Loose Lips

More Credit Card Troubles For Kwame Brown’s Family

More financial troubles for D.C. Council Chairman Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown: His wife Marcia Brown is being sued for allegedly not paying more than $15,000 in credit card debt.

Ordinarily, LL wouldn't be interested in the personal finances of a public official's wife. But Brown's family's financial troubles rise to the level of news because they were a key factor in the 2010 chairman's race–and, back then, Brown himself made clear that it was a family issue. In the midst of that contest, news broke that Brown was being sued for failing to repay more than $50,000 he owed to three different credit cards. When NBC4's Tom Sherwood first reported the story of Brown's unpaid debts, Brown invoked his wife (even though the credit cards were in his name): He told Sherwood that he and his wife were "'living beyond our means." Similarly, Brown told the Washington Post that the debt came from everyday family purchases "such as violin lessons and after-school care for his two children."

"We continued to spend, and we overspent," Brown told the Post, when it reported that Brown's debt problems had been compounded by his purchase of a 38-foot powerboat named "Bulletproof." "We were spending like we had no kids, and we had two [kids and] one income." Brown told reporters that he'd made arrangements to pay off his debts and that he and his wife were living on a "very disciplined budget."

"This won't happen again," Brown told Sherwood in July 2010.

Brown was sued by a fourth credit card company in October of that year. He's since settled all four lawsuits; court records indicate he's repaid those debts.

But last month, Marcia Brown was sued by American Express for $15,647.79 for what the credit card company says is an outstanding balance. Court records include Brown's last credit card bill, which was due March 5, 2012. The bill doesn't show any recent purchases.

As chairman, Brown makes $190,000 a year. His wife's salary is unknown. She works at a nonprofit.

Brown's office declined to comment for this story. His chief of staff, Megan Vahey, objected to LL writing this story, saying it was the private matter. Vahey said Brown's office will issue a statement on the lawsuit, but not to Washington City Paper. She said the statement will come out just as soon as this story is published. LL will update when the statement's out.

UPDATE: Brown's office just issued this statement from the chairman:

"As an elected official, my life is an open book and is subject to examination and critique in a public forum. However, my family’s private matters are just that, private. I am deeply disappointed and concerned that the Washington City Paper has chosen to attack my wife in an effort to disparage me.

The institution of journalism has long been a bastion of impartiality and truth. Reporting, such as this, diminishes the reputation of this publication. It is my hope that in the future, this paper will honor the rights of all private citizens."

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • @SamuelMoore

    Well done, Alan! Well done, WCP!

  • http://twitter.com/nathanempsall Nathan E.

    Wow, talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. Vahey is allowing her bitter feelings towards WCP to prevent her from putting her statement in front of the only voters who know about the scandal. A good PR flack would know to keep her focus on a reporters' audience, not on the actual reporter. Oh, well, her - and her boss's - loss.

  • Wrack

    This just in, Malia Obama got a demerit at school today. Shame on the President.

  • DcNative

    Are u serious? When did Chairman Brown's wife become a public official? I don't see the rationale for reporting on his wife's financial records.

    So this is newsworthy, but Mike Debonis of the Wash Post and his inside man, oops meant to write his inside girlfriend, weren't worthy of you inking their story?

    Black folk in DC better wake-up and get their own media source, if not, DC's mainstream media will have all of us believing that Blacks can jump and do the go-go swing, but definitely not hold public office, not even at the ANC level.

  • cutthecrap

    @DCNative, you better point that finger at your own native Washingtonians. We have several Black/African American media sources but you native SOB's don't use them. Quit bitchin about the fact that you are a native. We have many capable and educated African Americans (Natives and Non-natives) living and working in DC that you f'in natives don't bother to elect. You'd rather give your vote to Jack Evans, David (bitch azz)Catania, or Phil Mendelson. Look what being a native brought us...Vince "punk azz" Gray. A little history lesson for you; Vince was born in Prince Georges County/Charles County...he's a Proctor...they marry their sisters and their cousins. He's not a native and you're not either. I bet your kin folks are from North Carolina like all the other Black folks in DC...lol!

  • Jeff

    Tell Chairman Kwame Brown, Sulaimon Brown was a private citizen when he signed off on attacking him,so what's this gibberish now about,"...honor the rights of all private citizens." Screw you Kwame, little fag.

