Loose Lips

Evans’ Law Firm Had Ties to Convention Center Hotel Deal, After All

Last week, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans released an opinion from the D.C. Council's general counsel, which gave Evans a pass for not filing a written statement as to why he'd recused himself during votes in the summer of 2009 on public financing for a new convention center hotel. Turns out that pass may have been premature.

Critics of Evans started a website last year calling on him to file a written explanation for his recusals, as is generally required by city law when councilmembers have potential conflicts of interests. At issue was whether Marriott International Inc., which will be operating the hotel once it's built, was represented by Patton Boggs, the influential lobbying firm that employs Evans. The District has put $272 million in public funds towards the 1,167-room hotel.

Evans said last week that Patton Boggs did not represent Marriott, but that he had recused himself out of an "abundance of caution." Patton Boggs is a giant firm, and Evans said it would have been his "bad luck" for there to be some previously undiscovered connection between the two firms. With no connection between Marriott and Patton Boggs, the council's attorney said Evans didn't need to file a written statement because there was no potential conflict of interest. Evans also told LL last week that there was no connection between the two developers building the hotel, Quadrangle Development and Capstone Development.

Turns out there may have been a potential conflict, after all.

After LL blogged about the general counsel's opinion last week, he got a copy of a 2009 email from Evans' office showing there was more to the story. The email says Evans recused himself because Patton Boggs represented ING, which calls itself a "global real estate investment manager." (The email was presumably written by Evans' former aide Jeff Coudriet; it was sent from Evans' council address, but is signed "Jeff." Coudriet recently passed away.)

When the financing for the deal stalled, and a plan to fund the entire project with public funding went nowhere, the developers turned to ING for help increasing their share of the project's financing. According to Washington Business Journal, ING's involvement allowed the developers to increase their investment from $135 million to $320 million.

From a Post report on the deal:

Evans said the prospect of full public financing appears to have motivated the developers into putting up the equity so they could gain more of the profits. "It caused everyone to focus, step up and get it done," said Evans, who added that he hopes the council will vote on the proposal next month so construction can begin in the fall.

Evans told LL today that Patton Boggs represented ING in the convention center deal, but their involvement doesn't change anything. "There's no connection between ING and the city," says Evans, noting that ING's connections were with the developers, not the District, and therefore the opinion of the council's general counsel still applies and no written statement from Evans was necessary.

LL's no lawyer, but when the city and developers go in on a deal together like the convention center, and Evans has ties to parties on both sides, that seems at the very least like a potential conflict of interest.

But Evans didn't want to debate the issue: "I'm giving you my statement, and that's it."

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • tony

    Evans has been involved in that type of questionable dealings for nearly 20 years. Yet, he and his supporters have the nerve to point fingers when it comes to "pay to play "politics. What bothers me is when some blacks excuse Evans and other council members who engage in this sort of conduct, but are ready to condemn their own when they are accused of similar conduct.In fact, blacks are so quick to call for their own leaders to resign and or they threaten to join some ill-conceive recall campaign. Or, they get on blogs and agree with white bloggers who say that black politicians are more corrupt and deserve harsher treatment. I don't mean any harm, but black folks act like they are stupid or something. And these suppose to be educated blacks who engaged in this silliness. Boy, the white man has done a number on blacks in this country. It's almost laughable. That's right Jack, go ahead and milk that cow for everything its worth and then pass it on to your kids, while broke black people continue to walk around calling themselves well to do while facing foreclosure. In many respects, I don't blame Jack Evans, if blacks are so stupid to fall for this crap time and time again, then they deserve everything they get.

  • http://www.HalliganProjects.com Rob Halligan

    Oh the tangled web Evans weaves. Does this mean he lied to the General Counsel to get that opinion?

  • http://www.HalliganProjects.com Rob Halligan

    @"Frank Reeves" - PR 101, Deflect and Pivot. PR 102 - Include a Kernel of Truth in the Lies and Hope They Bite.

