Loose Lips

Kwame Brown’s Transition Fund Paid Brother’s Firm

In this week's column on Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.'s legal defense fund, LL mentions how there are multiple ways for D.C. politicians to raise and spend money outside the reach of the Office of Campaign Finance and outside the view of the public.

One interesting example is Council Chairman Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown's transition fund. Brown, like Mayor Vince Gray, refused public funding for transition costs and raised money privately. Brown promised to release the names of donors and list his expenses after the transition, and in early February he kept his word and put the information on his website.

The information showed that Brown raised $91,800, largely from developers and labor groups, and spent $77,241 on transition expenses. The rest of the money, the Post reported, was to be "used for charitable purposes."

But unlike OCF records, which are permanently open to the public,  the donor and expense information came off Brown's website at some point. And Brown never reported what happened to the extra $14,559 that was left over.

LL managed to obtain a copy of the spreadsheet for the Brown's transition fund, called “Making a Difference Fund Inc,” which shows that only $400 of the remaining funds went to charity ($300 to Friends of Ballou and $100 to the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club). The rest was spent on bookkeeping, transportation, and consulting fees.

Some of those consulting fees—$4,000 to be precise—went to the sales coaching firm of Brown’s brother, Che Brown, the records indicate.

Che Brown's company, Partners in Learning, has never been paid directly by any campaign, city records show. But an audit done earlier this year by OCF details how Kwame Brown's 2008 council campaign paid $240,000 to Partners in Learning, through a third-party contractor. The fact that Che Brown has not turned over bank records to OCF despite multiple requests is likely a major reason why the Board of Elections and Ethics recently referred its stalled investigation of Kwame Brown's 2008 campaign over to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

"We think there's criminal activity here and it needs to be looked into," said BOEE Chairman Togo West at the time.

Another $7,652 of the money left over from Kwame's transition fund was paid to the Lancer Group, a campaign field operation company operated by consultant Harold Gist that Brown's 2010 campaign paid more than $190,000. Gist couldn't be reached for comment.

Kwame Brown's office did not respond to questions about transition fund spending. Aura Garcia, who works at the D.C. Council's H.R. office and is listed as one of the transition funds' directors on incorporating documents, declined to comment on who made spending decisions about the leftover money.

Comments

  1. #1

    Another mother fukkker that needs to be cut down at his knees by the US Attorney's Office ASAP!

  2. #2

    "Che" WTF is that?!?

  3. #3

    Oh lookie who's behind Kwame in the photo, above!

  4. #4

    I am at work at the moment, but reading this article make me want to have a drink of liquor. Who else is up for a drink of liquor. Our city is in a mess and bamma ass Thomas and Kwame Brown should resign. Where in the hell did Harry Thomas get that ugly bamma pin stripped suit?

  5. #5

    The two headed monster lives on!

  6. #6

    This incredible Dr. Phibes experiment must end!

  7. #7

    NE John: What a rip! Dr. Phibes w/out Vulvania? No fair.

  8. #8

    "We think there's criminal activity here and it needs to be looked into," said BOEE Chairman Togo West at the time.

    Oh really? You think so? DUH!

  9. #9

    What's the subliminal message being the picture? How come you cropped out the other councilmembers?

  10. #10

    Kwame Brown, Michael Brown, White-guy Jackie Evans,Marion Barry and Harry Thomas of teh DC Council ARE NOT totally corrupt the eyes of us kool-aid likers.

  11. #11

    Kwame Brown, Michael Brown, White-guys Jimmie Graham or Jackie Evans,Marion Barry and Harry Thomas of the DC Council ARE NOT totally corrupt in the eyes of us kool-aid drinking likers.
    *Obviously corruption has benefactors e.g.,lawyers like Cooke and Bolden just to name the Black ones,relatives of the council members or their copulating spouses gay and straight and the cool dudes giving early,often and wantonly to keep them contracts double-billed to the D.C. Gov't.

