Business Groups Yawn as Orange Pushes Brown’s Debt Problems
LL's column this week—which drops in tomorrow's paper and will be available online later tonight—looks at what, if any, impact D.C. Council chairman candidate Kwame Brown's debt problems will have on the race. (There are also a few new details those of you who have been paying close attention to this story might find interesting—even you, DeBonis).
On that note, the WBJ's indefatigable Michael Neibauer has the news that Brown's opponent, former Ward 5 Councilmember Vincent Orange, has sent letters, through his campaign chairman Kevin Chavous, to two business trade groups, the D.C. Chamber and the Board of Trade, asking them to reconsider their previous endorsements of Brown. Neibauer says:
The debt is not explicitly mentioned in the letters, but clearly, that's what Chavous is talking about when he writes of "recent revelations and disclosures ... regarding Councilmember Kwame R. Brown."
Both groups have declined Orange's request, Neibauer reports, though the BOT left the door open to change their mind if there's more bad news.
Jim Dinegar, CEO of the Board of Trade, told Neibauer he's "not happy" with Brown's debt problems, which include being sued for more than $50,000 in credit card debts.
Dinegar and Jim Dyke, Board of Trade chairman, spoke with Brown prior to the arrival of the Chavous letter to discuss his personal debt, and Dinegar at least felt the councilman's "candor and honesty was refreshing," that he has appropriately taken full responsibility and "he's working through it."
With the assurance that no other shoe will drop, Dinegar said, the leaders of the Board of Trade recommended "that the endorsement stay as is at this point."
"But if something else comes up before the election, we may take other steps," Dinegar said.
Brown had locked up support from the business community a while back. For Orange, who seems to have played what could be his best card here, the response must be disappointing.