  • itsjustamess

    @cutthecrap - I was born in DC but you're right, my kinfolk are from the Carolinas. You're also right, we don't patronize our media outlets. I do but many don't. You're right again, our elected natives are disappointing and embarrassing at every turn. I am ashamed of them. Cutthecrap, you're just absolutely right!

  • Drez

    At the end of the day, mismanagement and delinquency in Kwame Brown's house reflects poorly on Kwame Brown.
    Shame on him for hiding behind his wife's skirt. Or suit. I really don't care to know which.

  • Proctor

    Yes, but white nobility married their 1st cousins at the same time but you left that out of your history lesson.
    The Swanns Proctors and Briscoes are all long-time families from slave owners in PG and Charles County. Their Masters, the Dents and Browns, "bread" them just like Chicken George from Roots! Go to Aquasco, Md and see for yourself.

  • http://btolson1@verizonnet.com Susan

    You mean he has not stepped down yet? Oh maybe thats news for tomorrow-- Alan are you slipping?LOL

  • teamtango

    Being sued by creditors is not a private matter - it involes the judicial system supported by taxpapers.
    Elected officials, whose salaries are supported by taxpayers, and/or members of their household being sued by creditors is news.

  • Lover Girl

    Has Kwame Brown paid back the money he owes to the DC taxpayers for his fully load navigators???

  • um hummm

    @ctc #5: We 'f'in natives' and our ancestors, regardless of where they were born, have been paying taxes and other dues even as we benefitted from living in The Nation's Capital without the rights of other US Citizens. You chose to migrate to our home town. Can we get a little credit for being here first and helping to make it so you wanted to move here?

    And unless you are of Native American descent, you and your f'in ancestors came from some place else too.

  • LOL

    I can go either way on this. yes she isn't a public official. But, the family was living beyond their means. So this is slippery but i can see how it could be useful knowledge.

    [because some people put bills in the names of their wives and children]

  • Cat Like

    I do think she should be off limits. He is fair game.

  • DcNative

    @ cutthecrap,

    You need to have someone read you my comment, I didn't write one word that can be construed as me "bitchin" about being a DC Native. DcNative is my handle, and I'm damn proud to be a DC native--several generations deep!

    FYI, you couldn't pay me to vote for any of the fake ass liberals you mentioned. And, in reference to DC's Black media, you know as well as I do they dance to the tune of their major advertisers and, therefore will not write about mainstream media's relentless effort to change the hue of DC politics. There is no way in hell you can tell me only the Black politicians got some junk in their truck. Aesop said, they hang the petty thieves and elect the great ones to office,and that includes the White ones too.

    In reference to us--"DC Natives"-- not voting for educated, qualified Black candidates, you need to thank the media for excluding folks like Leo Alexander who got no respect or coverage from our mainstream media (and not that much for the Black media). But, when Josh Lopez,a child with no credentials, decided to run, the media kept his name front and center. The Wash Post and this rag wrote at least an article a day about Lopez the so-called wonder boy.

    FYI, I don't care if Vincent Gray is or isn't a native Washingtonian, but I'm very aware of the media's bias and its lopsided reporting when it comes to DC's Black elected officials.

  • Proctor

    Did Josh Lopez ever pay on the thousands of dollars in fines OCF levied,thanks to Dorothy Brazile, the write-in fenty campaign of 2010? Nope

    Could have been tried as a misdemeaner too!

  • EZG1

    It's reassuring to know that this lump of pond scum is overseeing the DC budget when it appears that he is incompetent at managing his personnel fiances!

  • QueDawg

    What a mess this city has turned into; faints at my computer.

  • RealDC

    Enough Kwame, just resign. Huh, what did you say Jack Evans? " This is the worst council, ever!"

    Is Bowser's staffer still working and collecting unemployment? Come out Ms. Ethics and tell us that you got an employee collecting 2 checks from DC at the same time. Let me get this straight, Gray is responsible for the people around him and their poor choices but Bowser is not? So collecting unemployment benefits while you are working for Bowser is not fraud but a personnel matter. What was that Jack Evans, "This is the worst council, ever!"

  • Throw The Book

    Didn't that guy Orange have a piece out during the At-Large race about Kwame and how bad he is with spending. Then Kwame brought exposure by putting his wife in the story as to why their spending habits are out of control.

    The proof is in the pudding, I don't understand why people dont accept that he is sketchy.

  • Cap City Records Panhandler

    On the playground at Bancroft they used to dig in Kwame's pockets... he's now making up for it by faux flexing. He is pathetic and the epitome of a scrub.

  • smash44

    What in God's name is the matter with these people. He friggin' makes $190,000 a GD year and can't live within his means. You are a liar and a cheater. You knew exactly what you were doing. How could a person be so pathetically stupid ignorant and dumb as to rack up the much in credit card bills? Perhaps it's his race's idea of entitlement that they don't have to pay their bills.

  • Throw The Book

    @smash44 who is dumber? Kwame or those who voted for him knowing that he had financial issues? lol sounds like he is the smarter one here. You all voted for him so that he could spend beyond his means. Ahhhh the beauty of getting out the vote lol

  • Kwame

    I will say it slowly for those of you in the cheap seats...

    Kwames wifes debt, is his debt. If he can't stay abreast of his own personal financial issues, he certainly isn't to be trusted with the entire citys financial issues.

    The problem with Kwame is that he is way in over his head for the position he has, and despite all the issues with his personal debt and campaign finance legalities, AND BEING "FULLY LOADED", he STILL doesn't get it.

    You are the Council chair, with more budget authority over this town than anyone else and you have the money management skills of a 13 year old. Your wifes debt is YOUR debt. Just because you don't understand how it is relevant to you, doesn't mean that it isn't.

    Kwame, you are an embarrasment, just like most of your collegues and I will never forgive Mary Cheh for having gotten you elected. Thankfully, like Gray, that between your ridiculous record thus far and your ongoing federal investigation into how six figures of your campaign money ended up in your brothers checking account, you are a one termer.

    PS...I still haven't seen you write a check for your 2 "fully loaded" SUV's.

  • Sally

    They need to reconfigure the DC voting rights sign outside the Wilson Building into a Kwame Indictment Countdown Clock.

  • Jes sayin’

    The wives and especially the children of politicians should be off-limits to reporters unless they are involved in "matters of record," such as legal issues, police reports, etc;
    They deserve that privacy, especially the children who do not choose their parents, nor do they choose to be in the spotlight.

    Problem is this is a legal matter, and spouses are legally responsible for each others' debts. So, in this case, there's nothing morally, legally, or ethically wrong with City Paper reporting on this story.

    Marcia Brown's debt is Kwame Brown's debt. He/they are being sued by a creditor. That's news, and it's reportable under any journalistic standards.

  • Wait, What?

    @ Jes Sayin' and Kwame: Exactly. If Fully Loaded gets mad at this being in the news, he'll be even more upset about reports once Indictment Summer picks up again.

  • Wrack

    @Jes sayin' - Your review of the law is not quite accurate. Spouses are not legally responsible for all of each other's debts in the District. The District follows the common law rule that only certain expenditures for "necessities" are shared obligations. If, for example, Marcia's debt consists of a bunch of jewelry for herself, Kwame would not be responsible for it. If she managed to rack up the debt by buying clothes and food for their children, then yes, the debt is common to them both.

  • 16th Street Heights

    Kwame Brown has been a big disappointment. Being the Chairman of the D.C. Council is too much for this guy to handle. He's not that intelligent to chair such an important committee.

  • cutthecrap


    several generations deep, but nothing to show for it...if you and others who claim to be "several generations deep" are so proud of your status why aren't you mofo's running things? Get a grip. Some of what you are saying is true. However, you and the rest of the DC Natives need to take some responsibility for the current state of the city. all the talk I hear from, but you are still relegated to a third class status. Quit fighting transplanted African Americans and wage war on the real enemy. Some of the stuff you DC Native say to other blacks you would never say to Mary Cheh, Jack Evans, Tommy Wells, David Catania, Jim Graham, or Phil Mendelson. The only African American non native that you handkerchief heads accept is Marion Barry. Accept your part in the regentrification of DC.

  • Black Working Class

    @DCNative, There is definitely a white washing of DC politics and we should support more black news outlets BUT Kwame Brown has no interest in the black community and this is seen in the fact that he buys "private violin lessons" and a "powerboat" when community he lives in is forced into poverty and has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. He has no empathy for our struggles and he and his wife are fair game!

    He was living "beyond his means" on more than 200k a year while median family income for ward 8 is about 44k. If you want to talk about race, Kwame has a white chief of staff fresh out of UDC Law, he could have went across the street to Howard Law but he wants to appeal to white people.

