Loose Lips

The Bigger Scandal (Updated)

The biggest scandal reported this week has nothing to do with sport utility vehicles. It's the news, first reported in the Post, that Mayor Vince Gray's administration has hired failed mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown to be a "special assistant" at a $110,000 a year with the Department of Health Care Finance.

This is a serious misstep by Gray, and reflects poorly on his judgment. Let's look at why:

1) Brown's antics on the campaign trail last year included claiming former Mayor Adrian Fenty doesn't like his parents, refusing to get out of a chair that wasn't his at a mayoral debate, bothering cameramen who are trying to work, and threatening legal action against media outlets for not covering his campaign.

Brown also became Gray's No. 1 fan during candidate forums, often seen hanging from Gray's side and repeatedly telling crowds to vote for the future mayor. In other words, Brown was like a wannabe crony.

No one at these forums took Brown's candidacy seriously, including himself. His common refrain was: "If you don't vote Brown, vote Gray."

His strategy apparently worked: Brown got only 209 votes.

LL wasted a few hours looking into Brown's public records last year and reported that Brown had a Maryland driver's license, even though he says he's never lived in Maryland. The address on the license is a house in Prince George's County where the owner says Brown used to visit occasionally.

Brown's also run into legal trouble here in the District. Court records show gun charges against Brown were dropped in 1991 in exchange for Brown going to a diversion program, and a jury found Brown guilty in 1995 for unlawful entry.

More recently, a restraining order against Brown was signed by a judge in 2007, court records show. Police were not able to locate Brown to serve the order, which expired, records indicate. Protective orders can be easily obtained, and Brown never had a chance to defend himself against the allegations made by the woman seeking the order. When LL called Brown to ask about it, he hung up right away and did not respond to a second call.

2) The Department of Health Care Finance is the District's Medicaid agency, managing about a quarter of the District's annual budget. It's not immediately clear what Brown's role will be in the agency, but with a $110,000-a-year salary, LL expects it to come with some level of responsibility.

But Brown appears to have no knowledge or experience in the highly complicated world of Medicaid. Yesterday on WTOP, Gray defended Brown and other questionable hires by saying that his administration is putting "subject matter experts in place" to help his new agency heads.

Take a look at Brown's bio from his campaign resume and see if you think he's a subject matter expert on Medicaid, or well, anything:

Always interested in public service and politics, he has volunteered in the community in programs such as Earth Day; Sulaimon cares deeply about the environment and worked behind the scenes campaigning for many elected officials. Most recently DC Mayor Adrian Fenty whom he no longer supports, DC council member Michael Brown, Former DC assistant attorney General Ron Magnus and The President of the United States Barack Obama. He has helped in efforts to get White House Legislation passed and most recently trying to get a Supreme Court nominee appointed.

Sulaimon Brown has volunteered to help our wounded troops back from Afghanistan and Iraq.

He will bring a wealth of experience and background understanding to the District of Columbia Government. He has worked as a senior financial statement auditor and accountant and actually worked on the CAFR (comprehensive annual financial report) audit of Washington DC. He has years of experience in finance and accounting and he understands the inner workings of the DC Government. He and Anthony Williams—former mayor of DC—share similar professional backgrounds.

LL has asked the Gray administration for more details on Brown's hire—like who his past employers are, what his actual experience was working on the CAFR, and which Supreme Court nominee did he help.

So far, LL hasn't heard anything back,  but is off the mayor's weekly news conference to find out more. Stay tuned for an update!

Update:

At a news conference today, the mayor says Brown sought a job with the Gray administration and “we actually connected him with the Department of Health Care Finance” where he was interviewed by the director. Gray says Brown will be an auditor and “has a background as an accountant. He’s qualified to do that work.”

“We believe he has the requisite skills to do the job. Just like anybody else, if that proves not to be the case, he won’t be there,” says Gray, adding that Brown won’t be in an upper management-type position and will be “supervised closely.”

As for whether Brown’s background was vetted, Gray said he wouldn’t go into that but promised to release as much information about Brown’s work history as personnel laws allow.

When NBC4’s Tom Sherwood brought up the C word, Gray responded: “Well, I don’t see it as cronyism, Tom. I see it as somebody who applied for the job and was qualified for the job and was hired.”

  • andrew

    geez.

  • Mulaimon

    It is clear that helping a Supreme Court nominee was Sonia Sotomayor, it seems he is trying to act like volunteerng with Organizing for America is like working in the White House.

    But whatabout his experience as an accountant? Is that not germane at all to his position?

  • drez

    Here's a great photo of Sulaimon (taken just before security grabbed him).
    #sulaimonlibel

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  • Bobster

    Gosh... what a shocker. Back to the Barry Years?