  • Southeast Ken

    Thank you, Tony.

  • Constantly Surprised (AGAIN)

    Silliness? Evans has supported that Hotel project along with almost everyone in the last (two or three administrations) because it's so important for the Convention Center's competitive position.

    From your own article, you point-out that the financing changed over them many years that they have been trying to put the deal together.

    Evans did what he should in the situation? He recused himself. What would like him to do otherwise? The fact that ING had a derivative piece of the financing and had among it's HUNDREDS of lawyers, Patton Boggs seems irrelevant.

    The fact that Evans didn't know that Patton Boggs had anything to do with the project is a sign of how little the connection was important in the scheme of things. IF you had some evidence that is otherwise, then present it -- otherwise, this is just another case of the kind of journalism that leads to paralysis of our system.

    Don't use the "appearances" condemnation when it's not appropriate.

  • http://www.HalliganProjects.com Rob Halligan

    @"Constantly Surprised (AGAIN)"Why don't people who work for Evans sign their names? And what about lying to the General Counsel?

  • Anonymous1984

    "There's no connection between ING and the city," says Evans..." ...except through Jack and his Patton Boggs overlords.

    Good work, LL. There is plenty more dirt to dig where that came from.

  • StrangeFruit

    Alan,

    I gotta give you kudos on this one! Can you also do a follow-up on the Washington Post and Patton Boggs connection via the Federal City Council and why the Washington Post--which founded the Federal City Council-- will not conduct any investigative reporting on Patton Boggs' paid lobbyist--Jack Evans--who is a DC city councilmember and chair of the freakin Finance Committee?

    Has any one questioned why the Washington Post was so eager to clear Jack Evans of any wrong doings and why the same consideration and efforts weren't exhausted for the other councilmembers and mayor?

  • Poofy

    @ Rob Halligan:

    Why do you think anybody who calls this BS for what it is works for Evans? Is it not possible that a regular Joe or Jane can see this for what it is?

    If you really think it takes an Evans staffer to call BS on this and you, then you need more than PR 101.

  • http://www.HalliganProjects.com Rob Halligan

    @”Poofy” Awhhh, Evans’ city-paid Constituent Service staff is on damage control tonight. Are you missing a party on the Clarke Construction yacht? I’d have thought Patton Boggs’ staff would have gone to PR 201 – Crisis Management, Admit to It All Right Away. I’m surprised you are required to consult with them. Cuz hoping it would go away , not come up during ethics hearings, during the holiday party season, and when an election is coming up is definitely on that PR 201 syllabus. Tommy L must be miffed.

    I don’t think all the defenders are Evans staffers, but YOU happen to be using what I called PR 101 and PR 102 in the same post. Use your name and real email address and you’ll get a non-flippant reply.

  • Paul Miers

    His hermetic paranoia will never allow him to believe this, but hey Rob Halligan: here's a(nother) person who has nothing to do with Evans staff who thinks your tits are showing as they get harder and harder over something that just ain't that huge a deal. It's not what I consider ideal in my Councilman, and no affection for Evans here either. But he's got one thing going for him, it is the unhinged (and largely idle) clique that can't get enough of hating on the guy. Elizabeth Elliott, Rob Halligan, David Malloff, the Hanrahans, that library gadfly lady and a few other winners. For those unfamiliar with this area over here, we're talking like if you took a NIMBY and put them on dirty crank. They are some amped up crankies.

    Oh well enjoy your moment in the sun there. Wasn't it Rob Halligan who wrote just a few months ago on the neighborhood Yahoo forum he runs that this one recusal thing of Evans's was worse than all the other scandals in the city going on right now? All of them, together, then worse than that? Boooo! I've seen kids costumes scarier than that logic.

    That tells you all you need to know about what all this is going to be like until election day is thankfully over and done.

