The embattled agency in charge of the $6 billion Dulles Rail project will part ways Wednesday with a board member who insiders claim was a leading force behind the nepotism and insider dealing that federal investigators said were running rampant throughout the agency.
H.R. Crawford, of the District, will attend his last meeting of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority on Wednesday, unapologetically leaving behind a trail of jobs and contracts he secured over the years for family and friends.
It's not clear how many jobs Crawford personally helped people get, but two granddaughters are among those now working for the authority, and his daughter-in-law previously held a position there. He also found a job for the mother of someone who works for his development company, Mamie Dickens, even though Dickens claims she doesn't even know Crawford.
Dickens' situation was indicative of how hand-picked favorites got jobs at the authority, according to insiders and federal investigators. Dickens was first brought in as a temporary employee. But last year she was promoted to a permanent, $35,000-a-year position as a supply clerk, authority documents viewed by The Washington Examiner show.
Crawford, a former member of the D.C. Council who has survived other federal investigations, said he sees nothing wrong with getting jobs for people he knows.
"It was standard operating procedure when I first joined the authority," Crawford told The Examiner. "I am guilty of [getting a job for Mamie Dickens]. And guess what? I would do it again," he told fellow board members in November.
Federal investigators found a slew of problems inside the airports authority, including the kind of nepotism Crawford practiced. The FBI is also investigating potential crimes involving contracts issued by the authority.
Controversy isn't new to Crawford. He was under the shadow of a federal grand jury probe in the mid-1980s that resulted in an aide pleading guilty to tax evasion. Federal officials also investigated him for possible conflict-of-interest violations when he served in the Nixon administration as an assistant secretary of housing, though he was cleared in the end.
One of Crawford's granddaughters, Rebecca Taylor, still works at the authority as an information systems technician in the human resources department with a salary of $49,270.
Another granddaughter, Charli Crawford, worked at the authority as an intern for about three years, earning between $8 and $12 an hour.
H.R. Crawford's daughter-in-law, Curtistine Crawford, worked at the authority as a human resources technician for a salary of $46,433.
The authority insists it is revamping employment, contracting and ethics policies to address concerns raised by federal investigators and officials in Virginia who are paying for part of the Dulles Rail project.
Crawford will be replaced on the board in January by D.C. labor leader Joslyn Williams.