Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder today denied denying that he never not knew he was receiving an extra $700 a month in his pay, saying that he “didn’t not” realize the vehicle stipend was being deposited into his bank account.
“I’m glad you asked, really,” the mayor told confused reporters gathered at City Hall, “but the key thing to understand is this: how could I know I was receiving extra money when I knowingly knew that I didn’t realize I was getting it?”
Meanwhile, befuddled journalists jotted down just how many double-negatives were used in the mayor’s explanation to see if a single positive was created, and therefore an admission of guilt. Wilder was being questioned as to whether he knew he’d been receiving a monthly cash allowance by the city for his personal vehicle since 2005, when, in fact, a city-owned car was already being provided to him during that time.
“You have to look at this situation in very simple, highly complex terms,” Wilder explained, taking a deep breath as he rubbed his sweating brow. “You see, the money I never saw with my own eyes, because it all came to me electronically and you can’t see that, unless you look at a statement. Whereas you can hold cash and feel it and see it, you just can’t see the electronic money unless you check the Internet or a piece of paper. So my point is, while I can’t see the money, I could. But I didn’t.”
While Wilder is paying back the roughly $23,000 to the city, the case has drawn questions as to whether a double standard was used since another city official – department of emergency services director Ben Johnson – was forced to resign over his $500 a month stipend, which he too said he did not know about.
Since the announcements, the mayor has maintained there was no double standard – and, in fact, it is all a matter of using the more rare double-back-flip half-standard.