Alcohol chair won't attend ANC meeting

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Former Mayor Adrian Fenty and ABRA Chairman Charles Brodsky, at one of Brodsky's events
Former Mayor Adrian Fenty and ABRA Chairman Charles Brodsky, at one of Brodsky's events
Georgetown's ANC will take up street closure requests related to controversial alcohol control board chairman Charles Brodsky when it meets Monday night, but General Counsel Martha Jenkins of the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) said Brodsky will not attend the meeting as he has done in the past.

Brodsky, who was appointed Chairman by former Mayor Adrian Fenty, has drawn criticism for an apparent conflict of interest between his private role leading businesses that seek official actions from ANCs, while simulataneously chairing a board that rules on disputed cases in which ANCs are often among the parties seeking redress or clarification of the law.

ANC Chairman Ron Lewis said he expected representatives from Brodsky's D.C. Triathalon to attend the meeting on the company's behalf. But legal experts say Brodsky's conflict of interest remains whether he or his representatives advocate on behalf of his businesses before government officials such as ANCs.

Matt Watson, former D.C. Auditor and recognized expert on government ethics, finds Brodsky’s actions highly problematic. “It’s clearly unethical and possibly criminal for a District official to represent a private party before a District agency,” said Watson.  As Watson explains, referring to several federal and district laws, it puts both Brodsky and the ANC in positions of competing public interests. Might an ANC vote against Brodsky’s request affect alcohol licensing decisions in Georgetown?
 
As ABRA chair, might Brodsky's decisions on Georgetown alcohol matters be affected or carry the appearance of being affected by ANC 2E’s positive or negative decisions on street closures requested by his businesses?

D.C. Councilmember Phil Mendelson has raised concerns about what he calls Brodsky's "conflict situation," while others have questioned whether Brodsky's involvement with ANCs could lead to ex-partei communication -- improper contact with a represented party in a dispute -- which could invalidate decisions by ABRA or the ANC if legally challenged.
 
Longtime Washington attorney Don Dinan, general counsel to the D.C. Democratic State Committee, is troubled by Brodsky's dual role.  "It creates a direct conflict of interest if a person in an extremely powerful position over the fate of the neighborhood represented by an ANC, especially ANC 2E in Georgetown where liquor licenses are a key component in the quality of life in that neighborhood, to ask the ANC to endorse something that benefits him privately."

Lewis declined to comment on the Brodsky matter. He said the ANC will start the meeting with community input on another controversy -- Georgetown University's proposed expansion plan. "We're going to be giving [the Plan] a thorough scrubbing so we can focus our response," he said. "We want everyone in the community to have a chance to express" their view, Lewis said. Focusing on the expansion plan "is absolutely critical" for the community, he said.

0 Comments For This Article

Rob Halligan

Lots of the talk at yesterday's inaugural events was about how to get Brodsky off the ABC Board.

Funny...I heard just the opposite

With 2 years as the President of the Dupont Citizens Association and being an ANC Commissioner in Dupont Circle for 3 1/2 years seems to me the only thing you care about is preserving and extending the power of ANC's. Like any child who get's his marbles taken away at times you complain. I've seen Chairman Brodsky light into licensee's who act improperly and take licenses away from those who are dangerous. he's scolded them on the record when they act inappropriately and finally holds them accountable. To me he is striking a great balance between letting DC grow its business base and also protect the community. The problem is that ANC's are so used to getting their way and to bullying licensees into so called Voluntary Agreements that when someone has the guts to stand up to them they are labeled "anti-community". Perhaps you haven't seen the recent memo that went out from the AG's office reminding the entire DC Government that ANC's are there to provide advice only and do not have any legal entitlement to have their wishes carried out?

Rob Halligan

You talk about having the guts to stand up, but you aren't even willing to post under your own name...

Thomas

I have just recently been following local politics. This Brodsky fellow...I've read of "apparent conflict" of interest between his role within ABRA and his company. However, I am more interested in the facts. Has Mr. Brodsky done anything inappropriate? Has he used his ABRA role to benefit his business? I've heard a mix bag where he is highly respected and his judicable decisions have been stellar, but then people are upset (only ANCs)... but at what?..an "apparent conflict". Why is there lots of talk to get him off the board? From facts, the controversy seems to cover personalities rather than "what he actually" has done in "conflict". This article smells more like a smear campaign...no facts...just getting people concerned about a hypothetical situation. His position as Chair does not make him wrong. His position as a businessman in the city does not make him wrong. If he crossed the line... he is wrong. But, good folks cannot be dissuaded from local public office. The job pays nothing, with lots of accountability. I looked it up... ridiculously low pay. The Grey administration can't get any real good quality people, and I don't know what is going on there. In this case, almost any local businessman is going to have "an apparent conflict" if he becomes chair of
ABRA. From this article, it appears we are looking for someone that doesn't do business in the city to have no apparent conflict. What good is that? Of all the things going wrong in this city, I think we should focus on what matters. Hard results. Appointed people doing their jobs with honor and integrity. Mr. Brodsky seems to be doing his job well. Other appointed and elected officials...now I truly question...not over "apparent conflict" but "lack of results". Mr. Grey, get going or get out.

Burleith

I'd like to hear Charles Brodsky's response to allegations that he has sent texts to lawyers DURING ABRA hearings.