Dear PoP – Whoa – is this what corruption looks like?

“Dear PoP,

We were sitting inside Room 11 last week and looked out to see these MC Dean contractors hanging a Jim Graham campaign sign. I can’t say that I saw them placing the sign, but I did notice them stapling it and placing it just right. I thought at first (trying to give them the benefit of the doubt) they were just adjusting it so they could do real city business on that lamp pole, but nope. After dealing with the sign they just packed up and moved on.

MC Dean is a locally based contractor, but they’re international (a friend works for them, contracted by the US Army in Germany), so it seems like they’d be a bit too expensive for Graham’s campaign coffers to hire just for the sake of hanging his signs.

This just seemed wrong, and all of us sitting at the table were shocked.”

Sorry for the delay in posting but it fell off my radar until I saw this Washington Post article:

“Bill Dean, president and CEO of M.C. Dean, said his crews covered “specific areas” of the ward for Graham, with employees working several nights last week. A portion of the work, he said, is being done as an “in-kind” donation to Graham. Dean said he closely tracks the work to comply with campaign finance laws — which, in D.C. ward races, limit any individual or corporation from donating more than $500 to any one candidate. The Graham campaign would be billed for any overage, he said.”

33 Comment

  • I also saw a truck posting Graham signs, on Irving between Georgia and Warder. Almost snapped a pic on my BB, but let it slide. Figured they were probably being paid to do so.

  • Wow, unbelievable! Many thanks for taking the time to document the ‘in-kind’ donation to CM Graham’s campaign. With friends like Mr. Dean, we know who to call to help us remove all the posters after the election.

  • In MD and VA, it is illegal to post yard signs on lamp posts/utility poles, and road medians, and violators (ie campaigns) are subject to fines.

    I presumed that it was the same in DC, but apparently not.

  • What’s the problem? Signs tell me who to vote for – how else am I supposed to know?

  • I question the effectiveness of signs placed way above eye level.

  • this is kind of unrelated, and makes me seem very ignorant..but a couple of days ago i did not know who jim graham was, until I was crossing 14th around newton. and I almost got hit by a VW bug convertible.. in it was a funny looking man with a bowtie and large sign plastered on the side that said something about voting for graham.. I looked him up on the internet to see what he looked like and low and behold that was who almost hit me.. i definately will not vote for someone who doesnt care about pedestrians.. (AND NO I WASNT JAYWALKING, I was in a crosswalk without a light and almost all the way across)

    • He was probably late for his AA meeting (where he parks the love bug illegally).

    • Basing your vote in the city council race on one street encounter with the incumbent, not on how he votes or legislates on your behalf as a resident of his ward, is indeed ignorant. Please do more research on Jim Graham. You will find no shortage of information about him, and opinions positive and negative, in your search. This is what you should base your vote on.

      I would in particular ask you to research what Graham has done for pedestrians, bicyclists, and indeed car safety. He has done far more work on these issues than you could ever imagine from your single encounter with him.

  • Same thing happened to me a couple years back on Mass Avenue near Union Station, though Jim was in the passenger seat when I nearly got sideswiped.

  • It’s pretty reckless to throw around words like “corruption” in a headline and then say that what the person in the photo is doing is completely legal.

    • I completely agree. This may or may not be a violation of local campaign laws, but to post the word “corruption” in a headline without sufficient evidence is irresponsable. Keep in mind this post could have also been submitted by one of Graham’s opponents, one of which has been trying to raise this issue and not getting much traction.

  • graham’s a bought and paid for tool – he deserves every ounce of opprobrium sent his way

    • +1

      Smells like a duck, walks like a duck.

      It’s not the first time that a group with business before this councilman has been making “donations”. It smacks as total hypocrisy for anyone on the council to complain about the mayor steering bids to contractors of his choice while each and every one of them does the exact same thing.

  • I don’t pay much attention to the signs on utility polls. The number of yards that have a sign for a candidate is more reflective of their actually support in the community. Even then it’s not something I’m going to base my vote on!

    • It would be even better if you looked at how long some of DC’s issues have existed and which politicians have been in office that long.

      It’s a better measurement of “effectiveness” if you believe in “cause and effect”.

