Loose Lips

Loose Lips Daily: A Knot on Michael Brown’s Tongue Edition

A deliberative, process-oriented roundup of one city's local politics. Send your tips, releases, stories, events, etc. to lips@washingtoncitypaper.com. And get LL Daily sent straight to your inbox every morning!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

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  • Good morning sweet readers! Babies sure get the hiccups a lot. Anyone know why? News time:

    Pay Your Bills, Tell The Truth: CM Michael A. Brown took a vacation from paying his property taxes, the Washington Post reports, and owes the city nearly $14,000. Also: "Since he bought his house in 1996, banks or mortgage lenders have issued five notices of foreclosure sale, according to records. None of the notices has led to a foreclosure sale, and Brown said he did not know that the notices were issued." The Post tries to amp up the hypocrite factor by pointing out both in the hed and the lede that Brown is one of the council's strongest advocates for increasing city income taxes on the wealthy. But Brown says it's not his fault: "Brown said he had assumed his property tax payments were being collected and remitted by his mortgage lender. After he refinanced his home in 2007, Brown said, his bank sold the mortgage to another financial institution. He said he thinks the original owner of his mortgage failed to inform the new lender about the property tax obligations." LL doesn't have a mortgage and can't really tell whether that's a plausible excuse, but what's more troubling to LL than Brown's tax troubles is his seeming inability to tell the truth. First, there's this: "When first contacted by The Washington Post last week, Brown said he was unaware of the unpaid taxes. In a subsequent interview this week, he said he and his wife learned of the debt late last year after they received a notice in the mail." Well, which is it? Then the Post brings up the fact that Brown and his wife settled with the city over unpaid District income taxes in 1999. Brown says he doesn't remember settling the $12,000 debt after being hit with a lien. "That was more than 10 years ago," he said. That strains credulity more than just a little bit. Who doesn't remember paying off a $12k tax lien? And let's not forget Brown's hazy memory when it comes to his high school basketball career. Be careful CM Brown, or you're going to get a knot on your tongue.

    AFTER THE JUMP: Gabe Klein to Bike His Way to At-Large Seat? Is D.C.'s license plate worthless? Gray's Pays $100k for Carpet;

    Team Klein Launches Trial Balloon: Former DDOT Director Gabe Klein is seriously mulling a run in the at-large special election currently occupied by CM Sekou Biddle, according to anonymous sources who spoke to the Post. Klein already sounds like a politician when he said he could "neither confirm nor deny" that he's thinking of running. LL hopes Klein runs, if only to make the special election more interesting. Also, who wouldn't want to see Klein and CM Tommy Wells try to out-smart growth each other? Bizarrely, CM Jim Graham makes a one-line appearance in the story: "In an interview last week, D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) said he was intrigued by suggestions that Klein could become a candidate." That's all it says, folks. Graham, you'll remember, just lost his place on the Metro Board and as head of the transportation committee to Wells. Also launching a trial balloon yesterday was MaryEva Candon, former executive director of the D.C. Democratic State Committee and local lobbyist. Candon says she's "seriously considering" throwing her hat in the ring, but won't do it if Mayor Vince Gray throw his support behind Biddle.

    That Must Have Been One Nice Carpet: The Post reports that Gray still needs to raise $150,000 for his inauguration and transition that cost more than $800,000. Best gem: "Carpeting strategic areas of the 473,000-square-foot space cost more than $100,000." Yikes! Anyone else think the symbolism of the new mayor accepting a ton of special interest cash in order to throw a swanky party and blow $100 large on carpet is a wee bit troubling, given the city's crummy financial situation? And while LL is whining, what's up with the way the Gray team releases its information? It looks like Post reporter Nikita Stewart had to get a copy of a donor list on her own to get the Gray camp to release its official list (albeit a day after giving that info to the Post). And Team Gray still hasn't released a list of its expenses. Gray promised to be transparent with his donors and expenses when he first announced he was going to forgo taking city money for this transition costs, but isn't living up to his promise. If you look at the list of donors, it's just a simple spreadsheet that Gray could have—and should have—released the day after he was sworn in. There's no excuse for why his expenses haven't been released by now. Who does he think he is, CM Harry Thomas Jr.? And Council Chairman Kwame Brown, what's your excuse? As Don Cherry likes to say, this isn't rocket surgery. It's basic accounting. Release your donor and expense info already. Sheesh.

