UPDATE-this was rescinded in March 2024 following an DC AG opinion saying ANC exceeded its authority https://oag.dc.gov/sites/default/files/2023-01/ANC-1B05-Letter-to-Commissioner-Kensek-Re-Censure-Special-Committee-and-Appeals-.pdf
ANC 1B voted 8-2 to officially censure one of its members, Alan Kensek, Thursday night. The censure was on the grounds of:
- “using his official position in order to coerce concessions from local establishments”
- “using ANC resources, including his official ANC email and official public meetings of ANC 1B and its committees, for campaign purposes”
- harassment towards other commissioners
This censure follows the October meeting reported on by Barred in DC where a special committee was formed to investigate allegations. The special committee’s report can be found here (starting on page 24), and Barred in DC’s reporting is cited. Since this is a bar-related account, focusing on the bar-related allegations, here are excerpts from the report related to those:
On May 27, 2022, a representative from Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U St. NW) reached out to ANC 1B commissioners to inform them that Commissioner Kensek had been banned from the establishment for 60 days due to an incident that occurred on May 14, 2022. The Nellie’s staff member informed the ANC that Commissioner Kensek had attempted to gain access to the upper level smoking area after it had closed. When confronted by security, Commissioner
Kensek refused to leave and had to be forcibly removed from the premises by the security team. After the event, Commissioner Kensek called the bar manager of Nellie’s multiple times,
threatening staff, and claimed that he “didn’t want to make trouble for them,” insinuating that he would use his power as an ANC Commissioner to make it difficult to acquire the necessary ABRA licenses. Censure Committee members followed up with Nellie’s staff in October to confirm the allegations. Nellie’s staff informed the Committee that Commissioner Kensek was a “repeat offender” and had “harassed staff” repeatedly.
On June 1, the owner of the bar Kiki (915 U St. NW), Keaton Fedak, informed Commissioner Behna that Commissioner Kensek had been in the bar and refused to leave when the bar was closing, arguing that the bar had to let him stay because Commissioner Kensek was an ANC
Commissioner. Mr. Fedak also stated that Commissioner Kensek claimed to work with ABRA and that he would get the establishment in trouble with ABRA if they didn’t allow him to stay and drink. Mr. Fedak had considered banning him from the establishment, but chose not to.
Since the motion was passed at the October ANC 1B meeting, other residents and local establishments have reached out to Committee members to say that they have had similar experiences with Commissioner Kensek. These include:
Phone call with bar staff who reached out after seeing the Barred in DC article “ANC 1B
Investigating Allegations Against ANC Commissioner” published October 11, 2022 (“Barred in DC Article”). This individual described Commissioner Kensek as a “repeat offender” who came in intoxicated after being served at other establishments, would order more drinks and get cut off, then berate staff. According to staff, he threatened to call the owner and cited his role as ANC. It was reported that Cmsr. Kensek also said something to the effect of the following: “Who do you think you are, I know owner [said name] I will give him a call.” When [BAR] staff spoke to
Commissioner Kensek the next day, he threatened the staffer’s job. [Bar] Staff reports that Commissioner Kensek was banned from the establishment for a period of time but eventually allowed to return.
Correspondence with a bar patron who reached out after seeing the Barred in DC Article. This patron described an evening earlier this year in a bar on U Street in which Commissioner Kensek was extremely intoxicated and rudely interrupted their party on the back patio, taking a
seat from a guest who had left to use the restroom. Per patron: “His speech was completely slurred as he interrupted two separate conversations at our table, mentioning (amongst a lot of gibberish) he was an ANC Rep. We first politely asked him to let us finish our conversation. When he continued we had to yell at him to leave us alone and stay out of our conversation. He stayed at our table, uninvited, for at least 10 more minutes. After a third reminder from our group he needed to stop interrupting us, he drunkenly stumbled away. His behavior was so egregious, it even attracted the attention of other guests at nearby tables and the bar staff.” After that time, the patron reports witnessing similar behavior at the same location, e.g. regularly sitting with people uninvited, who ask him to leave because he is too intoxicated, and almost always mentions his ANC status when people ask him to leave them alone. Patron reports that owners of the bar had to have a conversation with Commissioner Kensek because of the number of complaints he was getting about him.
Another anonymous poster on the Barred in DC Article claimed that Commissioner Kensek had repeatedly sexually harrassed them to the point where they would not go to a certain establishment anymore to avoid him. The Special Committee sees this as a particularly disturbing allegation that, while not corroborated, bears mentioning here and a response from Commissioner Kensek.
Kensek was allowed an opportunity to respond, and this was his response to the bar-related allegations:
Commissioner using an official position for priority access to establishments on U Street NW and 14th Street NW areas.
This has never happened. This is simply gossip and an organization who has over 17 Investigation reports/citations from assault to police officers to patrons, against them, trying to come off in the public as law abiding business. I can count on one (1) hand how many times I have been at Nellie’s during my 7 years of living in this great city, however being accused as a “repeat offender” is a blatant lie. If anyone is a “repeat offender” it is Nellie’s and their establishment. I also have never “harassed staff” at Nellie’s. The 1B constituents knows what Nellie’s has done and have voiced many concerns even at our last in-person meeting October 6th, 2022. With all of these allegations about me using my Commissioner status in the “U” street
area to gain access and it is now being brought up eight (8) months later, one (1) month before elections. No one from a news article writes about it. No one speaks about it until now. There is nothing notarized or signed. U street is a small area, but yet all of a sudden, these anonymous people/comments are coming out.
Commissioner refusing to leave when asked or at closing, citing their commissioner status 3.Commissioner banned from local bars and taverns due to behavior.
As far as Keaton Fedak, the owner of Kiki, informing Commissioner Behna on June 1st that I refused to leave during closing time due to me being a Commissioner is not true and never happened. Furthermore, I find it concerning that this bar would take my money and well-paid tips as a patron and go to another acting commissioner and say these things about me. I have never said I worked with ABRA and if Kiki didn’t allow me to stay, I would get them in trouble. This never happened. I am not on the Commission for ABRA and have been to two (2) meetings in the past two (2) months. This incident is stating June 1st is a lie. I have never been banned from Kiki and they certainly enjoyed my financial support during my few visits of this 1B local establishment.
Local establishments reaching out to the Committee members to say that since the motion was passed at the October ANC 1B meeting, other residents and local establishments have reached out to Committee members to say that they have had similar experiences with Commissioner Kensek is gossip and not true. “Barred in DC” is a TMZ/ National Enquirer type of online gossip column. It was meant to slander my character. I am not aware of being banned and allowed back in. This is 100% hearsay and that’s all.
For a “supposed” patron to reach out after that nonsensical article is hard to believe. This did not happen.
I have never sexually harassed anyone in my life, which was added to the comments section based off of the “Barred in DC” article. Again, this supposed anonymous caller/writer is made up from the Commission to make me look bad. Just like the innocent comment of the date and time for the public special committee hearing.
Read the report linked above for more about other accusations.
Censure is the only remedy available to an ANC, and bar a member from serving on ANC committees or executive positions for rest of term.
Kensek, who was sworn into office in late March of this year (to replace a commissioner he had lost to in the 2020 election by 54 percentage points, after she resigned the position), represents ANC 1B05 (the area around Malcolm X Park east of 16th). Kensek has officially declared to to be a write-in candidate for the new ANC 1B05, and will be running against current ANC 1B04 commissioner Deborah Thomas (also as a write-in), as they are now in the same SMD.
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