Loose Lips

Michael Brown says Whole Lotta Possible Law Breaking Going On at Housing Department

At-large Councilmember Michael A. Brown, who has oversight of the D.C. Council's housing committee, says he's asking the District attorney general and inspector general to investigate "unethical behavior and possible criminal malfeasance and collusion between contractors and current and former employees of the Department of Housing and Community Development."

Brown says his office has been probing DHCD since last year, when it first began looking into the department's role in granting a $399,000* loan to the anti-youth violence group Peacoholics to buy a 13-unit apartment building in Congress Heights (which currently sits empty).  During the course of that probe, Brown says his office has found evidence of "the brazen abuse of authority from multiple employees at the agency to financially enrich themselves and outside entities." Brown says he believes this evidence "has prompted administrative action against one high level DHCD employee yesterday" with more to follow.

That's about all the level of detail we have right now. Says Brown, in a news release: "Property records show that certain individuals and entities have [repeatedly] appeared in several questionable sales, purchases and land transfers," including the Congress Heights apartment building.

Peaceoholics' Jauhar Abraham, who is running for the Ward 8 Council seat, says he didn't do anything wrong on the Congress Heights deal and he didn't witness any type of wrongdoing by DHCD employees on that transaction either.

LL will update as more information becomes available. Here's Brown's news release:

I am deeply concerned by evidence that has been uncovered pointing to unethical behavior and possible criminal malfeasance and collusion between contractors and current and former employees of the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

Through my role as the Chair of the Council's Committee on Housing and Workforce Development, on Monday July 12, 2010, I convened a public oversight roundtable on the "Peaceoholics Construction Project at 1300 Congress St. SE". This roundtable was held to determine the circumstances that led the previous administration to award the Peaceoholics more than $4.4 million to acquire and rehabilitate several properties including the Congress Street site. The information provided from the roundtable left many questions unanswered, especially in relation to entities with little or no housing experience receiving these District housing funds. Despite additional inquires; these unanswered questions were never adequately addressed by the previous leadership of DHCD.

More recently, the current DHCD leadership has become a willing partner, and in cooperation with recommendations from my office, has instituted more stringent quality controls in the awarding of funds. Also, at my request, the DHCD has conducted new reviews of existing projects that are currently being funded. This review has uncovered evidence, we expect, will show the brazen abuse of authority from multiple employees at the agency to financially enrich themselves and outside entities. We believe this investigation has prompted administrative action against one high level DHCD employee yesterday and we expect additional personal actions to follow.

This alleged malfeasance by District government employees and the repeated instances of certain outside individuals and entities have surfaced on numerous property records dealing with land transfers. Property records show that certain individuals and entities have repeated appeared in several questionable sales, purchases and land transfers, including the 1300 Congress St. SE property.


* This post has been updated to fix an error. According to Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham, the cost to purchase the Congress Heights apartments was $399,000.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery


  • Truth hurts

    "The information provided left many unanswered questions, particularly with respect to entities with little or no housing experience receiving housing funds."

    Substitute the word "lottery" for "housing" and he would be paraphrasing the findings of the IG with respect to the lotto contract award, which he seems to see as not a problem.

    I'm all for investigating wrongdoing, but the timing of this press release is hilarious coming on the heals of numerous media reports re his role in the lotto debacle.

  • Holdadice

    @Th: You're a reasonable person for the most part. So what did you say about the special investigation which gave the Fenty posse a pass on their shenanigans? I was very surprised by those findings, but I accepted them and let it go.

    I do agree, however, that the timing is curious. I certainly hope CM Brown knows what he's doing. We all know what happened to the last CM with Committee oversight.

  • seDCdude

    Tis da season for sacrificial lambs to now be sacrificed......this timing ain't coincidental @ Holdaice, its protect your neck hour and if credence serves well there will be quite a few NOTABLE, yet pee on level under bus tossings!

    Hence peaceaholics who hadn't a clue of which who, how and why they were in bed with, until now!

    The obvious shall now become OBVIOUS, interesting winds blowing in DC and not the usual Blue Plains kind neither, yet just as stinky!

  • Holdadice

    @seDCdude: SAY WHAAATTTT??

  • Jes sayin’

    Michael "Hoops" Brown says, "look over there!"

    Jes' sayin'

  • Drez

    I'm with jes' sayin' on this one.
    It's like a pyromaniac telling you if you look real hard you'll see smoke... somewhere else.

  • LOL

    meh. It's Michael Brown. You expect deep, global thinking?

  • Brian

    this is finally coming to the forefront. I wonder which DHCD employee is getting investigated?????

    The oversight meeting that Brown is referring to occurred in 2010. I was there, and it was hilarious to recall Harry Thomas grilling Abraham and Moten on the money when he was pocketing hundreds of thousands himself.

    so sick of hearing about millions of tax dollars being burned up on programs that have no oversight or results. This city government has been corrupt for so long, I'm sure their findings will continue to shame this city.

  • BiteMe

    This is all bad, I cannot understand why these politicians figured non-profits and programs for the youth would turn into a corrupted cash cow smh.
    In the words of MJ "All I gotta say is, they don't really care about us".

  • Sally

    A Saturday news release from this clown? Hmm...that can mean one of two things:

    1) He's got his own douchiness he's trying to divert attention from (cough*lottery*cough) or

    2) He knows this story will pop in the media Monday and he's trying to claim credit for it to show how he's all for good gov't (cough*lottery*cough).

  • Drez

    ^ agree w/Sally.

  • NE John

    also agree with Sally

    This guy is dirty. I can feel it in my bones

  • R

    I know this has nothing to do with the topic, but I wanted to reach a lot of people to keep them informed. DCPS is starting their out-of-boundary lottery application process today. However, I found it strange that DCPS is asking for household income amounts to apply to an out of boundary school. A family's income has NOTHING to do with enrolling in a free public-school system. I thought the lottery was random, and I am concerned that there is a bias of those parents with more income. Check it out for yourself. http://www.dcps.dc.gov.

  • Mr. Remember

    NE John, beware I think Mike like people to feel his bone too.

  • RealDC

    Looks like CM Brown is damned if he says something and damned if he does not. Thats a credibility issue.....a bad issue for a politician.

  • City Dude

    Every CM has their Kingdom of oversight..No other CM is ever present on any committee hearings..it is like 'You steal from your kingdom and I will steal from mine'..These clowns should not be paid their full salaries as none of them attend any committee hearings except where they are Chairman!! It is a deal between Chairman of the committee and Director of department with a share for the mayor..

  • NE John

    My boner can predict the weather too, lol

  • Honest Abe

    Ronald Moten, Sinclaire Skinner, Omar Karim, Adrian Fenty, throw all of them in jail!

  • Holdadice

    @HA: Do we have enough jail space if they get them all?
    Wellll...probably so....IF some of them call Mr. Machem ASAP. I would give out the number again, but some of those characters need to do a little jail time.......in separate facilities. Besides I'll bet they already have the number and started calling a while back. I notice we haven't heard from a few of the usual suspected perps lately. It is more than a sad day for Washington DC and our politicians, both past and present. Let's pray for them and our city.

  • Honest Abe


    Jack Johnson is in desperate need of some company while he's on a long vacation. Maybe the reason Fenty is moving to the islands is because he smells something bad coming down the pipe and is looking to get the hell out of dodge.

  • Holdadice


  • DCDem

    Is Michael Brown a native Washingtonian?