Separate probes for Gray campaign allegations

March 7, 2011

By Deborah Simmons, The Washington Times

Within hours of D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray saying he takes full responsibility for any administration missteps, D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown said Sunday night that he is referring allegations of Gray campaign improprieties to the D.C. Office of the Inspector General.

The case, which the mayor has asked the D.C. attorney general to probe, revolves around Sulaimon Brown, a Democrat who made his own run for mayor last year and now alleges that Gray campaign supporters gave him cash to back Gray and promised him a job.

The Gray administration did hire Mr. Brown, but last month he was fired.

Since then, Mr. Brown has spoken with numerous media, including, saying the Gray administration treated him unfairly.

Sunday night, Kwame Brown called Mr. Gray “a dedicated public servant and a person of integrity,” but also said the council wants to get to the truth.

“I know he would agree with me that it is of the utmost importance that the truth of what happened comes out — no matter what it may reveal,” the council chairman said. “I have spoken with several Council members this evening and am concerned about this matter. The allegations made by Sulaimon Brown are only allegations at this point. However, they deserve an independent review and therefore I am referring the matter to the Office of the Inspector General.”

The chairman’s and the mayor’s comments were prompted by a story in The Washington Post that published numerous details about text messages and money exchanging hands between Sulaimon Brown and Mr. Gray, and between Sulaimon Brown and the Gray campaign and transition staffers.

Calling the story “surprising, shocking and appalling,” Mr. Gray said at a Sunday afternoon press conference that he had asked both the D.C. Office of the Attorney General and the D.C. Council to probe the matter and that he welcomed other external probes.

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