Case 40:   Washington DC Drinking Water Threatened by Racial Politics

Racial Preferences = Racial Discrimination
1.6 Million DC area residents almost had a "Boiled Water" alert because the water authority couldn't find a minority-owned supplier of a critical water-purification chemical!

Web Posted March 18, 2004 -- Updated Nov. 2, 2004

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1. Overview

[Adversity.Net Report March 18, 2004] -- In February the Washington, DC suburbs came within 14 days of running out of safe drinking water due to racial politics at the water and sewer authority.

          The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) delayed buying a critical water treatment chemical while they hunted for a politically-correct minority or woman owned supplier.  Except they couldn't find a minority supplier!

Safe Drinking Water in DC Threatened by Racial Politics
WSSC serves 1.6 million water customers around Washington, DC.
          WSSC was so intent on finding a minority business to whom to give the $1.5 million contract for the critical chemical that WSSC overlooked the fact that their treatment plant had less than a two week supply of the stuff on hand!
Footnote April 11, 2004:

According to the Washington Post, during the week of April 5, 2004 -- nearly 60 days after WSSC almost ran out of the critical chemical because of racial politics -- the WSSC reluctantly approved a "waiver" to allow the chemical to be shipped by a "non-minority" business.  Imagine that! (10)

Marylanders almost lost safe drinking water due to racial politics.
Immediately adjacent to DC:  Montgomery County and Prince Georges County, Maryland are home to thousands of federal workers and elected officials.
          The chemical, polyaluminum hydroxychlorosulfate, causes impurities in the water to settle to the bottom. The filtration plant cannot operate without it. 1.6 million water customers in the WSSC service area depend upon this chemical for clean, safe drinking water.

          The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission is run by a 6-member commission.  3 commissioners are appointed by the Montgomery County executive (a Democrat), and answer to him exclusively, and 3 commissioners are appointed by the Prince Georges County executive (a Democrat), and answer to him exclusively.

          Both counties have a huge minority population -- including a large number of illegal aliens -- and both counties are heavily Democratic, liberal supporters of racial preferences and quotas.

          According to the Washington Post "WSSC attempts to contract with certified minority businesses when practical but waives that requirement in some cases."(2)

          Since 1999 the water authority has been under great pressure from the local NAACP and from the Democrat-controlled commission which oversees its operations to increase the representation of certain races and women among its contractors, suppliers and employees. During the past 5 years the agency has steered one-third of all its supply and purchase contracts to non-white, non-male owned businesses, to the tune of $170 million in critical supply and service contracts reserved exclusively for minority or historically disadvantaged businesses.(2)


"One of the nation's largest water and sewer utilities, WSSC -- which has 1,500 employees and a $659 million annual budget -- serves multiple political masters. It was created 86 years ago by the Maryland General Assembly and is overseen by the legislative delegations of Montgomery and Prince George's counties. Its professional managers serve at the pleasure of the commission, which is appointed by the executives and confirmed by the councils of each county." (5.1)

          One Democratic county council member, George L. Leventhal, was quoted by the Washington Post as saying "I don't know that diversity is the first thing we want. I think the first thing we want is safe drinking water."(2)

2. Water Authority Turns Against Pro-Diversity Manager

          Here’s the kicker: The water commissioners "forgot" they were about to run out of the critical chemical because they were busy trying to illegally fire WSSC General Manager John R. Griffin for having spent too much money on diversity initiatives!   But Griffin was hired by the 6 commissioners to increase "forced diversity" within the agency, and he has excellent liberal Democratic and pro-racial quota credentials.

          That’s right. The water commission tabled action on the critical $1.5 million supply contract -- and endangered the health of 1.6 million water customers -- while they squabbled over Griffin’s "excessive" diversity expenditures, including:

"Griffin ordered four days of diversity training for all 1,400 employees, at a cost of about $2,272 a person."(1)   That’s a $3.2 million expenditure for diversity training by an agency which is strapped for operating funds.
WSSC manager Griffin paid $842,000 for a "diversity study" paid to a pricey lawyer, Weldon H. Latham, a partner at Holland and Knight, whose firm just so happens to have raised $25,000 for Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan's political campaign.  Not coincidentally, in apparent gratitude, Duncan used County funds to hire Latham’s wife, Constantia B. Latham, at a salary of $109,000 / year as a special assistant.  According to her official bio on the Montgomery County web site, one of her specialties is "cultural diversity".  Constantia's lawyer-husband, Weldon, also helped lay the groundwork for enormous race-based payouts in such infamous racial extortion cases as Texaco, Coca-Cola and General Motors.(3) Mongtomery County, Maryland appoints 50% of the commissioners
Doug Duncan appoints 50% of the Commissioners
Griffin purchased 1,400 copies of a self-help book for his managers and senior employees.  The book, "Play to Win!", was written by a consultant who was given a multimillion dollar contract to perform sensitivity training at the water and sewer authority.(4) 

3. History of Racial Preferences

WSSC Preferences

Also see related Case 42: Dr. Stanley Dea vs. WSSC.  This is the incredible story of the late Dr. Stanley Dea who had been the highest ranking Asian American employed by WSSC.

