Posting, on the Other Hand: Not So Lucrative

Dc SkoolsLooking at the way the DC city government spends money is a lot like what it must be like to be a woman married to Tom Cruise: No one wants to address the main issue, the status quo is really bad for morale, and getting a straight (as it were) answer is like squeezing blood from a Thetan. Nevertheless, the WaPo is doing a heroic job of scrutinizing the district's worst practices, in a series looking at the mischief that no-bid contracts do in a city government straining to recover from decades of shameless cronyism. Today's entry is a close-up study of the strange career of Archie Prioleau, who since 1998, when he emerged out of personal bankruptcy proceedings, sopped up some $5.4 million in city money for ambitious sounding education projects--e.g., a business-minded retooling of the curriculum and facilities of McKinley High School, and a job placement program for would-be teen IT workers called Links to Learn. The latter concern was "training" a scant 3 pupils when an inspector looked in on it in 2004 (two of whom who left after "a break"). And even with city largess in the mid-7-figures at his fingertips Prioleau was unable to keep paying storage facility bills when he moved the operation from a rent-free site in the Southwest DC to a walkup in Adams Morgan. Some $195,000 in school equipment was auctioned off for less than $9,000 in delinquent storage fees. Our favorite detail, though: Prioleau appears to have siphoned a sweet $213,000 off in subsidiary fees to a second nonprofit he also founded. Read; weep:

For two years, Prioleau hired a second company he runs, paying it about $213,000 for consulting work to his nonprofit organization.

The company, FEI Enterprises Inc., had a similar name and shared offices with his nonprofit organization. Prioleau headed both and, at times, his wife and his brother were officers in both firms. He subcontracted the firm for services including such tasks as "test and reproduce charts and posters.

Two hundred grand, and the place didn't even distribute the damn posters and charts. We knew there was some reason our parents kept insisting: "Poster-testing. Get in on the ground floor. Now." Apart from them being, you know, high.

Lavish Spending, Little Reward [WaPo]


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