ANC 5B04 Recording Recovered In FOIA Ongoing Case – Hear It Here

120px-Freedom_of_Information_logoAnyone who follows our blog, or just Brookland civic events, is aware of an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) court case involving ANC 5B04 Commissioner Steptoe and a private citizen, Conor Crimmins, over her audio recording of the  April 2013 ANC 5B-04 meeting. The result of the FOIA case was this summary judgment, requiring Commissioner Steptoe to release the recording. In our latest update on this case, we shared that Commissioner Steptoe was subpoenaed after the attorney for ANC 5B stated that the recording is unavailable and that the ANC had taken all reasonable steps to produce it unsuccessfully. At the court date for which Commissioner Steptoe was subpoenaed, an eye-witness told me that the Commissioner claimed that she had no idea what happened to the recording. She also turned the audio recorder over to the judge, and the judge, in turn, allowed a forensics expect to examine the recorder. According to a discussion I had with Mr. Crimmins, the forensics expert was able to retrieve the audio file in less than an hour at a cost of just over $300. The forensics expert is also creating a report that will be submitted to the court that states that the recording was deleted. You can hear the recording here. Note that the part of the meeting concerning Brookland’s Finest Restaurant, that I would suspect many readers would be most interested in, begins around the 48 minute mark.

As for the next steps in the case, the attorney for Mr. Crimmins will be filing a motion soon alleging Civil Contempt of Court, which basically means failure to adhere to an order from the court. We will let you know when we get any further news in this ongoing court case.

22 thoughts on “ANC 5B04 Recording Recovered In FOIA Ongoing Case – Hear It Here”

  1. Please be patient when jumping forward in the recording for example to minute 48. It takes a little bit for the audio to load, since it is a very long audio file.

  2. Holy cow. Talk about the exact opposite of representative democracy. Thanks to all for their efforts to get this recording to the public.

  3. “Isn’t that something about being the commissioner? Sorry I’m in control. We are going to follow the Commissioner’s rules. The meeting is now adjourned.”

    Critical is that the Commissioner had alleged that the meeting was adjourned because the citizens who attended were out of control. This tape shows this to be untrue and that there was no attempt by Commissioner to work to maintain the meeting. When questioned, she summarily dismissed the purported “unruly” crowd who followed instructions and filed out in an orderly fashion–amazing for a mob, no?

    This entire farce makes my stomach turn. The cost to the citizens in having to expend tax dollars to defend the case, to the FOIA requestors to continue to fight for transparency, and most troubling to DC residents and business owners who had to delay and delay the work and opening of their restaurant because of the outsized ego and bias of a single “commissioner.”

    Bottom line, this is why we can’t have nice things. Like home rule. UGH UGH UGH

  4. Thank goodness that the forensics expert was able to retrieve the recording. Now citizens can hear what really happened. I hope that the court holds Steptoe accountable for her outrageous behavior and contempt for the law. Even more, I’d like to see her fellow ANC5B commissioners hold her accountable, but that is unlikely to happen.

    1. There were three other 5B commissioners present at this meeting, two of whom are still sitting commissioners. The way this meeting went is well known to 5B.

  5. LLG, that is a nice thought that the voters should hold all of them accountable at the ballot box. However, our voters are really stupid. Hence, the only remedy available for us is jail. (See, Harry Thomas Jr.)

    1. NE John,

      You went to far when you called voters stupid. That was an extremely arrogant, rude, and elitist remark. I am a voter and I am not stupid. I think you owe your fellow citizens and taxpayers an apology.

  6. Hello – I am very pleased to learn that Brookland Bridge has published this recording. Specifically, I appreciate that the full disruptive, disrespectful, inciteful rancor of this meetings’ participants – including a civic association leader who had to be ejected – is now widely heard. Clearly, as commissioner host of a 70+ attendee turned out-of-control, mob info meeting – at which substantive guest presentation info was not desired – adjournment of this 3 hour scheduled meeting was the most sensible decision. Thank you kindly!

  7. Commissioner, you do not represent the interests of your constituents, you do not represent democracy, and you regularly lie. This was not in any way a mob-like meeting. You tried to hide this recording for as long as possible and it took a court order and a forensics expert to extract the audio recording of this event. Why hide from this? Because you know you are guilty. Plain and simple.

  8. Comment to the group– is there a way to recall an ANC Commissioner? When is the next ANC election? Steptoe needs to go.

  9. Yes, it was BNCA’S current president who began the disruptive outbursts w/in the first half hour. Once he was asked to leave, the crowd’s mood became overtly hostile and their behavior, unfortunately, went sorely downhill. There is always a positive though… I believe I did a superb job in extreme mob management; as a commissioner, one person controlling 70+ irrationally angry adults is no small feat. Thanks again for posting.

  10. Is this supposed to be some kind of dispositive indictment of Carolyn Steptoe’s leadership style?? To me it says more about the mob of organized BF supporters than anything else. The Commissioner is seeking information about the bar being proposed. She questions in a staccato style, but that’s how she speaks. Catcalls and boos follow. I do not understand the level of contempt many BF supporters seem to have that there are some people who don’t welcome the idea of living next door to a bar. Personally, I would want my ANC Commissioner to ask tough questions and to be skeptical on my behalf. That said, it should not have taken legal action to elicit the tape of the meeting and I’m glad Conor Crimmins pursued it, even if only to make a point about the importance of transparency.

    1. Caroline,

      Were you at the meeting in question? I was at the meeting and I went into it with an open mind. There was no “mob of organized BF supporters”. Your characterization is not misleading, it is patently false. Ms. Steptoe was rude during the meeting to everyone who did not share her point of view and did not want her to interrupt the owners of BF. The crowd became vocal when she rudely disrespected a woman who attempted to ask a follow on question. In addition the crowd was agitated because the agenda fir the meeting had BF as the first item. When Ms. Steptoe realized most of the people were in the room to hear about BF she move them to the end in order to make everyone sit through items and issues that the majority of the room did not care about. She forced the majority of the people to endure almost an hour of this and when a young lady asked her about it she was rude and flippant to her as well. If you were there, you would have seen that she had a clear agenda of presenting the establishment in a negative light. The majority of the people in the room were interested in hearing about BF, not supporters of it. Ms. Steptoe’s rude, arrogant, and dismissive behavior turned the crowd against her. It is my belief that she created BF supporters that day due to her treatment of the owners and the attendees of the meeting. BF became a symbol of anti-Steptoe sentiment. I was not happy that BF did not get a chance to speak. That’s why I created my web page. I wanted them to get the chance to have their say. Ms. Steptoe should be commended for her actions. If she had let them speak, who knows how it would have turned out? Because she didn’t, she became BF’s greatest supporter and rallying point. Well done, Ms. Steptoe!

  11. Caroline,

    I understand that not everyone welcomes living next to a bar. But we do need to keep in mind that the building where BF is going is, and has been, a commercially zoned building for as long as anyone can remember. The neighbors who live there had as much access to this information as anyone else. They have chosen to live near a commercially zoned corridor. There are multiple businesses along 12th street with similar business formats to BF that Commissioner Steptoe did not harass in the manner that she did BF.

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