Loose Lips

Loose Lips Daily: Et Tu, Kwame? 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:

  • OCF Files Complaint Against Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown
  • Good morning sweet readers! For a kid who grew up knowing the Dallas Mavericks as the worst team to ever play basketball, last night's victory was awesome. And, oh yeah, the whole Miami losing thing was great, too. And with that, LL is taking his talents to news time:

    Et Tu, Kwame?: Last week wouldn't have been complete without a late Friday news dump calling into question a D.C. elected official's ethics, no? Enter the Office of Campaign Friday, which announces that it has filed a complaint against Council Chairman Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown over issues with his 2008 re-election campaign. Brown has blamed administrative errors for not reporting large amounts of donations and expenses, but hasn't been as forthcoming on why there aren't adequate records to support $175,000 his campaign paid to his brother using a third party pass-through. In any event, Brown's office sent out a reminder yesterday that there will be a hearing today on his and Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh's new ethics bill, aka the Comprehensive Ethics Reform Act of 2011."I made a promise in November during the start of my transition to have a bill for my colleagues to vote on before the end of the session. Over the last eight months, my staff and I have put together a bill that is moving the Council and District government in the right direction," says Brown in a statement, as the District continues to slide in the wrong direction. If Brown was hoping this bill would provide a little political cover, he might have to look elsewhere, as people seem to be lining up to badmouth his proposal. "The bill is seriously flawed. It not only would fail to bring clarity to the city’s confusing code of conduct but also would create unnecessary bureaucracy," says the Post editorial board. Says Gary Imhoff over at D.C. Watch: "Mary Cheh has argued that opposing this bill is a case of opposing the good because it is not perfect. But the bill is neither perfect nor good, and passing a bad ethics bill now means the council will consider its job done, and not pass a good bill later."

    AFTER THE JUMP: Criminal Charges for HTJ; Back to the 90s? ...

    Criminal Charges for Thomas?: If you missed the Kojo show on Friday, not only did you miss an awesome Sulaimania remix, but you also missed Attorney General Irv Nathan lay out his case against Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. in painful detail. NBC 4's Tom Sherwood says that Nathan hinted at the fact that he would have pressed criminal charges against Thomas if he'd had the power to do so, and Nathan said he'll be seeking the power to pursue criminal cases in the future. Currently, it's up to the feds, who are already investigating Thomas, to determine if there will be a criminal case. But if Nathan's allegations that Thomas stole $316,000 of District funds to spend on an Audi and golf trips are true, then it seems to LL that the feds won't have a choice but to press charges. Related: The Georgetown Dish says the mayor needs to speak up on the Thomas affair: "The silence, to many ears, is deafening." Meanwhile, the Times says Nathan's "decisive action" suggests that he may be the new sheriff in town. And the Times also tries to link Thomas' current problems with a lawsuit related to unpaid student loans.

    Back to the 90s?: If you missed Postie Marc Fisher's article last week about the District possibly returning to the "bad old days," fear not. A similar version ran on the front of Sunday's edition, but this time with different experts and some man on the street quotes. "'My life really hasn’t been impacted at all,' said James Lovely, 74, who lives in Thomas’s ward. But, he adds, 'I’m disappointed. . . . It certainly doesn’t look good. It doesn’t feel good to see all of this happening. What’s so bad about it is that they are hurting the city, really hurting the city, not just hurting themselves.'"

    In Other News: District having problems with federal sex offender rules. Jonetta says CFO Nat Gandhi is incompetent and is holding the city hostage. Will D.C. ever get Netflix schools? Kaya Henderson for permanent chancellor, as if there's any doubt. Pride Parade slideshow.

    Council sked: Noon hearing on aforementioned ethics bill. Creditor calling act at 1 p.m., Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs.

    Gray sked: 9:35 a.m. interview with Gloria Minott on WPFW.
    Mary Cheh has argued that opposing this bill is a case of opposing the good because it is not perfect. But  the bill is neither perfect nor good, and passing a bad ethics billl now means the council will consider its job done, and not pass a good bill later.

    • TheAngryVoter

      Welp as I have stated time and time again...DC is a complete Joke to the world right now. We really have to get people on the council who will not make these foolish mistakes.

      -TheAngryVoter

    • No Integrity

      No legislation regarding your integrity can instill right in your heart as a politician, as illustrated by the following:

      1. You need legislation to tell you to come up with receipts to explain $174,000 being spent and unaccounted for Kwame?

      2. You need legislation to tell you that you can should not order any fully loaded suv available (three in 3 months) Kwame?

      3. You need legislation to tell you that you didnot have an MBA from Harvard Kwame?

      4. You need legislation to tell you not to knock a wall out of another office to make you office larger than the mayor's office Kwame?

      You have no integrity and no legislation by you can change larceny in your heart and you will become the 2nd Member of the Council to be recalled in January 2012 Kwame.

    • tony

      IT'S TIME FOR THE BLACK ELITE AND THE BLACK MIDDLE-CLASS TO FIGHT BACK, BECAUSE I AM CERTAIN THAT THEY ARE UNDER ATTACK!!!!!

    • NU78

      Nat Gandhi must have the goods on a lot of politicians when it comes to their corruption when you consider how thick his Teflon coating appears to be. Beyond anything Jonetta's column says, I can recall Gandhi serving as best man to a "trusted" guy in his office who was found to be bilking the taxpayers and didn't even have the professional credentials he claimed (all during Tony Williams' administration). And the biggest theft in history from D.C. taxpayers happens in the Office of Tax and Revenue under his watch and Gandhi still retains his job -- even though Tax and Revenue was the CFO office that Gandhi headed before he took over as the city's CFO. Hmmmmm...so what does Gandhi know that he's holding over polticians' heads??