  12. #12

    Che was advising Kwame about which charities merited donations. He charged 4k and the charities got $300.

    Approximates the ratio of money HTJ paid himself versus money he used for the kids.

    LL, given the evidence, why would you expect one city's crew to do what they tell the public they'll do? That would require: Character. Integrity. Leadership.

  13. #13

    What's the subliminal message in this picture? How come the city paper cropped out the other councilmembers?

  14. #14

    @SF, Verdy interlesting, vye is the clestion, ziege hiel.

  15. #15

    I'm tired of everyone trashing DC! Whining all the time about Barry, Gray, Thomas Jr. and Brown again. You just don't seem to understand DC. There is a certain way of doing things. If that bothers you so much, maybe you should just take your bike and dog and move back to Lake Whitebegon.

  16. #16

    There's no "subliminal message," that's the way the photo was cropped on Election Night or right afterwards -- it was cropped that way so it would fit on our blogs at 500 pixels wide and still focus on Brown. You can search Google Images for that photo and find it on many other blog posts.

  17. I mean, really?!!
    #17

    Once upon a time I would read the Detroit Free Press and marvel at how ridiculous their city council was. Who could forget Monica Conyers calling the Council Chair "Shrek" or the constant fights. I felt good about where DC was headed and thought that we were blessed with a good group of leaders. My how times have changed! These "imbeciles" are an embarrassment to us all but more so to our young people. I usually don't post on these blogs but I'm beyond frustrated about the direction of the city and I feel powerless to do anything about it. What gives?!

  18. What the flocka?
    #18

    If we are living in the moment and this is the worst it can possible get. Then no wonder violent crime is down and corruption is up.

  19. #19

    @ Mike Madden,

    Yeah right, and i'm dorothy from oz!

  20. #20

    Suderman, although i'm not sure what to make of this story,

    "Che brown wasn't paid directly by any campaign. However, che brown received consulting fees totalling 4gs from the transition fund."

    "Brown paid somebody 200k in 2008 - the matter was forwarded to the USAG."

    Is there a connection between the 2008 and 2010 campaign funds or are you talking about two separate sums of money..and separate accusations of foulness?

    BTW, yes, that pic has been seen quite a few places. No WCP didn't have to use that one. It chose to since there are a many different photos of Brown.

  21. #21

    In the picture, they all look like pimps on an HBO special with Ice Tee and Snoop Dogg.

  22. #22

    Hold up! First if this was DC tax money used to pay for the transition then maybe my eyebrow would go up. But this was money that was raised so that the DC taxpayers wouldn't be on the hook for the transitional cost. Who else can raise that type of cash in that amount of time but those in the business community.

    When you go to the post article it states “Brown, a former two-term council member, announced that a committee set up to pay for his transition as chairman had raised $91,800 between the November election and earlier this year. But Brown said he spent only $77,241, the bulk of which went to pay staff and media consultants. Brown has transferred his unspent funds to another account that will be used for charitable purposes”

    “Brown has transferred his unspent funds to another account that will be used for charitable purposes”

    So the unspent money could surely have been the $400 bucks. Then we are nitpicking that he paid a family member for work that they did? In fact Kwame held up his end of the bargain and posted what happen to the money.

    And LL is trying to spin this as if what? Nothing has been proven and in fact OCF punted to OAG and all we have at this point is speculation. At nothing new on the 2008 OCF story and LL is trying to say some how the two stories fit.

    Then we have former Mayor Adrian Fenty donate $440,709, the remaining balance in his citizen-service fund, to a seemingly unregistered organization tied to the Columbia Heights home of his campaign strategist. Has there been an investigation called on this? Haven't seen the 99 post on this site or what about apic of the campaign strategist and Fenty grinning.

    @Mike How many folks over at the citypaper who report on DC politics aren’t white? And if there is one how long have they lived in the city.

  23. #23

    WOW @ Really!!

    I learn something NEW everyday here on LL because of bloggers such as yourself!

    This what you state makes absolute since as to why TURTLE BOY Fenty and his administration creating red herrings as an EXIT strategy and now we have these petty, slanderous editorials by local media and these retarded ass opportunists who look to generate divisive and nefarious climates surrounding a predominantly black council that no longer serves the purpose of the gentrified!

    All closed eyes ain't sleep and cream rises to the top.....keep churning REALLY!

  24. #24

    GENTRIFIER! !!

  25. #25

    First, it was $4000, not $400.
    Second, KB said it went to charity
    Third, it went to his brother, not charity.
    Fourth, only $400 (1/10th of what he spent on family) went to charity.
    Small potatos, sure, but why lie about it and it is yet another example of campaign finance tomfoolery by KB.

  26. #26

    @Drez read "THE POST" story which the story is linked to. It says"The bulk" and didn't give no exact numbers?

    The $400 figure is the number which was said to been donated to the non-profits.

    My statement was "So the unspent money could surely have been the $400 bucks. Then we are nitpicking that he paid a family member for work that they did? In fact Kwame held up his end of the bargain and posted what happen to the money."

    This could have been what was left over after "ALL" (including his family)folks were paid? Nowhere in the statement does it say $14,559 would be transfered.

    So where is the lie?

  27. #27

    @ SeDCDude, Really is absolutely correct in regards to Fenty donating the surplus from his campaign war chest to a non-profit incorporated by his campaign manager.

  28. #28

    FYI, in case you didn't read about Fenty and his very successful scheme that bankrolled his 2010 campaign strategist's start-up company with $400K of our [taxpayers] dollars, here's the scoop from the Wash Business Journal. Oh, and f course the City Paper didn't regurgitate this story because Fenty was their appeasement "Jerk" they endorsed and needed:
    -------------
    "Former Mayor Adrian Fenty donated $440,709, the remaining balance in his citizen-service fund, to a seemingly unregistered organization tied to the Columbia Heights home of his campaign strategist.

    Fenty was required by law to terminate his citizen-service fund either by retiring the debts of the program, of which there were none, or by donating it to a "not-for-profit organization within the meaning of the federal tax laws." The funds — the mayor and each member of the D.C. Council have one — were created to provide "charitable, scientific, educational, medical, recreational or other services to the residents of the District of Columbia."

    According to a report filed early this year with the Office of Campaign Finance, the full balance of Fenty's fund was given to "Faster Forward," with the address XXXX XXXX St. NW. That condominium, according to D.C. tax office records, is owned by John Falcicchio, Fenty's campaign strategist and chief fundraiser.

    The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has no record of Faster Forward as a not-for-profit registered in the District or as a trade name. The Office of Tax and Revenue has no record of the group. And GuideStar, a massive database of nonprofits, does not return any results."

  29. #29

    @Really
    The way I read this is he had $14000 and change left over from transition expenses, which he said he donated to charity. Receipts show he donated $400 to charity, and paid $4000 to his brother. The balance is not accounted for.
    At least that's what a straight reading of the story leads me to believe.
    Yeah, the numbers don't add up but isn't that (to borrow a phrase from HTJ) par for the course?

  30. #30

    Really, seDCdude, StrageFruit:

    Hate to break it to you, but looks like Vince has even had enough of Junior's antics.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-theres-no-confession/2011/07/28/gIQAAu82hI_story.html

    AGs don't do Op-Eds without the Bosses approval.

  31. #31

    Not just approval, but instruction and editorial input.
    My guess is the "waterboarding" portion wasn't in Nathan's first draft.

  32. #32

    Disagree. Everything Gray's said and done demonstrates he's sticking with HTJ. If one city's had a change of heart, let's hear it from Vince.

    Show your (character, integrity, leadership) support for Irv, Mr. Mayor.

  33. #33

    @John, did you read the article or just assumed that, since the AG wrote an OpEd piece it's lambasting Thomas. John John, you know the old adage,when you make assumptions, it makes an...

