Disgraced ex-DC Union Boss Pressured Award of City Contract, Auditor Says

Barbara A. Bullock, the former president of the Washington Teachers’ Union, and Joy Arnold, a former top aide to D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams, pressured a city agency head to award a $296,500 contract to a friend of Bullock’s, according to a D.C. auditor’s report released Oct. 6.  Charles F. Holman III, who was director of the D.C. Office of Human Rights in 2001, accused Bullock and Arnold of directing him to award a noncompetitive contract for legal work to the firm of Curtis Lewis, the brother of former union treasurer James O. Baxter II.  


Since the auditor began the investigation in May 2003, Bullock has been sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to embezzling $4.6 million in union funds from 1995 to 2002.  Arnold left the mayor’s office in July 2003 to work as a senior adviser to the president of the National Capital Revitalization Corp., the District’s publicly chartered economic development firm. 


Lewis’s firm was hired to conduct investigations of discrimination complaints and to draft letters on findings. In all, Lewis was awarded three contracts, even though the quality of his work was substandard, the report says.  The report also says that Bullock was involved in meetings with the mayor’s office about how Lewis would be paid, and that she urged that he receive the amount of compensation he had requested. 


At one point, Bullock became agitated and “demanded” that the contract be awarded to Lewis, the report says. The auditor adds that Holman gave in to the “political pressure” exerted by Bullock.

“As a result, he permitted the [mayor’s office] and Barbara A. Bullock to determine the terms, conditions and manner of awarding the third contract with Curtis Lewis,” the report says. [Washington Post, 10/7/04]