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Mayor Anthony Williams
Press conference statement on the Office of Property Management
June 11, 2003




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Office of Property Management

Before we get to questions, I would like to make a few comments and an announcement regarding issues that have surfaced in the operations at the Office of Property Management.

As most of you know, the Council's Committee- on Human Rights, Latino Affairs and Property Management has held several hearings on issues relating to the leasing of office space by the District and the renovation of office space owned by the District.

First of all, I want to commend Councilman Jim Graham for his work on this matter and all of the Members of the Committee for their time and energy.

Earlier today, I met with Jim and we had a very candid and productive discussion. What . is clear is that we both want the same thing - we want to make sure that public monies are spent with care and spent prudently and that the District's policies and procedures are followed.

At his point, we do not have all the facts. But it is clear that- in several instances policies and procedures were not followed. Payments were made without the proper authorizations. Lease agreements that should have been reviewed by the Council were not sent to the Council as they should have been. Purchases of furniture were initiated without authorization. Proper safeguards and checks and balances were circumvented all of which has placed the District in a position of exposure and liability.

I want to note that the Office of the Mayor - in particular the Deputy Mayor for Operations - recognized problems with this agency in the fall of last year. They took several specific actions to address the situation and they have worked closely and cooperatively with Councilman Graham to examine the issues in the agency.

Specifically, they have:

  • completed an organizational assessment of OPM
  • appointed a new Deputy Director within OPM to oversee day-to-day operations;
  • appointed of a Chief of Staff within OPM to implement reforms identified in the organizational assessment;
  • restructured the management of the agency to allow greater focus on real estate activities;
  • begun the preparation of an RFP to review the business terms of all lease agreements entered into by OPM, and
  • made a request to the CFO to obtain assistance from the Office of Integrity and Oversight in conducting a complete financial records review.

In addition, in December of last year, Deputy Mayor Herb Tillery referred several matters to the Inspector General as did the Office of Corporation Counsel. The DC Auditor has also looked into issues relating to the lease and proposed purchase of property at 4800 Addison Road in Prince George's County.

So we are aware of these issues. We are very concerned about them. These are serious matters involving large sums of money. The problems - to a large extent - involve a former OPM employee who has left the District government. I believe that there is much that could be learned from this individual and I hope that the agencies that are looking into these issues can locate him and get the crucial information he can provide.

I welcome the review and investigation of these issues by any appropriate agency. Like Jim Graham, I want to get to the bottom of this and to see that that we:

  1. Safeguard the interests of the District government in these lease agreements
  2. Put in place the proper safeguards and policies going forward
  3. Make sure that if anyone has been engaged in illegal activities that those individuals are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and
  4. Change the leadership of the agency and provide the support and oversight from other District agencies as needed to facilitate a smooth transition

To that end, I am announcing today that by mutual agreement, Tim Dimond, the Director of the Office of Property Management, will leave his position effective June 27th. I appreciate the work that Tim has done to date and I do not believe that there is any evidence that would indicate any wrongdoing or inappropriate conduct on the part of Tim Dimond. He is nevertheless ultimately responsible for the performance of his office and for the conduct and activity of the employees who report to him.

Let me also say that I will respond in detail to Councilman Graham's letter of June 9th. That response will be in writing and it will be available later in the day.

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