Peter Nickles, the D.C. attorney general who has drawn fire for his close ties to Mayor Adrian Fenty, said that given Fenty’s loss to D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray in last night’s Democratic primary, he plans to announce either his retirement or resignation within the next 30 days. The former Covington & Burling partner said in an interview today that he “could not serve under Mr. Gray’s mayoralty.”
Nickles, 71, said he plans to “stick around” long enough to ensure that “the reforms we have implemented during the past three years and the pending cases we have are appropriately handled.”
As The National Law Journal reported in November, Nickles joined the administration as the mayor’s general counsel but was tapped to serve as attorney general after Fenty’s first AG, Linda Singer, resigned amid reports that interference from Nickles drove her to quit.
Since then, he has been a key figure in a number of high-profile controversies, including his decision to evict a nonprofit group run by Cora Masters Barry, the estranged wife of D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8), from the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center; the 2009 decision to block the city auditor from accessing records belonging to two now-defunct city agencies; and a series of suits filed against city slumlords.
Nickles said he has received “a lot of different calls” from prospective employers in the private sector, but he has not decided what he wants to do. “In light of my age and my continued good health and the number of people who want to put my expertise to work on their behalf, there are a lot of options,” he said.
Nickles said he wants to ensure that the District’s demonstration cases are settled “to the benefit of the city,” and that other pending suits are “handled properly.”
Among those who said they will not be sad to see Nickles step down is Steven Anderson, who heads the D.C. Attorney General’s Office union. The union and Nickles have been locked in a bitter dispute over the implementation of an employment agreement. That case is now before the D.C. Court of Appeals.
“We have high hopes for the next attorney general and hope to get one that abides by his or her agreements,” Anderson said.