In June, as the still-ongoing exploits of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) board began hitting their peak, former Gov. Tim Kaine made a private phone call to his much-maligned appointee o the board, Loudoun resident Dennis Martire.
“I told Denny, ‘look, once you become the news rather than the work [on Metro’s Silver Line], it’s time to step aside,” Kaine, a candidate for U.S. Senate against former Gov. George Allen, told the Times-Mirror during a Sept. 18 campaign stop in Ashburn.
Clearly, Martire, the vice president and regional manager of Laborers’ International Union of North America’s Mid-Atlantic region, didn’t heed his appointor’s advice. Martire’s yet to step down from the board, despite attempts from Gov. Bob McDonnell to replace him with Fairfax Republican Caren Merrick. The Kaine appointee continues to wage a legal battle against McDonnell and members of the MWAA board for their efforts to remove him.
Exacerbating the issue, Martire has billed the authority for his legal fees.
With his union ties and lavish spending of MWAA funds, Martire has become a key figure in the ongoing saga of the authority’s mismanagement. During one overseas trip, he tabbed MWAA more than $10,000. Altogether, his expenses have surpassed $35,000.
Questions regarding Martire’s conduct led Allen to publicly call for Kaine to withdraw his support of Martire.
“Tim Kaine needs to publicly call on his appointee to resign from the MWAA board and end this costly litigation over his dismissal. The fact that unions are one of Tim Kaine’s largest contributors shouldn’t prevent him from doing the right thing,” Allen said in August.
The Kaine campaign didn’t immediately respond directly to Allen’s charge or disclose the call Kaine made to Martire.
A Kaine spokesperson at the time instead referenced the behavior of two of Allen’s MWAA appointees, former state Sen. Robert Calhoun and J. Kenneth Klinge, both of whom earned tens of thousands of dollars as lobbyists for the authority after their terms on the board ended.
By Sept 18, though, Kaine said the actions of Martire and other members of the board – including certain appointees of Allen – have become a distraction from MWAA’s pressing business, which includes the oversight of D.C.‘s two major airports and the construction of Metro’s Silver Line.
“I let [Martire] know in June it was time to step aside … It’s a very discouraging sideshow,” Kaine said of the authority board’s mismanagement. “What’s important about MWAA is the [Silver Line] project, and you look at it everyday, people on the job are building something that’s really important.”
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