The embattled board overseeing the $6 billion Dulles Rail project has been widely criticized for awarding its members insider perks, but the board has been extending those perks to members' families as well, The Washington Examiner has learned.
Even as federal investigators continue to probe possible nepotism at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, at least four young relatives of the authority's board members were given summer jobs at the agency that oversees Dulles International and Reagan National airports, the Dulles Toll Road and construction of the rail line, according to authority documents and board members.
The internship program allows 100 to 200 students, from high school through graduate school, to work summers at the authority, earning $8.75 to $17.36 an hour.
Among those given summer jobs were relatives of board members H.R. Crawford, Michael O'Reilly, Tom Davis and board Chairman Michael Curto, according to authority records.
Board members defended the practice, saying it's not uncommon for parents to help their children secure summer jobs.
"There's numerous children of other board members that work there," said Crawford, who recommended his granddaughter Charli for her job as an airports ambassador that she held for at least four summers.
"This is a government town," Crawford told The Examiner. "Of course you recommend people for positions. But these are not high-paying positions. They are kids making $8, $9 [an hour], just a temporary position for the summer. I think it's something any parent would do."
O'Reilly said he did not recommend his niece Abigail O'Reilly, but gave her the name of the person who would take her application. She worked two summers at the authority as a college student who helped prepare its annual budget.
"There was nothing untoward or improper about it," O'Reilly said. "And I would have recommended your niece to the program as well. People call me on a regular basis, and I used to put them in touch with our [human resources] department."
John Curto, son of the board's chairman, also worked as an airports ambassador, helping answer questions and guide passengers through the airport. He made just under $650 one summer working for $8.75 an hour.
Michael Curto did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
Pamela Davis, a medical student who is the daughter of board Vice Chairman Tom Davis, worked one summer as an EMT earning $17.36 per hour, or nearly $5,900.
"She's certainly qualified to do the job," Tom Davis said. "I've given a lot of time to this [board]. I didn't ask for this. I've never taken a trip. I've never drank a glass of anything. I had a kid who applied for the job and got the job with 90 other kids."
The airports board has been under fire from state and federal authorities recently for lavish travel expenses, contracts awarded to former board members and frequent closed-door meetings. After U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood issued a scathing rebuke of the authority last week, board members promised to cancel insider deals and rewrite ethics policies.