Graham Slams Feds At Community Meeting; Claims His Remarks Were ‘Off The Record’
Councilmember Jim Graham has generally kept quiet on the taxicab bribery case that has so far snared his right-hand-man Ted Loza. But at a recent Kalorama Citizens Association meeting, Graham apparently couldn't help himself. According to sources in attendance, he blasted federal law enforcement for busting Loza.
Recalls one source who was there: “[Graham] basically said Ted was entrapped by the FBI. The gentleman Kamus…He said he and Ted were very, very good friends. I thought it was a very bizarre thing to say."
Says another: “He talked a little bit about the investigation. He went back and forth from sort of defending Ted and throwing Ted under the bus a little bit. He talked about how Kamus was a really good friend of the office and a good personal friend of Ted’s.…That’s when he came up with the FBI entrapment….It’s a close friend of Teddy’s who got caught up in the investigation.” [See pictures of Loza and Kamus].
And finally, here's one more source from the KCA meeting: "I heard him talk about the taxicab investigation and how tragic everything was....It gets you paranoid. You don’t be expecting to be talking to someone and thinking you are talking to the FBI."
Pretty deep insights from the Grahamstander.
When we asked the councilmember to confirm or deny his comments, a staffer offered up a very unique retort.
Brian DeBose, Graham's new spokesperson, replied via e-mail: "It was an off-the-record meeting. That means you want him to verify something. He wants to know what you want him to verify before he talks to you." (This item initially misspelled DeBose's last name)
I replied that there's no such thing as an off-the-record public meeting. DeBose replied: "Incidentally, I know a community meeting is by definition not off the record. However, Dennis James assured the Councilmember it would be."
Denis James did not return calls seeking comment.
Bryan Weaver, an ANC Commissioner in Adams Morgan, says the meeting was not advertised as off-the-record. “I don’t know how you can have public meeting be off the record," he says. "It’s impossible. They had probably a 100 signs up in the community featuring Jim Graham as the speaker…It was the only thing on the poster.”
Eventually, Graham agreed to be interviewed. Yesterday, I was told that he would be calling. He never did. This afternoon I got another, final response from DeBose: "The councilmember was unavailable for comment by press time."
*photo by Darrow Montgomery.