  • pmt

    This is seriously embarassing.

  • noodlez

    EVERYTHING MAYOR GRAY DOES IS A MISSTEP ACCORDING TO YOUR COLUMNS. YOUR PIECES LATELY ARE TABLOIDISH AND VERY OPINIONATED. I JUST LOVE THE STAKERISH POSTION YOUR ARE TAKING. ESCALATING SOME MINOR ISSUE TO POLARIZE FOR COMMENT FODDER AMOUNG FAGGIE FENTY DICK SUCKERS.

    HOPEFULLY WCP WILL HIRE ONE OF THOSE T.B.D. FOLKS TO DO SOME REAL REPORTING AND SHIP YOU LAME ASS BACK TO PALIN COUNTRY TO ROOT FOR THEM SORRY ASS COWBOYS.

    "THE BIGGER SCANDAL" PUHLEEZE.

  • SEis4ME

    Rather than reading about why a blogger thinks this is a bad move, for us readers, it will be helpful to understand what about Brown's previous employment history that suggests he's unqualified for this particular job.

    Helpful as in what his past employers (or those who worked with him) have to say. Indicting the man on a blog seems like an all out assault.

    He could be a loopy asshole. But are loopy assholes all unemployed and have no relevant skills?

  • Southeast Ken

    This is becoming a circus. I can't stand Fenty period, but I am regret voting for Vincent Gray and Kwame Ghetto Brown.

  • Amanda Broadnax

    Anyone that went to the mayoral debates this past summer can attest that Sulaimon Brown was never a serious contender. LOL at him having a MD license. This guy's whole platform was vote Gray or Brown but don't vote Fenty. This can't be Mayor Gray, the same person who waged an all out war on cronynism and alas, this is the third crony incident, that we know of. I guess Gray is still working on his 200 day plan to care about his campaign promises.

  • Frank

    Can we just all admit that Vince Gray is a crackhead only marginally better than Marion Barry? This city will be lucky to still exist in 4 years.

  • ME4DC

    WOW! What in the world is going on???

    Kwame Brown and Suliamon Brown are both big JOKES!

    All JOKES aside....I did see Suliamon Brown driving a
    convertiable CLK benz with Maryland plates. Dig deeper WCP

    Oh......Save your VOTE....DO NOT VOTE FOR SEKOU BIDDLE!
    SEKOU BIDDLE is a BIG JOKER!

  • Rake

    @Amanda: "This can't be Mayor Gray, the same person who waged an all out war on cronynism and alas, this is the third crony incident, that we know of. I guess Gray is still working on his 200 day plan to care about his campaign promises."

    Well said. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, mostly. ONE CITY, with overpaid cronies and SUV's (x2) for all!

  • truth&honor

    I want my VOTE back from Vincent Gray!
    Where is all this MONEY coming from if the District is broke? All of these created positions for these Non-DC residents.

    Vince where are the jobs for the people that BUSTED THEIR BUTTS for you during the campaign? Where is you loyaly to Ward 7?

    If you continue to SHOW OFF....you will be a ONE HIT WONDER like FENTY!

    Oh.....Mr. BIDDLE please go back to teaching!
    BIDDLE YOU ARE A BIG FAT LIAR! MINE YOUR OWN BUSINESS!

  • Amanda Broadnax

    Rake, thanks, it is down right sickening and embarassing, the shennigans of our city council and mayor. It was appalling to see Gray in Wards 5, 7,& 8 talk our we are "taking our city back," and than see him in wards 1,2,3,4, and 6 declare "one city."

  • yep

    Seems like all the agency heads are going to get a special assistant, or two! How wonderful. We need more people at the top making 100K plus salaries. I am just wondering how DCHR has managed to actually hire someone in the less than two months since Grey took office. THAT is the real story. Shocked that there is no one articulating any policy agenda other than getting the right car, tickets to concerts and all of the cronies hired. Welcome to One City.

  • Lady Justice

    Special Assistants have taken on a new role. It is where you place unqualified political hires. Congress help us!

  • FJC

    BTW - here's a bit of Tony Williams' resume:
    --- graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Yale College, where he was a member of the literary society St. Anthony Hall. He earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a Master of Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He also served in the United States Air Force. Not exactly UDC....

  • Lori

    WOW! When he was for Fenty and didn't get anything out of he went then to the current idiot. And boy did he come up a WINNER with that!!!!! THIS CITY IS GREAT! Marion got his special post back, another idiot gets a job created for her, then this moron gets a job making $200k a year! WOW!! If I worked for the feds who track Medicaid fraud I would hire 2 investigators just to track this ass!!!

