Loose Lips

Attention on Che

Yesterday, former D.C. Council Chairman Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown stressed to his colleagues in a private meeting that the wrongdoing that led to his resignation was of a private nature, unrelated to his public life, according to several councilmembers present.

Yeah, maybe not so much. Today Brown was charged with a misdemeanor offense related to his 2008 re-election campaign. It was the  investigation into that campaign, remember, that led federal authorities to the bank charge fraud that Brown will almost certainly plead guilty to tomorrow.

The new charge brings Brown's brother, Che Brown, front and center into the media spotlight and raises questions about whether he'll soon be facing charges of his own. The charge filed today says Kwame allowed Che to open a "side account" and use that account to make campaign cash expenditures higher than the $50 legal limit. The court records don't name Che, but we know from the Office of Campaign Finance that it's him.

The lawyer for Che, who runs a sales coaching firm,  didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

If he is charged, the big question is whether Che will face something as minor as Kwame's charge or something more serious. An OCF audit found that Che made more than $240,000 off Kwame's campaign. The money came via a third-party contractor, who would often make payments to Che's firm the same day the contractor received money from the campaign. The setup with the contractor meant the campaign didn't have to disclose the payments to his brother, which had become an issue for Brown during his first campaign in 2004. On its face, none of that is illegal. But we don't yet know what else may investigators may have found.

Che was also a big part of Kwame's 2010 race for chairman, during which he was very involved in campaign finance matters, according to a former campaign worker. Che would pick up checks from donors, give checks to vendors, help with fundraisers, and deal with issues arising from the Office of Campaign Finance, the former aide says.

Also worth noting: Che pleaded guilty in 1995 to a federal charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Court records say Brown used his position as a customer service manager at Citibank "to fraudulently open bank accounts and obtain credit cards." He used part of the nearly $30,000 that he took in through that trick to buy a 1990 Toyota Celica. Prosecutors note that "when first approached by investigative agents ... [Brown] promptly confessed to his full role in the fraud" and that of his co-conspirator. As a result, Brown was able to avoid prison time.

Video via Partners in Learning

  • Truth hurts

    Machen will bide his time on Che. When the hammer drops, I'm betting on felony charges.

  • JJ

    Harry Jaffe hit the nail on the head: The apples don't fall far from the Marion Barry tree of corruption/entitlement. My bet is Kwame agreed to the plea deal right around the Chuck Brown funeral. Would explain his whole "I am go-go" and "get over it" diatribe. He's clearly trying to set himself up as Marion Barry's successor in Ward 8 ("Hey, I thought you guys might like me -- I'm a felon too! And we all know felons will stick it to the man!"). In fact, I think he made an opaque reference to Barry's funeral at the Chuck Brown funeral too now that I think about it.

    Is anyone giving odds on a HTJ vs. Kwame Brown race for the Ward 8 CM spot in a few years? I might like to put money on that...

  • Angry BDC Voter

    A whole family of course, dwarfish, boorish, idiots! Marshall must be so proud. No wonder he was so offended when someone showed evidence of having beyond a 5th grade vocabulary. Somewhere David Howard must be dancing a joyous jig and former Mayor Williams is allowing himself a wry smile.!

    Jim Graham must go too!

  • noodlez

    ONE ONLY NEED TO LOOK AT THIS MOFO'S FOLLICALLY CHALLENGED DOME TO SEE HE REALLY NEEDS TO GET OVER HIMSELF.

    SLIM SHAVE THE SHIT OFF!
    IT IS NOT COMING BACK.
    TO CONTINUE TO TRY TO HOLD ON TO SAND UNDERWATER SHOWS THE LEVEL OF IGNORANCE THIS CLOWN HAVE.

    YO CHE 3 THINGS!
    1. FOLKS COMMIT CRIME ALL THE TIME BUT CRIMINALS ARE THE FOLKS WHO GET CAUGHT AND CONVICTED.
    2. DON'T SHIT WHERE YOU EAT.
    3. A BAMMA IN A SUIT IS STILL A BAMMA.

  • RealDC

    @noodlez- LMAO!

    I am lost for words on the Brown Crew, this is DC's own, tried and true Apple Dumpling Gang. This would be funny if it were not true.

  • Cap City Records Panhandler

    What a GUMP!

    Bigger gump than his scrub brother

  • Cap City Records Panhandler

    and this gump-ass yungin neck is all hacked up

    he must shave with an arrowhead that washed up on the banks of Old Man Anacostia River

  • Watchdog

    Hopefully, the U.S. Attorney will investigate the contracting process which doles out tens of millions of dollars in a single vote. A lot lesser contracts -- $100K or so -- provide some favored souls a good living for doing virtually nothing. Need an example? Look at the city's technology office, where folks have gone to prison for steering and stealing. Billions of dollars are at stake -- taxpayer and federal dollars and investors by buying the city's bonds.

    BTW, how about a story on what the city's bond rating status is today in the wake of these events and with Mayor Gray's tenure also in question?

  • candycane1

    Che,

    Your inter game:think about appearing before a judge

    Your outer game: look like you're sorry

    Action: Cry like a baby.

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