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Metro to seek independent review of development deal

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DC,Transportation,Kytja Weir

 

Metro’s board is seeking an independent review of a joint development deal after questions arose about former board member Jim Graham’s role in the negotiations.

The board voted to ask its audit committee on Thursday to hire an independent group to review the negotiations over the land site on Florida Avenue near U Street and Georgia Avenue.

The Washington Post editorial board has raised questions about the D.C. councilman’s role in linking the Metro land deal to a lottery contract, trying to block Banneker Ventures from getting the Metro development rights.

“I welcome the independent review. Let’s have it,” Graham told The Washington Examiner on Thursday. “There is plenty of documentation to establish that Banneker lost the contract because of Banneker.”

Metro board Chairwoman Cathy Hudgins said earlier this month that the board decided to change course on the contract in March 2010, not because of Graham or any individual board member, but because of a dramatic change in the developer’s proposed price. She said she would seek an independent review because of the recent questions, though.

Still, it’s not clear what the Metro board will be able to do with the results of any review. Graham, a Ward 1 Democrat, was replaced on the Metro board in January 2011 after 12 years at the transit agency. The contract for the land deal has already been awarded to another group.

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