  • MC Dean is now in th ebusiness of putting up signs? Seems rather low tech and low margin relative to their other businesses. How can a gov’t function when people have no moral compass. Shouldn’t something have gone off in Graham’s head that this just doesn’t look right?
    Same for Fenty when he threw a party for his frat brothers. You gotta know when things don’t seem right.

  • I noticed signs for Vincent Orange around 14th and Kenyon this weekend. Is this going to turn into a “sign war”? Let’s see some coverage of the real issues here – what does each candidate stand for?

    Even if these services were delivered “pro-bono”, isn’t there something more beneficial CM Graham could use his “pro-bono” resources for that would actually improve the community, not litter it with signs?

  • You’re talking about a man who uses city fire department recruits to staff, who’s time is paid by the city, for his christmas party every year – without compensating the city.
    A man who DRIVES to Metro Board meetings, even though he lives in Columbia Heights, and could easily take the Green line to Gallery Place and walk.
    He’s a great politician, no doubt, meaning he’s great at getting himself elected, but he is so self-serving, that the only way to get him to change is ways will be to vote him out of office.

  • This infuriates me. I saw these signs everywhere I went in the neighborhood this weekend. I’m highly skeptical that: (1) they’ll all come down promptly after the election; (2) it’s legal to hang them on utility poles, particularly at a height where one must use a cherry-picker to remove; and (3) the cost of the donated services is anywhere close to $500 or that the campaign will be billed for the difference. This is bullshit.

  • I’ll bet dollars to donuts that if you were to call M.C. Dean and ask to a hire a van w/ cherry picker, a crew of two, and ask them to hang signs 15 feet up at select intersections in the neighborhood for a few hours, you’d get a quote that would be well in excess of the $500 per candidate limit. They wouldn’t rent me just the truck and the driver for 3 hrs. for $500, I’m guessing. Seems like very selective valuation of the in-kind services.

  • future PoP attorney: Get your facts straight (…even ambulance chasers should be held to this standad).

    #1 Graham lives in Adam’s Morgan

    #2 Do you even know where the christmas party was? I volunteered to help with the christmas Party and there were no Firemen or anyone else “on the clock” setting up the christmas party.

    #3 how many older men in there sixities walk a mile from western Adams morgan to the Metro?

    Furthermore, Metro would take about an hour total vs. maybe 15-20 minutes for the walking and waiting, etc. Graham does have a busy schedule from about 9am – 10pm every day, so should he waste 40-45 minutes with his Metro walk? Didn’t think so.

    Graham isn’t perfect, but hell, who is? I personally think the sign think is overkill and looks like a waste of resources, but Graham has done a lot of Ward 1. He and his staff are VERY responsive and listen to what residents think. He doesn’t agree with me always, but I’m not going to be self-centered and childish thinking I’m the only Ward 1 voter.

    PoP – love ya, but the Corruption charge really is misleading and I suggest you reword the post to be fair…

    • Prince Of Petworth

      The title is just the subject line of the email sent to me. I know the guy who sent the email to me and he lives in the neighborhood. I have a detailed response from the Graham campaign that I’m posting at 12:30. Stay tuned!

      • Wether the title of the post is the subject line from the email or not … you sanction it by using it for the title of your post. Also, what do you mean by “he lives in the neighborhood?” Which neighborhood? It would help to know where he’s coming from depending on if he lives in Ward 1 or not.

  • vincent orange has done the same thing all over town. I think some of Shwartz’s signs are still up from 2 years ago.
    There was one on 16th near the MD border forever.

  • Two words on why Jim Graham should not be re-elected:


  • Folks,
    It was I who took the picture and submitted the letter to PoP. I am not an opponent of Graham’s. I like a lot that Graham has done, not liked other things (Jumboslice Pizzagate). I won’t be too disappointed if he’s re-elected – much of what the city council has done recently I’m happy with.
    So I submitted this because it seemed very out of place. The first line of the original email I sent to PoP actually read: “We were sitting inside Room 11 this evening” – which means I wrote that message under the influence of absinthe. I agree that “corruption” is probably not the word I should have chosen, but I spent some time in my state trying to come up with the right word. Embezzlement is more what I was thinking, considering the use of what appeared to be the use of a public contract for private use. That’s what it appeared to be at the time. With the details of MC Dean supplying the labor as a campaign donation, I’m not quite sure what to call it. If it turns out there is quid pro quo w/ Dean, than it is corruption.
    I really just thought this was worth putting out there.

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