Loose Lips

Mary Cheh Wants Subpoena Power in Hiringgate (Update)

Perhaps Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh is still smarting from charges that her initial report on the hiring practices of Mayor Vince Gray's administration was a "whitewash."

Cheh's office just announced that she's seeking subpoena power so that she'll have the ability to compel reluctant witnesses to testify (read, former chief of staff Gerri Mason Hall) at her March 28th hearing on "executive personnel practices."

“Up to this point, the committee has received the full cooperation of the executive and I continue to expect that the committee will not be called on to use all of its investigative powers,” says Cheh in a statement. “Nevertheless, there are witnesses who have been invited to testify who are not employed by the District government, and who may be unwilling to appear before the committee without a subpoena. As such, I want to preserve the option of using subpoenas should that become necessary.”

Cheh's hearing, by the way, is the same day as Gray's State of the District speech. Oh, and former Mayor Adrian Fenty's campaign strategist Ron Moten will be offering a rebuttal speech that night.

Update: Here's a list of witnesses Cheh wants to testify: Gray campaign and transition chairwoman Lorraine Green; former chief of staff Gerri Mason Hall; interim H.R. director Judy Banks; former Department of Health Care Finance chief of staff Talib Karim; former DHCF auditor Sulaimon Brown; Gray campaign aide accused of giving Brown cash payments, Howard Brooks; DCHF Director Wayne Turnage; Inspector General Charles Willoughby; and representatives from the headhunting firm and private investigator firm that worked for the Gray transition.

  • drez

    Whitewash of a whitewash.

  • Good For Cheh

    I'm glad to see Mary Cheh acting responsibly and doing exactly what her constituents hoped and expected her to do. After all, it was not long ago that she loudly supported the ethical disaster we now know as Mayor Vince Gray.

  • Really

    @Good for Cheh...did you hear about the ethical disasters in the Fenty administration? Or how about Williams?

    From dcwatch.com:

    “Does anyone who compares Gray unfavorably to Mayor Williams, and who praises Williams for running such a clean administration, remember that Williams fired his first Chief of Staff (Reba Pittman Evans, now Reba Pittman Walker) within the first few months of his administration in the aftermath of the “niggardly” controversy because she recommended that he fire David Howard for using the word, leading to Williams’ becoming a national joke? Remember that he lost his second Chief of Staff (Abdusalam Omar) because an Inspector General’s investigation revealed that he illegally raised $1.5 million, supposedly for a sham nonprofit entity to help at-risk children, that was diverted to the use of the mayor’s office? Remember that he lost his third Chief of Staff (Kelvin Robinson) because an Office of the Special Counsel investigation revealed that he violated the Hatch Act forcing government employees under his control to work in Williams’ campaign and to give money to Williams’ campaign? Does anyone praising Fenty’s honesty and competence remember all his bad appointments of his unqualified buddies, cronies, and sports teammates to his administration and to Boards and Commissions, or remember his reckless overspending of the budget on construction projects?”


  • Wendy Washington

    "...former Mayor Adrian Fenty's campaign strategist Ron Moten will be offering a rebuttal speech..." LMAO!

    I am laughing too hard at that prospect to even type! Who is going to write the rebuttal? Better still, find someone who is articulate, intelligent and literate enough to deliver a rebuttal. I guess they can get the same person who wrote Sinclair Skinner's op-ed for the WaPo.

  • Skrilla

    Really, are you aware that Vince Gray is now the mayor, and Tony Williams and Adrian Fenty are not?

    Cheh should be granted subpoena power. The One Citidiots are terrified, as well the should be. Far from being a one-term mayor, Vince may end up being a one-year mayor. Not that Kwame is any better.

    ONE CITY, investigations, subpoenas, oh my!

  • Southeast Ken

    Ron Moten? LOL LOL LOL

    When did this loser become a politician or important?

  • Really

    I was LMAO at all the dead weight Fentynites rising from the dead. Ron and Skinner have to eat.

  • AO

    DC Watch

    Neither Fenty nor Williams were above the cronyism that infiltrates our city's politics, however Gray explicitly ran on an "anti-Fenty" platform that promised to root out the ills of the Fenty era. I mean atleast give us six months of honorable conduct. In order to implement this level of corruption so quickly, he had to have the plans under his arm coming through the door.
    Neither Fenty nor Williams left office unblemished, but I am more interested in a positive future for DC rather than the negative elements of the past. A better future for our city will begin with the investigation of the practices of our new mayor.

  • tony

    I hope that Mrs. Cheh adds Councilmember Jim Graham, David Catania and Jack Evans to the list.

  • samantha

    Mary Cheh is a loose cannon . She needs to take care of Ward 3 . The rest of the city does not need the wannabe DOJ .

