In June 2013, a consortium known as Vision McMillan Partners (VMP) was preparing for a hearing before the DC Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) on a proposed master plan to commercially develop historic landmark McMillan Park into residential housing and a large medical office building complex. Tania Jackson, head of Create Communitas, an outreach firm retained by VMP, contacted the following persons about a change in the HPRB’s hearing schedule for the McMillan project review:
- Cheryl Cort, Policy Director at the Coalition for Smarter Growth
- Commissioner Dianne Barnes, Chair of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 5E
- Commissioner Ronnie Edwards, Chair of ANC 5C
Ms. Jackson informed Ms. Cort, Commissioner Barnes, and Commissioner Edwards by email, “We are starting at 2:45 rather than 3:00PM,” referring to the newly announced starting time of the HPRB hearing on the same date, June 26th. This information was revealed recently as the result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents concerning the District Government’s handling of the McMillan Park project.
No members of the paid VMP team were included in this email correspondence, just officers of two ANCs and the Coalition for Smarter Growth. This email would seem to identify the recipients as part of the project’s outreach team, paid or not, although one might otherwise presume that these individuals testified on their own behalves rather than as part of the development project’s coordinated outreach team.
According to an earlier FOIA request for documents concerning the McMillan Park project, on June 20, 2013, Ms. Cort of the Coalition for Smarter Growth notified Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie’s staff that Friends of McMillan Park had planned a silent protest to take place during McDuffie’s “State of Ward 5” speech on June 25th. A member of McDuffie’s staff thanked Ms. Cort via email for the information and indicated that they had yet to hear this information elsewhere. Ms. Cort apparently obtained the information from Alex Posorske, Managing Director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth. McMillan Park is located in Ward 5 of the District of Columbia.
Kirby Vining was represented in the suit that produced one of the documents referred to above by Don Padou, a lawyer who specializes in FOIA cases.
The article above is based on document 002823 available in the “Barnes FOIA Documents” folder and on pages 205 and 206 of the document “FOIA_mcduffie_finalbatch_2_10jan14.pdf” available in the “McDuffie FOIA Documents” folder at the following location: