Loose Lips

Loose Lips Daily: Paging Howard Brooks Edition

A deliberative 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:

  • Remember This Guy?
  • Good afternoon sweet readers! LL had to hoof it to the Wilson Building this morning for a new two-hour long mayoral news conference, in which hardly any news was made because the mayor now won't take questions on uncomfortable topics. (Oh yeah, Mayor Vince Gray picked Kaya Henderson to be his permanent schools chancellor, but you knew that already.) Anyway, that's why this roundup is so late. News time:

    Paging Howard Brooks: There's a pair of stories today that aim to shed more light on Howard Brooks, one of the more mysterious characters in L'affaire Sulaimon. Brooks, you'll recall, is the man putting envelops full of cash into Sulaimon Brown's jacket, according to Brown. He's also, we learn today, connected to two of the cloudier intersections of money and influence in District politics: the United Medical Center and the District's lottery contract. The Post reports that one of Brooks' companies used to run a radiology unit at UMC, had a falling out with the hospital's previous owners, and is now claiming the District owes it $10 million (a claim, it should be noted, that probably has zero chance of winning in court). We also learn that Brooks feels close enough to Gray that in late 2007 or early 2008, he asked the then-D.C. Council chairman for help with his payment disputes with UMC, and Gray dispatched his former chief of staff (Dawn, what happened to you? Call LL) to try and get the situation resolved. Other tidbits: Brooks lets Gray use his baby-blue 1966 Cadillac convertible for summer parades, and Brooks' son has a $110,000-a-year job in the Gray administration.

    But over at the Examiner, Gray says that he knows Brooks, "But I don't know him well." Hmm, define well. The Examiner also reports that another of Brooks' companies lost a big lawsuit then declared bankruptcy. More interesting is the fact that Brooks is the "brother-in-law of P. Leonard Manning, who earned an extra year on a $38 million lottery contract in 2008 as Gray, then D.C. Council chairman, maneuvered to block a Fenty ally. During the mayoral campaign, Fenty argued that Manning was a crony whom Gray was trying to protect." Gray denied those allegations. It's worth noting that besides Brown's allegations of the cash-giving, there's no record of Brooks ever behaving in a similar fashion. In fact, the Examiner talks to a lawyer related to the bankruptcy who dug around for an opportunity to sue Brooks. "At the end of the day, our assessment was that there was nothing evil about him. The business just failed."

    AFTER THE JUMP: More Sulaimon!; Grilling Sessoms; Change the Signs ...

    Must Have More Sulaimon: Are you getting sick of this guy yet? Well too bad. Check out this graphic by the Post, it's pretty cool. Yesterday Sulaimon Brown visited Republican staffers of the House Oversight Committee, just to talk. Says the Post, "the committee reached out to Brown to learn what process the city is using to investigate and whether he has any concerns." LL is sure that was a productive meeting. (LL's editor, who used to write about national politics, is amused by the idea of Darrell Issa teaming up with Sulaimon Brown.) Also, yesterday, WUSA9's Bruce Johnson tweeted that he was about to knock down some of Brown's unsubstantiated allegations. "Washington Post started this on Sunday. Reporters stand up!" Johnson says. So, which allegation did Johnson knock down? Why, it's the one that only Johnson reported on: Brown's totally unfounded claim that Gray paid precinct workers to somehow rig the vote during last year's primary. And by knocking down, Johnson means he just basically talked to Gray and the BOEE.  In other Sulaimon-related news, Lorraine Green, another Gray aide who stands accused of giving Brown cash, won't have a confirmation hearing to be chairman of the Washington Convention and Sports Authority anytime soon. And the IG won't be leading the investigation because he interviewed Brown for a job in January.

    Grilled Sessoms: UDC President and frequent first-class flier Allen Sessoms got a good going over by the D.C. Council yesterday, including a dressing down by Council Chairman Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown. "What you can't do is sit there and take no responsibility" says Brown (cough, cough). Apparently Sessoms has the proverbial note from his doctor saying he has to fly first class, but some councilmembers weren't buying it. One however, had his back. Says Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry: "I'm not going to travel to California on coach." LL and you, both, Barry. First class all the way.

    Change the Signs: Greater Greater Washington gets ahold of an e-mail from the city administrator's office regarding signage on city-owned property. It reads, "All ongoing project and site signage must be updated as soon as possible to reflect the change in leadership. All projects signs bearing former administration leadership (Mayor, Agency Heads etc.) must either be replaced or covered with new leadership names. I believe the City Administrator has discussed this issue with some of you. If not, this is a priority he has asked me to work with you and your staff in accomplishing as quickly as possible." Well, at least it's not Chicago, where Richard Daley had his name on just about everything by the time he left.

    In other news: Kaya's appointment is a "hopeful moment for the city's schools" says the WaPo. Gray knew of Cherita Whiting's legal troubles before hiring her, e-mail says. More gay marriages than straight in D.C.? David Alpert warns against going crazy with scandal outrage. House Democrat from New Jersey talks smack about Fenty.

    • itsjustamess

      'I'm the mayor, and the buck stops with me, and I wish we had known some of the information that has come out,' Gray said.

      Ooh, ooh!!! Let me interpret this for our viewing public...Had I known that pesty nuisance, Sulaimon Brown, would be smart enough to save our cellphone calls and text messages, I would have "been" told Lorraine and Howard not to pay him a dime or at least put some d*** gloves on. And who the h*** told them to use envelopes? Now DNA all over the place. Why, oh why, did I let Gay-tania pressure me to fire him? Now he's done took his crazy a** up to the Big House on me. Ain't no way in four hells Kwame or Irv can investigate and get me out of this mess now. Every time I turn around, Sulaimon's got me on the news, FOX5, News4, TBD, front page of the Washington Post even. Dude is stalking me. Keep on, I'm gonna file a restraining order and make sure it gets served this time. I'm too old for this s***! I need a drink. Oh yeah, I can't do that no more. I feel like slapping that wig off of Lorraine Greene. She's lucky I can't do that no more either. Boy, I remember the times when I would beat her like she stole something. Wait a minute, that's Cherita Whiting. Got to hurry up and fire her. Her dumb a** done told the Times she ain't checked the damn box. Her big mouth telling everybody we socialize. I know Sulaimon better than I do her. At least, he's got a high school diploma. H***, she didn't need a job. She needed a d*** class schedule. I need a distraction - Kaya, you're it! Where is Dawn? Baby, come back! You can blame it all on me. I was wrong and I just can't live without you. The whole town's laughing at me. Silly fool, how did I lose such a good thing?

    • dcresident

      the report says Cherita Whiting didn't return calls so how could she had given an answer. the last report was that "it was not clear if she check yes". then the committee at the council held a hearing and the hr director Judy Banks said she did disclose her background and brought the documentation to the council hearing with her....watch the DPR hearing from about a week ago and you will see Bowser takes a break to view the documents, then we get another article saying what...who knows and since when has a reporter always reported the truth??
      She was hired and she checked the damn box.

    • Control Board

      DCResident,
      I understand that she checked the box. However, the law requires you to give details of your felony conviction or your application cannot be processed. So the question is simple...How did she get hired when her application was not able to be processed? If she did check the box, then we should fire the person who did not follow the process. That application should not have gone anywhere without details. Hell, just fire everyone hired on or after Jan. 2nd. That's exactly what the Control Board would do.

    • controlboardadvisor

      LOL! If Cellblock Cherita checked the box it was only to see if any damn money was in it she could steal. It wasn't so she left it empty as hell.

    • gwaffair

      At least in Chicago, there's always another Richard Daley anxious to be mayor and thereby make the signs right again. Maybe Arkansas Rep. Marion Berry will come out of retirement for DC-elected office. All we'd have to do is change one letter.