  • Isn’t It Obvious

    Just to address the differing perspectives on the "appearance" statement; and the claim of whether in fact Jack recused himself: Jack is an attorney first (before becoming a Councilmember) and thus ethically is bond to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Second, to not disclose the information and allow a uninterested party to investigate and determine whether he should or should disclose did not happen. Jack didn't disclose the possible conflict of interest and then others where left to make a determination after the fact. Third, simply because Jack claims to have recused himself from the vote on the issue does not mean that Jack did not lobby is other council colleagues to vote for the measure. And, lastly, it just does not meet the smell test; it smells funny. So, if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it is a duck.

  • Isn’t It Obvious

    Correction:

    Just to address the differing perspectives on the "appearance" statement; and the claim of whether in fact Jack recused himself: Jack is an attorney first (before becoming a Councilmember) and thus ethically is bond to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Second, to not disclose the information and allow a uninterested party to investigate and determine whether he should or should not disclose did not happen. Jack didn't disclose the possible conflict of interest until after the fact and then others where left to make a determination after the fact. Third, simply because Jack claims to have recused himself from the vote on the issue does not mean that Jack did not lobby is other council colleagues to vote for the measure. And, lastly, it just does not meet the smell test; it smells funny. So, if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it is a duck.

  • Poofy

    @ Rob Halligan:

    Handed your ass to you so many times today - where is the popcorn?!? Haaaa haaa haaaa!

  • Poofy

    "your tits are showing as they get harder and harder over something that just ain't that huge a deal."

    ah-haaaa-haaa! halligan's tits are showing! and i always thought that boner for evans that he has been walking around with for the past 20 years was real!

  • OllieSeymore

    Jack Evans is a crook....plain and simple! Ward 2, do us a favor and vote his a-- out in April.

    @ Tony....thanks for telling the truth of the matter!

  • PLEASE HELPUS

    Evans been stealing for 20 years so can he get put out of office as well...he is just as unethical!

  • http://www.HalliganProjects.com Rob Halligan

    @Paul Miers
    Thank you for your reasoned (attributed, and rude) attack. Yes, I do think the $200 million of potential corruption on this one deal is more important than all the other scandals that add up to about $1 million in alleged corruption. Thus the name of the blog – Steal a Little and You Go to Jail; Steal a Lot and They Make You King. Yes, some Evans detractors may come off as unhinged; that is largely (in my opinion) because they can’t understand why people put up with our government. You don’t come very too well yourself - the way you attack me. (You got PR 101 and PR 102 down pat!)

    Considering that 35% of Ward 2 voters voted against Evans 3 years ago. (And I do mean against because very few were [in my opinion] actually voting for the other candidate on the ballot and most of whom didn’t likely didn’t know who the other candidate was). Secondly, a low percentage of financial contributors to Evans’ election are from Ward 2; of the approximately $600,000 in contributions to his last campaign, I’d estimate 5% came from his Ward. Anyone can see all legitimate campaign contributions on the Office of Campaign Finance web site. Given those two facts, I do not believe those who you call unhinged are a small vocal people within or beside a huge group and most of those pulling for Evans are paid.

  • Anonymous

    "@Paul Miers -- Thank you for your reasoned (attributed, and rude) attack."

    Bwhahaha.

    Rude, yes. Attributed, I don't think so.

    Sounds way-y-yy-y too much like all the other bought and paid for Evans sockpuppets that spend "their" time trolling the comments section of the local blogs.

  • http://www.HalliganProjects.com Rob Halligan

    Well, I thought I'd give the benefit of the doubt...

  • Paul Miers

    Nice attempt at spin there, Rob Halligan. I didn't claim that every person who ever voted against Jack Evans lost their grip. (Why would I incriminate myself like that?) I said you had, Rob Halligan, and the people I listed by name. At least you've flown your freak flag freely, doubling down on the crazy idea that one recusal by Evans is worse than all the other shizzle happening in DC right now, combined. You're out of it.

