Who is ‘Disadvantaged?’

David W. Wilmot is D.C.’s top-earning lobbyist. He is African American and has Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification, which has helped him secure multimillion dollar contracts, The Washington Times reports. Now there’s a D.C. City Council debate going on over who should receive minority contracts.

“The system has been used to privilege the old guard to receive contracts to the exclusion of others who could use a leg up,” D.C. City Councilman David Catania (At-large) told the Times. “We need to establish time limits and income limits. It isn’t intended to be perpetual training wheels.”

Ward 8 Democrat Marion Barry, a longtime friend and client of Mr. Wilmot, says procurement preferences belong to any businessman associated with a group that has “historically been discriminated against.”

Mr. Barry says Mr. Wilmot fits into the class of historically disadvantaged businessmen because he is black. “It’s not based on income,” Mr. Barry said. “It’s easier to get a car loan than a business loan right now. Plus, the banks are run by white men, and it’s a well-known fact that we don’t have access to capital.”

Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown would not comment directly on Mr. Wilmot’s status as a disadvantaged businessman. “It’s a national debate,” he said, “and the standards are always changing. Mr. Wilmot has been around for a long time. He brings a certain level of sophistication and expertise. But I don’t know what his net worth is.”

When pressed, Mr. Brown offered: “You can’t say you are disadvantaged and not be.”

Read more at: www.washingtontimes.com