The Curious Case of Sulaimon Brown
Last Friday, Sulaimon Maurice Brown tried to provoke LL into writing about him.
Brown’s quixotic campaign for mayor has been most notable for his over-the-top critiques of Mayor Adrian Fenty and praise of D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray. (Brown's common refrain: "If you don't vote Brown, vote Gray.")
On Friday, Brown wasn't on the guest list (he says he was) for the last mayoral debate at Tony and Joe’s Seafood Place in Georgetown, but showed up anyway. He behaved like a petulant child, arguing with the hosts that he should be included. He kept at it until the hosts threatened to call the police if Brown didn’t get out of the seats reserved for Fenty, Gray, and another mayoral long-shot, Leo Alexander.
Brown eventually got up without the help of MPD, but kept complaining to anyone who would listen (including TV cameramen while they were trying to film the debate) about his exclusion. When LL was trying to talk to Gray spokesman Traci Hughes after the debate, Brown came over to continue his complaining. LL let Brown know what people don’t really care that he was excluded.
Brown snapped, and went on a rant about how unfair LL’s (non) coverage of Brown’s run has been, and indicated that he had considered taking legal action against media outlets for not covering his campaign.
LL’s already low opinion of Brown went even lower after that exchange, but LL told himself not to reward Brown’s bad behavior with attention.
That all changed when LL was zooming away from the event in a cab and saw Brown get in a Mercedes with Maryland plates. (LL also noticed that Gray was being chauffeured in a Lincoln Navigator with New York plates, which turns out to be a registered to Hertz Rent-A-Car.)
Hmmm, why is a mayoral candidate for D.C. driving a car with Maryland plates? LL wondered.
So LL asked a friend with access to such things to run the plates on Brown's car. It came back as a 1999 Mercedes. Its registered owner: Sulaimon Maurice Brown, date of birth July 31, 1970. Also turning up: Maryland Motor Vehicles Administration records showing a Sulaimon Maurice Brown, born July 31, 1970, was issued a Maryland driver’s license last July. Both records indicate that Brown's address is 7611 Charlton Ave., Berwyn Heights, Md.
LL called Brown and asked him if he lives in Maryland. “Oh no no no, of course not, no, of course not, c’mon now, of course not,” Brown said.
Brown said he was born in South Carolina, but has lived in the District since he was a kid. Asked if he’d ever lived in surrounding areas, Brown said no.
So what about that Maryland driver’s license?
Said Brown: “No, I don’t have a driver’s license from Maryland, I can show you my identification, I have the District of Columbia identification. Even if—let’s say hypothetically—if that was true, which it’s not, there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s a difference between an address of record and your permanent address. There’s a big difference. But you know, it doesn’t matter. I can be like Michael Jordan, for instance, or Oprah Winfrey, and have property all over the country. Your address of record—you can have property and live anywhere you want or have vehicles anywhere you want—it doesn’t mean where you live is your address of record. And that’s the difference, and that’s the law."
Brown also indicated that LL must have the wrong Sulaimon Maurice Brown’s driver’s license records. LL asked what Brown’s birthday was, so LL could double check the driver’s license records, but Brown declined to provide his birthday.
“So you’ve never gotten a Maryland driver’s license, is what you’re saying,” LL asked.
“What I’m saying is, yes, that is correct," Brown said.
LL obtained Brown’s voter registration and candidate records from the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics. Those records show that Brown's listed address has alternated several times in the last year and a half between two addresses in D.C. But they also show that Sulaimon Maurice Brown’s recorded birthday is—wait for it—July 31, 1970.
So either Brown was lying about not having a Maryland driver's license, is the unknowing victim of identity theft, or there are two Sulaimon Maurice Browns who were born on July 31, 1970 living in the D.C. area.
Next, LL called Muriel Barber, who is listed on Maryland records as the owner of the Berwyn Heights house and asked if Brown had ever lived there.
“He never lived here. I just know him,” Barber said. She said Brown used to visit someone who lived in her house (she declined to say who), but she hasn’t seen him in a long time.
“Maybe he was just using my address,” Barber said. “He’s not been here in a good while.”
Also curious: Maryland court records list Brown's address as 902 Somerset Place, Hyattsville, Md., as of March, 2005. Land records show that Brown sold 902 Somerset in 2004. But the Prince George’s County Board of Elections website shows that someone with Brown’s birthday (remember, it’s July 31, 1970) is still registered to vote at that address.
D.C. BOEE records show that Brown hasn’t voted in D.C. since at least 2002. Which is a bit odd, seeing as how he is constantly touting his experience working on several campaigns here, including President Barack Obama's. Brown even has a picture of himself standing next to Obama (who is shaking hands with someone else) on his business card.
LL has a follow up call into Brown to try and clear this up, and will update as needed. But at the very least, LL has granted Brown's wish for more coverage.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery