DC fire chief grilled on donations to Sosua

WASHINGTON — Reporters and the DC City Council have been trying to find out who in the city is behind an unusual deal sending a surplus fire engine and ambulance to the beach resort Sosua in the Dominican Republic. Answers have been hard to come by.

DC Fire and EMS Department Chief Dennis Rubin was the first on the hot seat in front of Phil Mendelson, the chairman of the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary. As part of a regular budget hearing, Mendelson wanted to know why the department sent Deputy Chief Ronald Gill Jr. to Sosua for 6 days earlier in the year. Gill is in charge of fleet maintenance for the department.

Chief Rubin, who said he was unaware of the trip until after the fact, takes responsibility for the fire department’s actions and is sorry the trip was made. Assistant Chief Alfred Jeffrey gave permission for Gill’s travel as part of a delegation of city employees. Jeffrey was unable to tell Mendelson who else from the city went to Sosua and who in the city government approved the trip or the donation of the fire equipment.

The donation was made through the group Peaceoholics which works with young people in the city in an effort to curb violence. After the donation was made public Peaceoholics co-founder Ron Moten ordered the equipment returned to the city. It had made it as far as the Port of Miami.

Rubin and Jeffrey indicated this deal was in the works before either man was appointed to their positions in the department.

In one of a number of testy exchanges with the fire officials, Phil Mendelson said the answer to why Chief Jeffrey approved the travel defies logic and wanted to know why the assistant chief didn’t ask more questions.

The whole deal is now part of an investigation by the Office of the Attorney General. Mendelson believes there may be a conflict of interest because he says that office approved the emergency rule making allowing Peacoholics to be given the fire equipment.

From: Dave Statter

Filed Under: Puerto Plata Regional News


About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Leave a Reply