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Gambia’s former lobbyist John Aycoth did not defraud the tiny West African nation, nor did he fail to work hard on the country’s behalf in Washington, as Gambian officials alleged during a four-day bench trial in September. Indeed, Judge Gladys Kessler wrote in a Nov. 20 opinion, Aycoth “provided substantial valuable services to Gambia for thirteen months” in 2001 and 2002. But his work does not mean he can recover the second $500,000 fee he says his two-year contract requires the Gambian government pay him. The reason: The D.C. government revoked the charter of Aycoth’s company, EAW Group, for nonpayment of his business-license fee in 1997. Aycoth did not learn of the lapse until defense counsel pointed it out during the lawsuit, and he immediately paid all back fees and was reinstated. But the gap in payment, Kessler wrote, means he is not entitled to profit on his contract and is only entitled to payment for services rendered — in this case, a month without pay, or $41,666.67, plus interest. “I feel vindicated,” says Aycoth, who was represented by Baker Botts. But he says he is disappointed about the money ruling and is deciding what to do next. Gambia’s counsel, Thomas Queen, could not be reached for comment.
Emma Schwartz can be contacted at [email protected].

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