Vincent Orange's Money Machine

According to DC Council staffers, an adamant Vincent Orange has been speaking up about a parking meter maintenance contract, stating that a Maryland-based company should have received the contract instead of Xerox, which was objectively selected by a city procurement panel.  Orange seems adamant that the city selected the wrong vendor, and has made efforts within the Wilson Building to make sure his colleagues know that he firmly believes Worldwide Parking is the better team for the job. That has at least a few of his fellow councilmembers getting annoyed.

Maryland-based Worldwide Parking, Inc. was one of two vendors to submit a proposal to “perform asset management services to maintain and preserve parking meter assets” for the District Department of Transportation.  After reviewing proposals, a city evaluation panel selected Xerox in 2012 as the winning vendor, and Worldwide Parking launched a series of unsuccessful attempts to appeal the decision.  The contract is worth up to $33 million for 5 years, and Orange is trying to convince his Council colleagues to interfere with the contracting process to prevent Xerox from winning the contract.  Councilmember Mary Cheh’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment is said to be less than pleased at Orange’s shenanigans and will hold a roundtable hearing today at 3:15pm for everyone to air grievances before a vote to approve the contract.

Orange has a history of interfering with the contracting process & city officials.  In February of this year, he oddly tried to derail a contract awarded to a competitor of a campaign contributor to streamline operations at United Medical Center.  We also broke news in January that Vincent Orange interfered with health inspectors in an attempt to keep a different campaign contributor’s produce store open, even after inspectors saw evidence of rat feces tainting produce for sale to the public.

Preceding the latest episode of Orange’s peculiar rallying, Worldwide Parking Inc. donated the maximum legal amount- $2,000- to Vincent Orange’s campaign for mayor on November 22, 2013.  Also donating the maximum legal amount: Marc & Joel Meisel, president and CEO, respectively, of Worldwide Parking, which is headquartered at 6000 Executive Boulevard in Rockville, MD.

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As it happens, on the very same day, 7 other entities located at the same address and office suite also contributed the maximum-allowable amount to Orange’s mayoral campaign.  All in all, team Orange got $20,000 total in one day from 10 entities affiliated with Worldwide Parking or using the same address.

Santa Maria Resort Inc., for example, has a Florida business license to operate the Santa Maria Suites in Key West, which promises “a truly sophisticated and contemporary resort unlike the other hotels.”  It’s unclear what would motivate a Florida resort to take an interest in the DC mayor’s race, but Joel and Marc Meisel are listed as the corporate officers and the entity shares Worldwide Parking’s corporate home address, according to Florida records.

Relationships to Worldwide’s Rockville address or officers were also present in records for the other entities. Reviewing state records from DC, Maryland, Delaware, and Florida, these entities seem to be controlled by a small handful of people.

As stated previously, the entities’ campaign contributions were within the legal limits, and there have been no accusations of wrongdoing.  However, it’s an interesting look into the campaign finance process, especially in light of Orange’s bizarrely-timed rallying.

With the hearing set for 3:15pm today, perhaps the third time will be the charm for Vincent Orange.