    • Concerned Citizen

      According to that Post graphic not only have they resurrected that lazy poseur Crystal Palmer (wife of lazy, cheatin', drunken twit Harold Brazile - the only reason she ever had the job in the first place)back to her sinecure at The Motion Picture and Television Office (which she managed to maintain as a work free, progress free, success free backwater even as Philly and Baltimore's film offices thrived and the legitimate theater in DC grew to having more seats then any city in the world other then New York during the same time period) they have ensconced the spawn of the corrupt and evil pussy whip mistress there as well. They both need to go! This is not a job for the feed bag set.

    • http://citypaper Tony

      Bruce "hiss talking" Johnson is very cozy with Vincent Gray.

    • amanda

      LOL, itsjustamess has provided a comical rendition of the facts. Sulaimon may be crazy but trust and believe, he is NOT lying. Yes Gray did pay precincts captains, gave out Giant Food cards, and had Brown as his attack dog. There is way more poo that will hit the fan.

    • dcresident

      Well then the fault should be with HR not this woman...but then again maybe since what I read said have you within 10 years and her's is outside of the ten year frame she may have explained or the HR person was keen enough to review and know this. I don't like to see a woman or anyone for that matter who is doing good and has done good by this city being torn down and the one person who is mayor has not stood up for her..."that we know". People desire a second chance and she is not a new offender it has been ten years and she has done well ever since now I just though of another question why not put her in the ex-offender's office to help guide others?

    • itsjustamess

      Investigative Discovery is now adding a whole new lineup for its popular show "I (Almost) Got Away With It!" starring Vince "I Don't Know Nothing and Nobody" Gray, Lorraine "I Run This (Gray-V) Train" Green, Howard "Attorney on Speed Dial" Brooks, Kwame "Black on Black" Brown, and Cherita "I Didn't Check No Damn Box" Whiting - produced and directed by none other than Sulaimon "I'm Gonna Git You Sucker" Brown. For view times, check all local news outlets EVERYDAY. Must-see TV!

    • itsjustamess

      @dcresident - Cherita may not be a "new" offender but she darn sure is a "repeat" offender. If in fact there are documents that prove she actually checked the box and provided the required information regarding her felony conviction within the last ten years, why hasn't Cherita broken her unusual silence to clear her name? I'll tell you why. Because she feels those who know, know and those who didn't, she felt didn't need to. She is both ignorant and arrogant. She doesn't know and she doesn't care. She and Sulaimon Brown should be competing for airtime proclaiming their innocence or allegations. He's out there, front and center. Where is she? Hiding out like a fugitive on the run. You want to laud Cherita for doing good? That's your prerogative but charity starts at home. She should have been good to herself. Landing that GED or high school diploma would have been a very "good" start. Repaying that $100,000 she pilfered is also a "good" start. If Cherita isn't lying about fully disclosing her criminal conviction, then that makes liars out of a few other people like Vince Gray, Phil Mendelson, and her former employer at her last known job who also did not know she was as crime-y as she is. So please spare us the Cheerleaders for Cherita shout-out. It's falling on deaf ears. In fact, I've got one for you - Cherita, Cherita, we don't need her, she's not telling, that she's a felon, so just kick her off the public dole 'cause that job she's got is one she stole! Go Cherita! Yeah!!!!

    • Control Board

      Today I stopped past Home Depot and picked up a great big industrial sized broom, bleach, rubber gloves, trash bags and started driving to the Wilson Bldg for some strange reason. I guess my mind was on this government that needs a good spring cleaning before the Control Board arrives.

    • Control Board

      DCResident,
      You make a great point..she does deserve a second chance. However, she blew it by not disclosing the truth. Gray has not stood up for her, your right and it speaks volumes. He should have stood up for her like he did for Brown the first day. Never mind...the second day he was fired. This is a story that has not reached it climax.

    • Drez

      Gray standing up for Brown = Heck of a job Brownie!

    • AnotherDCResident

      @DCResident - Whiting was given a significant pay increase to join DPR and report only to the chief of staff in exchange for her campaign support. Furthermore, the DPR chief said he never interviewed her or asked for additional staff. Hmmm...

    ...