services Administration. According to records obtained by WTOP through the Freedom of Information Act, the mayor’s Executive Protection Unit has signed out one or both of the SUVs 25 times between September of 2008 and June of 2009.
Fourteen of those dates coincide with race events Fenty participated in.
Fenty Spokesperson Mafara Hobson said in a statement the SUVs are meant for emergency use.
“The SUVs are for various emergency management functions and special events around the city to transport people and or equipment. For example, they were used this week during the water main break.”
Hobson wrote in an email requesting the stated purpose of the vehicles.
Fenty would not comment when asked if using the vehicles to transport his bike to races is a proper use of the vehicles.
“Again, I don’t have any comment on the police department and their use of vehicles. You’ll have to talk to the chief of police for that.”
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier defended the practice.
“If the detail travels with the mayor and the mayor is going to a biking event, I don’t think there is anything wrong with the officers on the detail putting the bike in the vehicle they’re going to protect the mayor on an event.”
D.C. Councilmember Phil Mendelson says using the SUVs to transport the mayor’s bike raises serious concerns.
“The homeland security vehicles are for emergency purposes,” Mendelson says, “If it’s true that the homeland security vehicles are being used to chauffer the mayor’s bicycle around, that’s completely inappropriate.”