Loose Lips

Aides Puzzled by $100,000 Payout to Gray’s Part-Time Campaign Treasurer

Considering how much attention the finances of Mayor Vince Gray's 2010 campaign have been getting (both from the media and, apparently, federal investigators), it's remarkable how little we've heard about the bid's presumed head bean counter, treasurer Betty Brown.

What's also remarkable? Records show she was paid more than $100,000 to work on the campaign, which looks like more than anyone else except top aide Adam Rubinson made. And what, exactly, she did to earn that big payday isn't entirely clear to other veterans of the effort.

LL has been unable to reach Brown for comment and has had a hard time finding anyone involved in D.C. politics—outside of Gray's campaign—who has heard of her. Asked today how he knows Brown, Gray said simply that she's "a neighbor."

Brown kept a low profile on the Gray campaign as well, according to several former aides LL spoke with.

"She seemed to have a fairly passive role," says one, who like the others LL talked to spoke only on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing federal investigation.

Aides say Thomas Gore, a longtime friend of the mayor's, did most of the treasurer-type work.

"Day to day, Thomas, was the guy to go to," says one former aide. A fundraiser for Gray says Brown was almost never at any meetings of the campaign's finance committee. Other aides says Brown, who used to work at Howard University's dental school*, would come to campaign offices at night on a semi-regular basis.

But that hands off approach didn't stop Brown from getting paid. Her cut, campaign records show, came to $106,178. That includes a $50,000 payment on the day of the primary, one of the biggest single payments made by the campaign. (That is, if you don't count whatever went on with the alleged "shadow campaign.") Brown's generous take has former aides scratching their heads, saying her compensation far outstripped her output. Of the half dozen former campaign aides LL spoke with, each and every one of them expressed surprise at how much Brown made. Gore, campaign records show, made $40,000.

Also puzzling is how the payments to Brown were classified. The bulk of the payments, including the $50,000 primary day payout, classify the purpose of the payment as "polling/mailing list." That's a headscratcher, because aides say Brown did neither polling or mailing list work, and campaign records show that the Gray campaign paid the organizations that did polling and provided mailing lists directly.

Just another mystery hiding in plain sight in the campaign finance filings!

*Correction. The original article said Brown was currently employed at Howard University. This information was based on Howard's website, which as of the date of this correction, May 24, 2012, lists Brown as a "coordinator/fiscal analyst" at the school. But a spokesman for the university says Brown no longer works at Howard and her last day of employment was August 23, 2011.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

Comments

  1. Cap City Records Panhandler
    #1

    Nice work and digging.

  2. #2

    Anyone got enough exceed Advil to last me through 2014?

  3. #3

    ^ comment mangled by spellcheck.

  4. #4

    Now this does sound suspicious.

    I'm waiting on the next non-native Washingtonian to run for Mayor.

  5. #5

    Tick tick tick ...

  6. #6

    HA HA HA HA! ONE CITAAY, baby.

    Which staff member will be blamed for this - while Vince feigns ignorance and "takes full responsibility".

    One City, multiple indictments (in the offing)?

  7. #7

    Hurry up with the indictments, already!

  8. #8

    unprecedented! hee hee

  9. #9

    Maybe Ms. Brown was providing "other services" to Mayor Gray.

  10. #10

    who thinks the feds are waiting til after april 4th for a reason?

  11. #11

    Just a neighbor? Leadership? Character? Integrity? Accountability? Not so much.

  12. #12

    Come on!!! Did she report it on her income taxes or not? Can we put this one to bed??

  13. #13

    I am soooooo embarassed by this den of thieves. As a native Washingtonian, I'm tired of this foolishness & lack of accountability & any sense of personal responsibility.

  14. #14

    WOW - I wonder what David Dzenio got paid...poor thing was running around there like a chicken with his head cut off except ALL the credit went to Adam Rubinson, you know the Golden ..., who did nothing literally...isn't that what those Golden .... do? Sit back and let others toil the fields while they do nothing and receive all the credit. Poor David and poor a lot of other people too whose eyebrows beaded with perspiration for nothing in return

  15. #15

    Now, some months after this article was published, nice work for investigative journalism, it's quite clear why this gal was paid so much.

    What I'm mystified by is HOW DOES ADAM RUBINSON MAINTAIN PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY (to use an Oly North term)when such a shadow campaign has been going on with so much spending. Wouldn't Mr. Rubinson have to ask himself: Who's paying all these people? Who's buying all these sign's etc? I bet he had some of those signs up in his own yard and neighbors too. Wasn't this guy some sort of auditor for Deloitte & Toush. Really???

    Frankly, I think it' much easier for Mayor Gray to deny such obvious detail in a heated election. For the actual manager to do makes him look incompetent or criminal--maybe a combination of both. This isn't an accusation just a question.

  16. #16

    I have to agree with J.B. that Mr. Rubinson is the intersection of all these players and deals that went South. He was the top paid staff giving him the highest responsibility. He introduce Mr. Reubin Charles to Mayor Gray. Mayor Gray would likely assume Mr. Rubinson vetted him first. That's what campaign managers do. Or, they get somebody else to pick up the bag o'money.

    In other interviews Adam Rubinson said he'd be "shocked" if Mayor Gray got indicted. Of course he has to say that. He can't say as a lawyer and past employee of a a big three auditing firm "I saw that coming" eg: I saw the train of people leaving my office to walk across the street and launder money at the 7-11.

    I only say this in the public interest as this needs to come to light before the election as a "do-over" will be very costly to the beleagered taxpayer and costly to the city's beleagered reputation.

  17. #17

    I have to agree with J.B. that Mr. Rubinson is the intersection of these (the ones we know about) players and shadow deals that went South. He was the top paid staff giving him the highest responsibility. He introduced Mr. Reubin Charles to Mayor Gray. Mayor Gray would likely assume Mr. Rubinson vetted him first. That's what campaign managers do. Or, they get somebody else to pick up the bag o'money. Either way, they don't let their charges hanging the way Adam Rubinson did to Vincent Gray.

    In other interviews Mr. Rubinson said he'd be "shocked" if Mayor Gray got indicted. Of course he has to say that. He can't say as a lawyer and past employee of a a big three auditing firm "I saw that coming" eg: I saw the train of people leaving my office to walk across the street and launder money at the 7-11. After all, it was approaching a million dollars in small amounts. That 7-11 must have been really busy with fellow campaign staffers.

    I only say this in the public interest as this needs to come to light before the election as a "do-over" will be very costly to the beleagered taxpayer and costly to the city's beleagered reputation.

  18. #18

    As a belegered DC and federal taxpayer, how long do we have to wait for indictments? Of course I know the Districk is a colony of the USGovernment. Hence one should expect a reptilian and tepid response. Nonetheless, Mayor Gray and his lackey Adam Rubinson, probably the architect of the whole deal, need to be served and serve time for any future corrupt Politicians (I know that's redundant) to take such investigations seriously. Come on Mr Prosecuted--time to get busy.

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