  • ghettoclown

    LeroyThorpe(.com) should offer a reBUTTal to Moten's rebuttal to make the criminal circus / daisy chain complete -- since this takes place right over there in Mahdi's 'hood.

  • sinclair skinner

    I don't support what Gray is doing but why not state your disagreements without name calling. Some of the stuff that has been said hurts my feelings. Let's take a collective deep breath and release. This too shall pass.

  • Really?

    Lol @ ghettoclown that would be some great reality tv.

    @skrilla so there are rules for us and rules for ya'll.

    Those who had issues with Fenty didn't show their displeasure until he was two years into his term. We gave him a chance

    Now the Fenty acolyts are still steaming from the loss in Novemeber and instead of allowing Gray a chance to govern the city, they have used the media to hammer away at some BS that even one of the best Mayors had to endure.

  • AnotherDCResident

    Cheh is going down next cycle, and none of this bullshit will save her ass.

  • Skrilla

    Really, you seem to think that one can not be anti gray without being pro-fenty. This is a false choice. Of course, it's also easy for the purpose of typecasting, which is something One Citidiots love to do.

    Vince Gray ran on Character.Integrity.Leadership. If he bothered to show any of the three, you might not have a city that is well and sick of him after 70-odd days. Best of luck.

  • John Rambo

    How can anyone trust Cheh to carry out this investigation against her political allies? Cheh either enabled and has been manipulated by the One Citidiots. If she squirms through the primary, Hedgepeth or someone similar will smoke her in the general, and rightfully so. The suspicions that enabled Republicans to win 36% of the vote in the last election in Ward 3 have only been confirmed.

  • votenomore

    I bore of this topic. What's the plan for the city. 90 days and nothing. Where's the blueprint for improvement, schools, jobs, housing, healthcare. Nothing but investigations. Enough, the salaries have been corrected, people have been fired, resigned and Sillymon Brown has proved himself a nut case. Enough! What's the plan for the city, is this what the next four years is going to be like.

  • Rake

    @Votenomore: What's the plan for the city. 90 days and nothing. Where's the blueprint for improvement, schools, jobs, housing, healthcare.

    Exactly. Vince is a once failed executive who was able to tap into a city sick of Fenty. Problem is, now that he has to govern and not campaign, he can't perform in an executive capacity. Poor hires surrounding him, no initial plan or vision, and no clue how to reverse the spiral...

    One City, that should make better choices.

  • Mary

    DC cannot just gloss over the mistakes Gray has made and move forward, this will only leave Gray with the message he can do anything legal or not and get away with it. Cheh has been too slow in responding on this investigation and moving forward against Gray and Kwame. Cheh still hopes it will all go away and she does not have to do her job against her buddies. Can we recall a Mayor?

  • Terry Miller

    Did anyone bother to watch Mary Cheh's hearings the other day on this issue. Among the things that came up:

    Per Judy Banks, acting H.R. Director: Salaries are paid on a bi-weekly basis over the year. If the Council did not approved raising the cap, the salaries that were above the cap would be adjusted downward for the remainder of the year on a pro rated basis so that they would result in a yearly salary that was below the cap. Also, Judy Banks stated that the administration wanted to raise the cap generally because there were two excellent candidates that they lost because of the salary cap. This is EXACTLY what happened in the Fenty administration and there is nothing illegal or unethical about it.

    She said that a resume without dates on it would not be a problem, because the person would fill out a standard form that would require dates. No names were mentioned, but she said that all the backgrounds of all the hirees were subject to a background check by a contractor. She said that all the background checks came back negative. She said all the people who were hired (and later forced to resign) met the qualifications for their jobs. BTW: a protective order would not normally appear on any criminal background check as having one issued against you is not a crime.

    She did say that she spoke to Gerri Hall about the hiring of her (Hall's) son, out of concern for the appearance of impropriety. She said that hiring of a relative is not a problem, as long as they don't supervise each other.

    I've read all the media reports on this hearing and nothing seems to have been reported except for Judy Banks statements regarding Hall's son.

    All of this was said under oath.

  • Ward-8

    I guess the Mayor for life was right when he name the Gray haters. We will see if those haters vote for this Bull S**.Cheh have as much business obtaining Subpoena power as that third grader from Alaska being President of the United States. She should represent her ward and stop trying to join the Issa digging for dirt brigade and Moton with a rebuttal statement, dang!!, gota go about to throw up.

  • Time2BReal

    This whole situation is just crazy. Just proves you truly have to watch the company you keep, and be strong enough to withstand the temptation of excercising power beyond your ability to control it. Once your actions allow others to dictate your destiny, thats when your no longer a leader, but a servant to the system that your forced to confide within...