Investigation dismisses charges against mayor

An eight-month long federal investigation, including thousands of documents and interviews, concluded alumnus and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray will not face charges for a wrongful hiring claim.

A U.S. House of Representatives ethics committee declared Monday it did not find sufficient evidence to support ex-candidate Sulaimon Brown’s allegations that Gray’s staff bribed him to bash then-incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty in last year’s election in exchange for a city job.

The criminal probe, which launched in March, said there was some “circumstantial evidence that may support Brown’s allegations,” but could not verify the claimed offer of employment.

The 50-page report found evidence to suggest Gray’s campaign consultant, Howard Brooks, financed part of Brown’s campaign. Brooks, who pleaded the Fifth Amendment and declined to be interviewed, was not subpoenaed for the investigation. The mayor’s campaign finance irregularities are currently under a separate federal review.

“Committee investigators discovered numerous money orders that appear to have come from members of the Brooks family and persons connected to Brooks,” the report read.

The report dismissed the allegations of promised employment largely due to Brown’s poor credibility.

“His erratic behavior and poor grasp of the facts undercut his claims of veracity,” according to the document.

Brown was hired to a six-figure position in Gray’s administration in January, bringing the new mayor under fire for the political appointee.

Less than a month later, local news outlets exposed several arrests and a restraining order against Brown.

Brown, who was also under watch for threatening coworkers, was fired Feb. 24, according to the report.

Gray’s spokeswoman Doxie McCoy said the investigation has not impacted the mayor’s agenda and he will continue to work in the same manner as the past year.

“Of course we are disappointed about the information that has come out, and we look forward to completion of all investigations, but Mayor Gray’s agenda was not affected,” she said.

During the federal review, investigators interviewed Gray’s staff and subpoenaed documents, including cell phone records, e-mails and text messages between Brown and Gray’s campaign staff, but uncovered little new evidence of the corruption charges that have fouled Gray’s first year.

The results of the report resembled the D.C. Council’s investigation earlier this summer, which confirmed a top official in Gray’s campaign paid Brown to politically attack the former mayor, although Brown overstated the bribe. This probe did not find that Gray was directly involved with the incident.

Gray has repeatedly said he made no such deal, and Brown was only offered a job interview. The alumnus also has repeatedly denied Brown’s claim that the Gray administration paid him thousands of dollars to stay in the race last November.

The impact of this evidence was eroded by Brown’s “erratic behavior,” and the report determined, “It is not possible to conclude that Mr. Brown was improperly offered employment in exchange for his attacks on then-Mayor Fenty.”

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.