City Desk

Jim Graham’s Decade-Old ‘Taint’


Ever since his top aide was indicted on two counts of accepting bribes, Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham has gone all out to defend his own honor, his own ethics. To that end, he gave this quote not long after chief of staff Ted Loza was arrested:

“I have 25 years of service in the District of Columbia. I have never, ever had any taint in that record. I have behaved with the utmost care in terms of ethics, conflicts of interest. That situation continues to this day.”

Not so fast there, councilmember.

Let's turn the clock back on Graham's council tenure. In fact, let's go all the way back to his first campaign, in the summer of 1998. Like many legislative upstarts, Graham promised that he would work full time as a councilmember, that his constituents would have 100 percent of his attention.

From all outward appearances, Graham was following through on his pledge when he acceded to office in early January 1999: He had resigned from his post as top dog at the then-mighty Whitman-Walker Clinic.

But all outward appearances were deceptive: Just as Graham began his D.C. legislative career, he also began moonlighting for his not-so-former employer.

The vehicle for Graham's extracurricular work was a $70,000 per annum contract that Graham and his cronies at Whitman-Walker didn't disclose to the public. It wasn't until this publication started poking around on the matter that Graham bagged out of the arrangement. When called on the contract, this is what Graham had to say: "I am so excited about my duties here and so involved in so many issues that I don't have the time to be a private consultant. This is just another way I want to dedicate myself to this elected position, so I think that's good news."

At the time that Graham had signed up to work part-time for Whitman-Walker, the clinic had several contracts with the District government, covering everything from substance abuse treatment to a wide variety of social services for HIV-positive people.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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  • joan

    This man's greed and ambition know no bounds.

  • Simon

    His greatest crime: running Whitman-Walker into the ground. That left a gaping hole in the DC social services safety net.

  • not impressed

    I guess Mr Graham also forgot that he was using DC Fire recruits as wait staff for his council office functions.

  • Wardwonderful

    and the original Mapplethorpe print he took with him from WWC - how many AIDS patients would that have helped?

  • WardOner

    Let's review:

    1) today the Washington Post quoted law enforcement officials saying that Jim Graham is not a person-of-interest or the focus of this investigation;

    2) Jim Graham, unlike many of his DC Council colleagues, gave up outside income. He works full-time as a Council member. CP should list all those who still make additional money outside their elected duties;

    3) Take a look around Ward One, CP (including the neighborhood where your offices are located). Notice anything different? Aha. Yes. The shithole that was Adam's Morgan and much of Ward One is today a testament to the hard work of Jim Graham. Without his leadership, do you really think the Ward would seen the economic revitalization that is ongoing?

    4) CP: Your personal vendetta shouldn't slant your editorial objectivity.

  • Anonymous

    Good to see that some of you WardOner are still drinking the Kool Aide. For almost every "improvement" that Jim has brought to the community you can find a story about a family or small business displaced. Ward One is great if you're a big-time developer or chain store, but not-so-much if you are anything but.

  • Jamie

    How is Jim Graham responsible for Ward 1 not being a shithole?

    1) Adams Morgan still is a shithole

    2) Columbia Heights had nothing to do with JG. That was all Anthony Williams. Though that didn't stop he and Fenty from taking credit for it.

    3) The reason U street is not a shithole (and, generally, everywhere that used to be one) has more to do with the booming real estate market through 2005, and general resurgence of urban areas due to a whole host of reasons having nothing to do with anyone in particular. Nearly every city in the US, including those where Jim Graham is not, experienced the same thing.

    Actually, if it were up to JG, there probably would be no liquor licences on U Street, hence no restaurants/bars, hence your shit hole would still be there.

  • Thom

    Very good Erik except you have illuminated only the very tip of the iceberg. When Graham left Whitman Walker, after using its staff and facilities as his personal campaign apparatus for the two years prior to his election, it was in a shambles. The executive staff were clueless Graham flunkies.Everything was constructed like a great "grant funded" pyramid scheme. It had gotten so out of control that Graham recognized he must move on so as to not be under it when it collapsed. Imagine if Bernie Madoff had run for office and Ruth got to keep the art and furniture leaving other hapless souls to clean up the mess and try to make the scheme work.

    When the tsunami finally hit the beach and WWC was cutting services and having massive layoffs Graham was frantically running interference in the Wilson Building.
    Running not to help but to obfuscate knowing that if the truth came out it would all wash back on him. It does!

    You should assign a team of reporters to finally exposing this whole sordid tale. The City Paper would sizzle, it would be a must read. Look into EVERY real estate deal, follow the money, but it is crucial you start long before Graham left WWC.

  • Truth hurts

    Kudos to Wemple for calling Graham out on his BS.

  • dcblackdaddy

    Gay J Graham has gor to kin to Marion Barry school of politics. Graham has pulled his last funk for the city and you bloggers trying to give him credit or wrong and or naive AND ignorant. Like some of the posters here I totally agree much of the aforementioned businesses in NW Ward 1 were/are the result of good real estate and finacial foresight period.

    Jim and Marion would od the city good to resign but we know only the FBI agents will end their shitruns of pure unadulterated chicanery. May DC become controlled by the white and educated meaningful blacks and not some gay,liberal,suck up to whitey negroes like Andy Fenty.

  • Daddy Grace FIsh Sandwich

    Barry sold out all of Fenty's bitches on the City Council to the FBI. First its Jim Graham, hopefully next it'll be Fenty's biggest bitch Muriel Bowser and Jack "get me a coke" Evans. As a result of my good taxpayin' dollars the FBI was only able to expose $1500 worth of corruption in the filthy "you do this for me, I'll do that for you" City Council??!?! And Eric Holder you can see from your own front porch (Crestwood standup) the dirt that's happening at Adrian Fenty's home! I've been around DC along time and I have to say this is this work mayor and City Council ever.

    CONTROL BOARD! Hasta la victoria, siempre!"

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