Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans threatened Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority officials with termination to suppress an ethics probe into his business dealings, The Washington Post reported Friday.
More than 900 pages of internal documents from the Metro Board of Directors ethics committee investigation obtained by The Post reveal that Evans, the board’s chairman at the time, repeatedly chastised Metro General Counsel Patricia Lee and Jennifer Green Ellison, the board’s corporate secretary, for their work on the probe. Evans’ remarks to Lee and Ellison were part of a broader campaign to limit the release of the probe’s results, according to the documents.
Metro ethics committee members released a letter in June revealing that Evans failed to disclose a consulting agreement with Colonial Parking, Inc. while the company sought contracts with WMATA, violating Metro ethics codes. Three days after the letter was issued, Evans told D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson that he would step down from his position on the board and would not seek re-election as chair when his term ended that month.
Ellison, the board’s secretary, told Clarence Crawford, the ethics committee chairman, that Evans told her in May she could be terminated after Lee was fired, according to notes taken by Crawford and obtained by The Post.
Notes from Crawford and Lynn Bowersox – Metro’s assistant general manager for customer service, communications and marketing – reveal that the pair learned about Evans’ threats directed toward Lee about both employees’ jobs by May 8, one day after the ethics panel found Evans had committed a violation, according to The Post.
Ellison and Lee both declined to comment. Evans’ lawyer, Mark Tuohey, and his D.C. Council office did not immediately return requests for comment.
Bowersox told The Post that Lee received phone calls from Evans and Corbett Price, an Evans ally who served on the Metro board’s ethics committee, after Lee drafted a resolution for the Metro’s full board of directors about the panel’s findings at Crawford’s request, according to The Post.
“I was witnessing [Lee] receiving the calls,” from Evans and Price, Bowersox told The Post. “Patty was telling me she was not returning the calls because they were literally harassing.”
D.C. councilmembers voted last month to strip Evans of his Committee on Finance and Revenue chairmanship and to launch an investigation into his business dealings after Evans stepped down from the Metro board. Evans is also the subject of a federal criminal investigation, which prompted federal agents to search his home in June.
Earlier this month, the D.C. Board of Ethics and Government Accountability, which enforces D.C.’s Code of Conduct, fined Evans $20,000 after the councilmember directed his chief of staff to send emails touting Evans’ political influence to attract potential clients. The D.C. Code of Conduct prohibits councilmembers from using their public office or staff for personal gain.
Should Evans run for re-election for his Ward 2 council seat, he will face five challengers for the position – former Marine Daniel Hernandez, former Barack Obama staffer Jordan Grossman and advisory neighborhood commissioners Kishan Putta, Patrick Kennedy and John Fanning.