    • Marciela

      NU78: You hit that nail on the head. How has Gandhi survived so many incidences of incompetence and poor performance? What does he know to still have his job despite not being a good guardian of DC's money?

      Kwame "Fully Loaded With Self" Brown has the same problem Satan had in Heaven. He thinks he is superior to everyone else and must have the material possessions -- bigger office and equal SUV -- to show for it.

      FBI should probe ALL city council members, Gray, all questionable Fenty actions and expenditures, Rhee/Henderson spending and personnel decisions, Lanier's personnel decisions and EEO/court cases and a forensic audit on Gandhi's office. It is time to crack down once and for all.

    • ME4DC

      @NU78 you bring up an interesting point! Gandhi knows all of the corruption in DC politics!

    • Art

      @Tony, this is the second post in which you have stated that "the black elite and the black middle class" are under attack. Can you please expound?

    • Truth Hurts

      No, no, no, Art. Bad request, dude.

    • Mary

      Cheh writes poor legislation and Brown cannot help her out. The current ethics rules seemed quite complete when I last read them, the problem is they are not enforced or followed. If the current allegations against the Mayor and various councilmembers prove to be true, they all need to resign their respective offices. Put that in your ethics revised rules and see how many future violations occur, that would be unlike the past when everyone gets away with doing whatever they want to do.

    • tony

      @truth hurts, are you a white man or woman. And, why would you tell someone seeking clarity from me that its a bad request...Somehow, I get the impression that you believe what you write is more important and relevant than the next person...If you are not white, you certainly sound like a typical "arrogant whitey."

      And,you need not respond, because I am sure that one of your black "boys" or "gals" surely will.

    • tony

      @art, I have written extensively as to why I believe the black elite and the black middle class are under attack, please read the other blogs.

    • Black Elite

      my man Tony, preach. Less all rise on up and get paid. your extensiv writtings on race are inspiring us black midle class folk to get was coming ta us. NOT.

      Your actually the type that makes our city the butt of jokes.

    • tony

      Look folks here's the real deal with all these allegations and investigations of primarily the city's Black Politicians.

      The real reason why Mayor Gray is feeling so much heat from the Media and white establishment is because to them he represents the sort of black politician that appears "too black." While he is very professional and diplomatic, in many respects, his politics are rooted in the black experience. He political agenda which is to use his political power to financially and politically empower blacks is antithetical to the politics of a Mayor Fenty, and the likes, whom the white establishment finds to be more palatable.

      Specifically, when Fenty got elected he hired nearly an all white staff. His Police Chief was white. His Fire Chief was white. The Transportation Director was white. The head of DCRA was white, etc. In fact, Fenty appointed whites to nearly every major government agencies in this city. The white establishment thus saw this as reason to believe that Fenty politics were skewed to their interest. In contrast, Mayor Gray got elected and he did the exact opposite. He fired the white Fire Chief and replaced him with a black man. He replaced a non-black school chancellor with a black woman. He fired the white director of DCRA and replaced her with a black man. And, nearly his entire inner-circle consisted of black professionals.

      The white establishment feared that their agenda could not be achieved with Gray as the Mayor. As such, they began a campaign to discredit him with the hope that he will somehow lose power. And, the same is true for Kwame Brown and Harry Thomas. Again, non of these politicians were endorsed by the white establishment for the said reasons.

      Yes, Mayor Gray, Kwame Brown,Harry Thomas and others may have made some mistakes and bad decisions. And, majority of the voters do in fact have legitimate concerns as it relates to their elected officials' conduct. However, I contend that those legitimate concerns are being manipulated by the white establishment who have evil intentions.

      How else can one explain why the white politicians in this town can engage in the same level of political misconduct and get a free pass. Jim Graham's conduct concerning the taxi cab industry involved devious concealment and outright deception which constituted the worst form of public corruption. Jack Evans has maintained a very suspect and cozy relationship with the business community for more than 20 years, which has earned him several reprimands from the authority. David Catania steered non-competitive contracts worth millions of dollars to his pet project-GWU. Yet, none of these politicians faces the daily media blitz. None of them are being subjected to the worst form of mockery. None of them are the subject of unrelenting calls for criminal probes and investigations.

      This is wrong. This is racist.

    • Just Curious

      Gandhi is weak and has the ethics of a slimy weasel. Council members and persons in the local business community would rather have a weak CFO that they can control, as opposed to a strong independent CFO. @ Marciela - a forensic audit of Gandhi's office would clearly show that Gandhi has been rigging the books for the past decade. How is it that he cries "the sky is falling" every year in quarters 1-3, but we always manage to end the year with a "balanced" budget or surplus? I'll tell you - Enron accounting. A forensic audit of the CFO's records would provide clear and demonstrative proof of fiscal irregularities and financial malfeasance. @ LL - reach out to some of the former OCFO staffers who were in sensitive positions. Those with integrity will tell you what they witnessed.

    • LongTimeRez

      Agreed, JC... too bad "Fully-Loaded" just gave city auditor Deborah Nichols her walking papers after her damning report of $15-million-plus undocumented and unnecessary spending on Allen Lew's (think convention center, baseball stadium, etc.) schools revamp.

      http://dcauditor.org/DCA/Reports/OPEFM%20Report%205_11_11.pdf

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