  • http://jenmum@vzw,blackberry.net Disappointed Volunteer

    Marion Barry never did this!!! i have never seen such a mess. Vince now will you fire Lorraine Green? Have you not had enough of this? I though you guys hired a firm to vet you candidates!!

    Can I rob a bank to get a job? Can I conduct wire fraud to get a job? Can i have a gun without a licenses and get a job?

    One City? Can anyone in the City get a meeting with the Mayor now? Have you noticed recently that when you see the Mayor he acts as if he does not know you?

    He certainly does not mind using you and throwing you to the waste side.

    +

  • http://jenmum@vzw,blackberry.net MINTZ

    BARRY NEVER TURNED HIS BACK ON HIS SUPPORTERS!!!

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  • Jasmine Jones

    One of the main issues Vincent Gray ran on was cronyism in the Fenty administration. Now I'm not sure if Mayor Gray is the pot or the kettle.

  • candycane1

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/feb/16/friend-of-gray-hired-for-dc-job/

    Lord knows I'm glad that Fenty is gone, but I'm more than disappointed with Gray on this one. Read this from the Times. This one was hired and neglected to be truthful on her application.

  • pdv1

    Another Gray person that is a joke to the city.
    One City = Barry, Cheh, Brown, Brown, Brown and Wells....
    why worry about education? you just need to be able to get and drive an SUV

  • DCRez

    I, too, am thrilled that Adrian Fenty is no longer the Mayor of the city, however, it seems that Vincent Gray has embraced the worst characteristics of Fenty. Cronyism and Fiscal Waste.

    His suggesting that he is hiring the 'best and brightest' to defend his increases to appointee salaries just doesn't hold water. Why is he expanding government when, at the same time, declaring that the city has a hiring and wage freeze? Why is he seeking legislation to allow for him to bring people in above the cities wage cap when he full well knows the city is facing a $600 million deficit in 2012.

    Quite frankly (his favorite phrase), I am offended that he appointed a known felon to the Department of Parks and Recreation into a 65k/yr position outside of competition who, as it stands, admits she lied on her application. He says these folks are qualified, but how would we ever know if they didn't compete for these jobs? Where are their resumes?

    I believe that people returning from prison after serving their time deserve a second chance. But what about the young people that stayed out of trouble, graduated high school, went on to college, acquired degree(s)? They can't get a first chance. They cannot get a job because they are subject to competition and face a government where jobs have been frozen. They can't even apply.

    Gray's populating the District with political appointees is no diffent than what Fenty did when leaving office placing his campaign supporters in "special assistant" jobs.

    One thing is for sure, Gray is turning out to be more like Fenty than Williams. Perhaps it is time for another out-of-towner to run this city.

  • Adrian Bent-Me

    I am sorely disappointed in Gray for making such a heinous decision. And yes, regardless of who the Department head is, if the bloody Mayor "recommends" someone, regardless of experience, I'm certain they'll be hired. What a sad fucking practice. Come on Vince, I thought you were better than this. Hiring family members of friends, NaviGate, horrible Transportation Transition team, oh God. What the fuck man? Please don't turn out to be a typical politician. I can't do another 4 years of being bent over, my back is killing me.