    Quite the contrary to your comment, the AG is SCORNING Councilmember Wells, Catania, Cheh for fueling the media's sensationalism of the case. He also wrote some harsh words about the media; here and excerpt from the AG's OpEd piece in yesterday's Wash Post:

    "Nonetheless, SOME COUNCILMEMBERS, media figures and others who should know better have criticized the settlement because it does not contain an admission of wrongdoing or liability by the defendant.

    Such criticism is unfounded. For good reasons, settlements of civil litigation by either government agencies or private parties rarely, if ever, contain an admission of liability. If a plaintiff insisted that an admission be part of a settlement, suits would generally not be resolved short of full-scale litigation lasting years. This is particularly true in a situation, as here, where there is a specter of a criminal prosecution. Any concession of liability would be admissible in evidence against the defendant in a criminal trial, with likely devastating consequences.

    No rational defendant would settle a civil case under such circumstances, and no competent attorney would allow a client to make such an admission."
    --------------------
    John John, the AG lambasted the councilmenbers-- who are ALL lawyers by profession--and told them to cease and desist their freaking grandstanding!

    And, I will assume the City Paper doesn't plan on writing story after story about the AG's OpEd piece because it doesn't advance the paper's blatant agenda for change.

    Here's the link to the AG's piece: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-theres-no-confession/2011/07/28/gIQAAu82hI_story.html

  34. #34

    I read the AG's piece as absolutely not exonerating Thomas.
    The way I read it, Nathan says He believes Thomas is guilty, recovered the money Thomas stole, and expects the Feds to follow up with criminal charges.

  35. #35

    Strange Fruit is a dried up prune...All I can say is reading is comprehension. Drez is absolutely right. The AG all but says one would have to be a moron not to know Thomas is guilty as hell. He did his part. He recovered the money stolen. Now, the Feds can do theirs and their job is made light by the documentation gathered from the AG's report and findings. Nathan did just enough to get our money back and leave a trail for the Feds to find the smoking gun without having to go to trial and waste more taxpayers' dollars to come to the same result. Thomas stole that damn money!

  36. #36

    Life is good in DC politics!

  37. #37

    "Where is the updated story about Mayor Adrian Fenty donating $440,709, the remaining balance in his citizen-service fund, to a seemingly unregistered organization tied to the Columbia Heights home of his campaign strategist."

    @Really-

    It's in the "update" file with the other, bigger story on the ripoff--one that makes HJT look like Little Bo Peep in comparison--of DC school kids: the theft of up to $30 million via the Fenty administration's Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization under Allen Lew.

    $9.7 million > Keith Lomax--former Fenty substitute teacher, ex-Fenty "chauffeur"
    $5.5 million > Turner Construction, employer of Allen Lew relative

    Read the sordid details--confirmed by the Office of Inspector General--below.

    http://www.21csf.org/csf-home/DocUploads/DataShop/DS_279.pdf

  38. #38

    @ itsjustamess, before reading comprehension, you gotta have RIF--reading is fundamental--which you are apparently lacking.

    Please have an English interpreter read to you the following EXCERPT from the AG's OpEd piece:

    ""Nonetheless, some councilmembers, media figures and others who should know better have criticized the settlement because it does not contain an admission of wrongdoing or liability by the defendant. Such criticism is unfounded."

    Also have your designated English interpreter read this from the AG:

    "For good reasons, settlements of civil litigation by either government agencies or private parties rarely, if ever, contain an admission of liability."

    Not only is the AG stating that the civil suit settlement does not contain an admission of wrongdoing, but legally, it would be unwise for a plaintiff to enter into a guilty plea in cognizance of a looming federal investigation.

    itjustamess, the AG stated his position in BLACK and WHITE and it's quite clear. We know how subtle navigating the legal system can be and any further verbiage will only divulge your ignorance.

    Oh "itjustamess", seeing that you are full of "crap" and how it has clouded your basic RIF skills, I highly recommend dried up prunes!

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