When Dr. Dea refused to hire or promote less-qualified minority candidates when more qualified whites were available, WSSC illegally retaliated against him.

It took 8 years of litigation -- during which Dr. Dea passed away -- but he was vindicated by the Court on June 15, 2001.

          The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission has a long history of political favoritism in awarding lucrative contracts to racial special interest groups and political donors.  Us ordinary citizens who have neither the "big picture" nor the funds to buy our own politicians would probably call these arrangements corruption and graft.

          In 1997, for example, WSSC attempted to bypass the white-owned low bidder on a sludge hauling contract in order to give the $11.5 million contract to a politically-connected minority-owned firm, MTI Construction.(4)  The decision was ultimately overturned by the courts.  The WSSC commissioner who tried to steer the contract to the higher-cost minority-owned firm was Juanita Miller to whose own political campaign MTI Construction had made substantial political contributions.  Ms. Miller is no longer a WSSC commissioner.

          Now it gets really deep.

          At the time of the bungled 1997 MTI minority-purchase scam at the water and sewer authority, Wayne Curry happened to be the first black county executive of Prince Georges County, and MTI happened to have been a huge fund raiser for Mr. Curry’s various political campaigns. As the first black county executive for Prince George’s County, Wayne Curry became infamous for steering contracts to minority-owned businesses who were also substantial contributors to his political fund. Wayne Curry
Wayne Curry, former Prince Georges Executive
Prince Georges County, Maryland appoints 50% of the commissioners           Under Curry’s direction, MTI Construction was awarded over $1.9 million in road construction and storm drain work relating to construction of the new Washington Redskins Football Stadium (FedEx Field) which was being built in Mr. Curry’s county.  MTI also bought a $10,000 box at the Upper Marlboro Equestrian Center for Mr. Curry’s inauguration as County Executive.  In the years following Curry’s 1994 inauguration MTI Construction also received an additional $10 million in county contract work over and above the Redskins Stadium deal.(6)

          "In 1996, a Washington Post investigation described how a commission member used his political ties to gain construction contracts at the new Redskins stadium in Landover."(5.2)  That commission member was Duane W. Oates, the owner owner of two minority-owned contracting companies.  The Post’s investigation revealed that County executive Wayne Curry appointed Mr. Oates to the board of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission. As a commissioner of WSSC, minority business owner Duane Oates had enormous power over the permitting process for all major construction projects in the county who needed water and sewer connections.  Oates made and used many influential contacts in the local construction industry as a WSSC commissioner, and he was in a position to extract favors and concessions from construction firms across the county.  As a WSSC commissioner, Oates’ companies received over $3 million in county contracts.  Oates also raised over $500,000 for county executive Wayne Curry’s political campaigns, and the Oates family personally gave over $17,000 in additional political contributions directly to Curry’s campaign coffers.(6)

4. Footnotes and Sources

1 "WSSC Troubles Culminate in Disputed Firings", Washington Post 02-25-04

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2 "Threat To Water Reserves Averted", Washington Post 03-01-04

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3 "WSSC Contract to Review Diversity Plagued by Allegations of Patronage", Washington Post 03-07-04 (page 1 of 2)

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4 "WSSC Contract to Review Diversity Plagued by Allegations of Patronage", Washington Post 03-07-04 (page 2 of 2)

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5.1 "Latest WSSC Allegations Renew Questions of Spending, Cronyism", Washington Post 03-15-04

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5.2 "Latest WSSC Allegations Renew Questions of Spending, Cronyism", Washington Post 03-15-04

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6 "White Contractors Excluded from $50 million in Redskins Stadium Deal", Adversity.Net 07-10-00


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7 "WSSC Member's Company Did Work for Utility", Washington Post 03-21-04

"Business Was Paid $1.46 Million During Time Since Appointment"

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8 "Prince George's Officials Meet In Private on WSSC Member", Washington Post 03-25-04

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9 "Two Admit Cheating WSSC Through Kickback Scheme", Washington Post 03-26-04

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10 "WSSC [minority] Deal Added Little but Cost", Washington Post 04-11-04

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END CASE 40:  DC Drinking Water Threatened by Racial Politics!


Be Sure to Also See:
Case 42 - Dr. Stan Dea vs. WSSC
Posted Nov. 4, 2004

Final Fourth Circuit Opinion:
Deas v. WSSC
June 15, 2001

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*  We use the term reverse discrimination reluctantly and only because it is so widely understood.  In our opinion there really is only one kind of discrimination.