  • germanetame

    OK THE FIX IS IN. KNEW WITH FENTY AND NOW WE KNOW IT WITH GRAY. BROWN. AND BROWN. YOU HAVE TO PAY BACK POLITICAL DEBTS BUT DO YOU HAVE TO BE SO BLANTANTLY STUPID AND OBVIOUS ABOUT IT ALL. IF YOU DIDN'T KNOW THA KWAME BROWN IS JUST A GHETTO STREET HUSTLER-- WELL YOU KNOW IT NOW. I WOULD LIKE TO SEE HIS DEGREE FROM MORGAN STATE TOO. IF IT IS REALLY LEGIT. NOW WE ARE AT THE POINT OF ALL OF THESE FINE INDIVIDUALS FORCING ANOTHER CRONY DOWN OUR THROAT THE ACCEPTANCE OF ANOTHER UNQUALIFIED, I WANT TO LEARN ON THE JOB LIKE FENTY, TYPE SKIDIDDLE,SKIDADDLE,SPIKIDDLE UH,UH, MY NAMES FIDDLE, I MEAN BIDDLE. HE'S WHITE ENOUGH WELL ALMOST,GOT THE WHITE WIFE, YEA THAT HELPS. NOW LET'S HEAR WHAT HE HAS TO SAY. WELL, FELLOW GOOD OLE WHITE FOLKS I LISTENED AND MY VIEW IS HE'S NOT READY AND WE ARE IN A HOLE AND TRYING TO GET OUT. LIKE FENTY, GRAY'S NO BETTER. LIKE KWAME(I NEED A PHAT LOADED RAP MUSIC THUMPIN' JOINT)WE NEVER REALLY LIKED HIM ANYWAY, THEY JUST CAN'T SEEM TO MAKE SOUND JUDGMENTS ABOUT THE CITY WITHOUT CONSIDERING THEIR BEST INTEREST FIRST. THE INCIDENT WITH SULAIMON BROWN AND VEHICLES AND TICKETS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING. MUCH MORE TO COME. CONSIDER THIS WE ARE IN A HOLE FINANCIALLY AND FAMILIES ARE SUFFERING DAILY, ALL THE CURRENT COUNCILMEMBERS EXCEPT ONE CONTINUE TO VOTE FOR DEVELOPERS TO GET TAX ABATEMENTS, HOMOSEXUALS KNOWN ( GRAHAM, CATANIA, WELLS,EVANS,ETC.) WANT US TO CONTINUE TO FOCUS ON THEIR DESIRES. KEEP YOUR MIND IN THE GAME AND FOCUS ON WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH ALL THE DECEPTION AND MOVES BEING PLAYED OFF. THEY TAKE YOUR TAX DOLLARS AND YOU CONTINOUSLY SUPPORT THEIR EFFORTS BECAUSE OF THEIR APPEARANCE,KIND MANNER. WAKE UP AND LOOK AT THE FACTS. IF THEY LOOK UNQUALIFIED, THEY PROBABLY ARE. IF ALL THEY HAVE TO OFFER IS B.S YOU PROBABLY WILL GET MORE. ALL OF THESE MEN MISTAKES ARE PUSHING HARD FOR PEOPLE WHO THEY CAN MANIPULATE. ASK THEM WHO THEY SUPPORT IN THE UPCOMING AT LARGE RACE...THESE GUYS ARE NOT GENIUS AT HIDING THINGS IT'S PLAIN AND SIMPLE.. THEY BULLIED THE DEMOCRATIC STATE COMMITTEE TO VOTE THE WAY THEY WANTED THEM TO BY THREATNING TO FIRE GOVERNMENT WORKERS AND/OR THEIR FAMILIES IF THEY DIDN'T VOTE THE WAY THEY WANTED. IT EASY TO SEE. BE AWARE AND WAIT THERE ARE MORE MISTAKES DOWN THE PIPELINE. BRACE YOURSELF HERE THEY COME.

  • Terry Miller

    To me, somebody with a finance background would have the basic skill sets to be an auditor. I don't see where this guy is unqualified for his position.

    I saw Brown on the campaign trail a lot and he was very good in the debates. He got alot of applause and not just when he said "vote for me or Gray".

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  • Lyndon Higgins

    Well here we go again. Another almost black man goes off the rails. He didn't even bother blowing smoke up our keisters first. We had all hoped,we'd get something better than Fenty.Sadly,we are still stuck in the muck and the mire of cronyism.
    The end game will be that as the city gentrifies,the newbies will want someone they trust and addresses their needs. In other words,the near future will see the end of the black mayors in DC.
    The same will happen to the City Council. No one can defend Gray and Doo Doo Brown on these mistakes. Can you say one term???

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  • BC Wells

    Mr. Higgins is so correct! I don't live in DC but I work in DC and attend Trinity University as well and love the diversity of the City .... but you folks who voted Fenty out of office made a grave "GRAY" mistake ...and Lyndon you hit the nail on the head .... After Gray, if the Feds don't step in and take over the city again, you won't see any more black mayors in EC... and you have no one to blame, no whites, no hispanics or any other race but your own. How many times did we hear that Anthony Williams, or Fenty, wasn't "black" enough. How black do you have to be to be this stupid!

  • Old Time Resident

    The voices of doom abound. I am not trying to defend nepotism, cronyism, fraud, etc. But the reality is that friends help friends out. They have done it in every administration that has ever existed. Yeah, Yeah, it's public money and they should not do it. But guess what - they are not the first and they won't be the last.

    Maybe you all missed the earlier posts pointing out that SUVs ran amuck in the previous administration. Maybe that's because it was not blasted all over the media.

    Then again when your friend or relative helped you find your present job it was cause you were qualified (or so you think.) When your friend gave your kid a key recommendation it was cause your child was qualified. (Right)

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  • Vince

    Hilarious, someone with a criminal history hired as an "auditor". Im cracking up. Ever wonder why DC is such a laughing stock.

  • yup yup

    "Police were not able to locate Brown to serve the order, which expired, records indicate."

    Well, how do we get the order unexpired, now that we (sort of) know where he lives?

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