Brown v. Gray, Who You Gonna Believe?
Shortly after he was escorted from his office by police and crashed a mayoral press briefing, Brown went on Newstalk with Bruce DePuyt to call Mayor Vince Gray a liar and said he had a paper trail proving as much.
Today, we found out just what that paper trail consists of, in an explosive front-page Washington Post story by reporter Nikita Stewart. Brown alleges that the Gray campaign not only promised him a job for attacking former Mayor Adrian Fenty, but also gave Brown envelopes full of cash to keep his campaign afloat.
There's no hard proof to back up the cash payment allegations, though Brown does provide cell phone records that show regular contact with two Gray campaign aides—campaign chairwoman Lorraine Green and consultant Howard Brooks—who Brown says provided the payments. They both deny Brown's allegations. (Gray aides did not immediately respond to LL's request for comment on Sunday.)
Given all the doozies Brown's floated before—like his claim that the Gray administration fabricated a 2007 protective order against him—it'd be easy enough to dismiss Brown's cash-payments claims as another one of his fanciful claims.
Not so easy to dismiss, however, is Brown's claim that Gray promised Brown a job in return for his stalking horse role on the campaign trail.
The Post has text messages from Gray to Brown that have the mayor saying "we did not renege on any commitments to you. You know and we know what agreements had been reached. And none has been breached."
What kind of an agreement? Gray tells the Post that he only promised Brown a job interview, nothing more.
Yet Gray's version of events is undermined by one very important fact: his administration actually gave Brown a $110,000-a-year job despite knowing about his legal troubles, his thin resume, and his bizarre behavior on the campaign trail.
We know that the Gray administration was well aware of Brown's legal problems before hiring him. "Sulaimon Brown was vetted more thoroughly than a lot of people," one source close to the campaign recently told the Post.
We know that the Gray administration knew about Brown's lack of qualifications for a $110,000-a-year job as an auditor for the Department of Health Care Finance, which handles roughly a quarter of the District's budget. His résumé, provided to reporters by the Gray administration after Brown was fired, doesn't even have dates of employment. A follow-up e-mail from Gray's spokeswoman shows that Brown's experience only has about three to four years doing audit work. His last gig in audit work was a six-month stint in New Jersey that ended in 2008 at a salary of $80,000-a-year.
And finally, we know that Gray had a front-row seat to Brown's antics on the campaign trail, which included claiming former Mayor Adrian Fenty doesn't like his own parents, and refusing to get out of a chair that wasn't his at a mayoral debate until organizers threatened to call police.
In light of all these things that we already knew even before these text messages came out, Gray is still insisting that he never promised Brown a job. Can you believe that?
Photo by Darrow Montgomery