    And if Rob Halligan is holding forth on the questions of etiquette, we're all fucked. Yes I said fucked, so someone call the Georgetown Dish. Anyone who's met Halligan for more than five minutes has heard him say "fuck 'em" about someone who dares to disagree with him. BTW there Miss Manners, your obsession with the negative contributions of anonymous persons never seems to get your nipples hard when the Dish does it!

    From exploratory Council candidate to Hanrahan's volunteer webmaster. Ouch. You're on a rocket ship to the chess tables in Dupont, son.

  • DCCommish

    Well let me just say that Jack Evans is right in his remarks. Rob Halligan is a "fucking idiot"! Nicely put Jack and I hope Jack does this more often. It's high time our politicians call these wacko jackos out on the bullshit they attmept to pump into the the media. Listen Halligan you're not a reporter, you're a hack on the net and that means you are about as reliable as Life-Jacket Made of Prayers.

  • Ward 2 Crew

    QUITE SIMPLE, JACK EVANS NEEDS TO GO!! I HOPE THE US ATTORNEY IS INVESTIGATING HIS CROOKED A$$! YES, THIS IS "THE WORSE COUNCIL" HE HAS EVER SERVED ON, AND HE IS A MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR TO IT BEING "THE WORSE COUNCIL EVER".

    Jack, you are a LIAR!!

    DC is in trouble.

  • Anonymous

    "Well, I thought I'd give the benefit of the doubt..."

    LOLOL... You of all people should know better than to engage unhinged, potty-mouthed zealots of any sort with too much time on their hands and an ax to grind.

    That is, of course, unless your aim is to smoke them out, if you get my drift.

  • Anonymous

    All this talk about Halligan is going to keep his tits hard for months and maybe years to come. This is his big moment! Congrats to you Rob - you are getting your ass handed to you on a list serve that you do not moderate.

    Bwaaahhh haaah hhhhaaaaa!

  • Honest Abe

    Recall Jack Evans! Unethical behavior at it's best. Where is David Catania & Mary Chey on this one? Race politics are alive and well at the Wilson building.

  • RealDC

    Yes, where is Mary Cheh on this one? What, speak up! Where is Cantania's comments on this unethical behavior? That is why this council is a joke. Barry gets censored and stripped of his chair. Thomas was asked to resign and the WP calls him out every chance they get on taking $300k. Now the slimest council member ever works for the firm that represents the developer/financier of the biggest hotel ever in the city, where the city put up $272 million and he plays the flim flam man in the deal and all is quiet?? Can we look at all of Evans's deals...Conv Center, Baseball Stad, etc.. as a matter of fact bring Allen Lew's ass in and ask why he is always over budget on his projects??

    THE WHITE CROOKS GET A PASS BUT THE BLACK CROOKS GOT TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE!!

    One city will be true when all crooked council members will be held accountable.

  • Laughing

    I'm a Ward 2 resident and I must say that things are really nice and swank in the neighborhood. However, as a resident of both Wards 1 and 2 for more than quarter century combined, I must say that not only Evans has to go but Graham as well. The problem though is convincing their new tax base that these two are doing a bad job in lots of areas. The new tax base doesn't see it as such, particularly when they are being spoiled with amenities and the "good" things the city is building for them all the time. These guys Evans and Graham are looked upon as demigods to the masses over here. We're talking about a tax base that purchases Perrier water, Burberry vests, Coach, Gucci and Louis V. collars for their pooches. They have no sense of what's wrong; what is actually affecting the "others." This is the reason these two scumbags will remain. As far as minorities in the neighborhood I would have to point to those working at Whole Foods – these are the blacks who are represented by more than likely Marion Barry and Yvette Alexander, that is if they are DC residents. It is a true shame to see them in these positions of service to this demographic, just like the movie, The Help. Time is turning back faster than you can blink. The irony is that their wages cannot afford them to live in an area where they are service workers as once before. You can thank Jack and Jill for that (I meant Jim).

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