    It is Ward 3 CM Mary Cheh's "willingness to stand up with quiet determination against misused power and arrogance that lifts her out of the Council melee and attract fans who become life-long allies," says the Georgetown Dish, who gives Cheh an early big wet valentine of a profile piece. "Her constituents, even if they differ with her, believe and respect her."

    Chief Cathy Lanier tries to calm upper Northwest residents who are concerned with a spike in burglaries. (Of course, earlier this week, she was telling Bruce DePuyt that City Paper's Rend Smith had basically made up the spike in burglaries. So if that's true, they should be pretty easy to calm! If it's not, though...)

    Metro interim chief Richard Sarles: "I may be a little nuts—I'm actually enjoying it." Speaking of nuts, Metro is considering selling the naming rights to Metro stations. What company would want its brand associated with a place where everyone wears a grumpy face and the employees poop and pee in places they aren't supposed to?

    "D.C. shadow U.S. Senator Paul Strauss says the District's 'No Taxation Without Representation' license plate no longer reminds the public of the District's goal of becoming a state." But what if the president were to put it on his limo!? Strauss' other words of wisdom: "'Never underestimate the power of a good gateway sign,' Strauss added, noting Brooklyn’s welcome sign got prominent placement on the opening credits of the 1970s sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter."

    Ideas for renaming a block of Pennsylvania Ave near the White House include: "Give D.C. Statehood Avenue," "Statehood for D.C. Avenue," "D.C. Demands Statehood Avenue," "D.C. Statehood Now Avenue," "D.C. Demands Full Democracy Avenue" and "Give D.C. Full Democracy Avenue."

    Harry Jaffe reports that the District has "has had to write off $347 million in funds it failed to collect from Medicaid" because it didn't submit the proper forms. "Everyone knows about this fiscal disgrace. Council members David Catania and Tommy Wells were not surprised this week when they were informed that D.C.'s social service agency has not been able to even apply for Medicaid reimbursement since 2009 — and it still cannot — because the paperwork and computer systems can't process the forms. Catania said the dysfunctional systems "date back decades."

    DCFPI: Workforce development means more than just enforcing first source law.

    Examiner's southern readers are anti-personal responsibility.

    Lockridge's passing means there will be three special elections.

    Stripper fight!

    Former McKinley Tech teach charged with theft in connection with missing $100,000 grant.

    Biddle is on Kojo at 12:30 p.m.

    No Council schedule.

    Gray: BET bash at 7 p.m., Shabbat service for MLK at Washington Hebrew Congregation at 8 p.m.

    • Typical DC BS

      The fact that DC can't even process Medicaid reimbursement forms is rather telling. We have total imbeciles running this department. THEY ALL NEED TO BE FIRED and the the idiot on the city council who chairs the committee needs to be identified and asked why he / she is incompetent.

    • Charlie

      Mortgages are asset backed. If you don't pay your mortgage the company forcloses and recoups their money by selling the asset. So they require that the asset be protected. That is why mortgage companies pay the tax bill and insurance bill. So if your house burns down they know you have insurance and so they know the government is not going to seize your property and sell it because of unpaid taxes.

      The question is how did this escape council member Brown's attention? Did he not look at his tax bills? They will say if some other party will be making payment. Doesn't he pay his Federal taxes? You don't pay taxes on the money you earn to pay taxes, so real estate taxes are a deductible item. The people who do his taxes would be asking about this. I don't find his explanation to be very plausible.

      Does he release his tax records? It would be interesting to see if he was claiming deductions for taxes he wasn't paying.

    • Truth Hurts

      Rumor has it he and Harry "nothing to hide" Thomas are planning to release their financial records jointly . . . . in 2013.

    • DCsBroke-n

      New DC license plate "tag line" for Mr. Brown's Hummer:

      REPRESENTATION WITHOUT TAXATION !!

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