    What we need is black community to be organized and through this organization run candidates who have the interest of the black working class not Kwame Brown and Vincent Gray who could careless about black people.

  • George52

    Bunch of crap. Shut up and pay your bills like everyone else You don't like the heat, get the hell out of the kitchen. Grow up, for crying out loud.

  • Go-Go

    Kwame is one of the most unimpressive individuals that I have ever met. What you see, is what you get-------

  • oboe

    Shorter Brown:

    Kwame last year: "We're in debt because my wife was spending money hand over fist! But now we've got it under control, and everything's fine."

    LL: "Hey, Kwame! Your wife's racked up another $15k in credit card debt, and she's being sued again."

    Kwame This Year: "How DARE YOU bring my WIFE into this!!"

    Hilarious...but in a sad way.

  • Matt Jones

    Also consider that Kwame's missmanagement of his finances makes him a prime target for bribes. Not saying that he would accept them, but if you like to spend money and are in debt up to your eyeballs, someone's bribe offer could be too tempting. It's a trust issue. That's why people with security clearances in this area aren't allowed to be incredibly indebted. It creates a situation where they might be tempted to sell U.S. secrets for money.

  • Annonny

    Let's hope this gets more Washingtonians to pay attention to the second-rate scum we've elected for the DC Council. Elected public officials should be models for integrity and thrift - in DC we get models for self-serving behavior, graft, and spendthrift attitudes.

    Chairman Fully Loaded I cannot wait until you lose your next election. Maybe then we can finally get somebody who's competent running the council.

  • oboe

    Let's hope this gets more Washingtonians to pay attention to the second-rate scum we've elected for the DC Council.

    If I remember correctly, the last time around Brown was running against Vince Orange. So it was a question of whether you wanted to vote for pond-scum or soap-scum.

  • Typical DC BS

    @oboe: LOL

  • KeepinItReal

    Folks, get a life. You make yourselves look lonley and pathetic.

  • 5thGenDCNatv

    Damn glad to say I did not vote for Mr. Fully Loaded and told him so to his face. He's an embarrassing joke much like the moronic mayor before him, the buffoonish school's chancellor, the current mayor and the bulk (if not all) of the city council. All of them need to go. Its time for term limits my fellow citizens.

    Josh Lopez <<<--- empty, frat-brother-coattail-riding, suit

  • http://washingtoncitypaper.com southeast lady

    To WRACK: all politicians children are off-limits. You may have been just kidding, but all politicians children are off-limits. OK

  • http://washingtoncitypaper.com southeast lady

    Matt Jones. True on that, even though it may be a "personal" matter, it can subject a public matter into a personal matter.

  • Wait, What?

    Alan, next time you speak with Kwame, could you ask whether he has repaid the city for the Navigator yet, or if that is yet another bill he isn't going to pay...

  • What does race have to do with this?

    Dude can't manage his money (his wife's money is his money and vice versa). If you can't manage your own money, you shouldn't hold elected office. Period. No race card necessary in this discussion.

  • Sweep Your Own Porch

    It is quite unfortunate that most of the commentary is from people who have never had a mistep, never paid a bill late or had their lives stripped bear for the world to see. That just about makes you perfect. NOT! To let you tell it you are the MORAL and ETHICAL Authority on everything that is wrong with this family when you need to look in the mirror. No one is infallible (that includes YOU)and while mistakes were made, NO question about it, they should get the same opportunity to cure their problems w/o your diatribe as you have to cure your OWN! And to those blemish free people, just keep living!

  • http://www.ucclove.org Thelma Owens

    To thine ownself be true. No matter what others say your struggles are rich with victory. Stay focused Kwame. You and your wife will come out better people. You are like the prodigal son. Call for the one and only true Father.
    He will hear and see you.

  • rick

    @blackworkinglclass-you got it exactly right. that's the only way to take DC back from the joggers, "the 16th Street Heighters" (WTH It was Columbia Heights last time I lived there), and the general pushy groups that have infiltrated our once culturally rich city. Only a grassroots campaign will do it. Continue to focus on schools, arts programs, youth programs. The joggers raising their dogs won't get past their own self-involved generation. These people and their skewed values may be the majority in DC but are fast becoming the minority in America and have been a minority in the world. Let's get back to our roots and stop adopting their values.

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