Loose Lips

VO Not Losing Quietly

Councilmember Phil Mendelson has the votes locked up to be named interim D.C. Council chairman tomorrow, according to pretty much every vote counter at the Wilson Building. And those same counts have Councilmember Michael Brown being named interim chairman pro tempore, the ceremonial No. 2 spot on the council. Ceremonial, that is, unless the elected chairman resigns—just ask acting Chairwoman Mary Cheh, the former chair pro tem. Cheh, meanwhile, has already circulated a resolution among her colleagues naming Mendo as chair and Brown as pro tem in advance of tomorrow's vote.

None of this is surprising or exciting news, as Mendo's been the favorite to win for months now. But Councilmember Vincent Orange appears determined to spice up things up. Orange has had his heart set on the chairman's seat—which he ran for in 2010—but now appears to have directed his efforts toward landing the pro tem spot instead. And he's not going to lose to Brown without a fight.

Here's a statement Orange sent out this afternoon, which Orange's office tried to recall by email a few minutes after it was sent:

Chairman Pro Tempore Mary Cheh has filed a resolution to elect the Acting-Chairman and the Acting-Chairman Pro tempore of the Council of the District of Columbia. She has proposed Councilmember Phil Mendelson as Acting-Chairman and Councilmember Michael Brown as Acting-Chairman Pro Tempore. I understand that Councilmember Mendelson supports this resolution.

I cannot in good conscience support this resolution. In my view, this resolution is not in the best interest of neither the Council of the District of Columbia nor the citizens we represent.

The reputation of the Council of the District of Columbia has been severely damaged. In light of Colbert King’s June 9, 2012 article entitled “We’re to blame for the D.C. Council mess”, I cannot go forward with this resolution.

At the very least, the proposed resolution must be bifurcated and a roll call vote taken on the respective acting positions.

Is the Council ready to clean up this mess?

King's column reminded readers that Brown has had tax problems and pleaded guilty in 1997 to a federal charge related to straw campaign donations. It's that info LL presumes Orange is referring to, though Orange didn't immediately return a call or an email seeking comment. Brown's office declined to respond to Orange's statement.

It wasn't that long ago that Orange was calling Brown an "outstanding" councilmember. Funny how things change.

The statement was released after Orange met with Mendelson today in a pow wow brokered by Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans so the two could hash things out. Orange and Mendelson apparently don't regularly talk to one another, except from the council dais, where they have been sniping at each other for months. Mendo called Orange an "embarrassment" for his strong support of gas station magnate Joe Mamo. Orange recently referred to Mendelson as a coward when the pair crossed swords over a plan being pushed by taxi mogul Jerry Schaeffer (Mamo's mentor, btw) to institute a taxi medallion system. LL's still trying to get word of whether Mendo and VO hugged it out at the end of the meeting and will update as needed.

UPDATE: VO sends this additional statement:

In the best interest of the Council of the District of Columbia and the citizens we represent I've discussed with CM Mendelson the opportunity to bring us together. It is up to CM Mendelson to assist in securing an unanimous vote for his leadership and to allow two hardworking Democrats the ability to come together, and lead our legislative body at a time and in a climate such as this.

Unnecessary criticism and attacks on a very severely wounded legislative body should be avoided at all cost. Leadership demands the right course of action now while we continue to incur the eye of the storm. For these reasons, I have moved from my position and have requested CM Mendelson to move from his position to achieve harmony between Democrats.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Sick of slick

    And THAT once again is why VO needs to go.

  • dcgovcorruption

    I must agree with VO concerning Councilmember Brown who would sell anything to the highest law firm bidder.

  • Drez

    "... is not in the best interest of neither the Council of the District of Columbia nor the citizens..."
    Probably recalled for editing.

  • Truth hurts

    Not a big fan of Brown. But I'm less impressed by Orange. He engaged in campaign financing practices similar, but not as widespread, as those that will lead to Gray's indictment. It wouldn't surprise me if VO and/or his peeps eventually are taken down byMachen.

  • Bla, bla

    Bla, bla, bla, Pepco this, Pepco that, Pepco stock here, Pepco stock there, bla, bla, bla

  • stephon

    Handle your business sir. It is obvious that the going out of business post is trying to dismiss you as Chair. Don't punk out and lets run a good campaign.


  • Honest Abe

    Vincent Orange is lucky to be on the Council. Nobody likes him. I wonder how in the world he raises so much money every time he runs.

  • bill

    City government should be boring. It should be about efficiently providing services for the public good. It should not be about which compromised scoundrel gets his fingers in the cookie jar next.


    The Great Citrus is keeping busy, running for At-large, Chair and Mayor- all at the same time. Re-aligning with the anti gay marriage preachers (Walker) to declare Mendo unfit to be Chair (cause he's white) and now that he knows he has no shot, he deflects the blame at M Brown for a 1997 charge while forgeting HIS recent ethical lapses. Step right up snake oil is on sale!

  • RealDC

    At the end of the day, they all are sorry! LOL. Orange, Brown, Mendo are all below average. This is funny, these 3 boobs are clamoring for the keys to the little car.

    Orange is cheesy! Brown is slick! Mendo is comatose!

  • Jason Cherkis

    VO is an embarrassment.

  • John

    Orange should be pro tem as Brown did not pay his DC TAXES personal and property taxes until it became a public announcement. Brown seems to have Kwame Brown type problems, he should not be named to any higher office. Mendo is not a good candidate for Chairman and if he runs for the office he will loose. That will get Mendo off the council and that will be good for the city.

  • Ward 3 Voter

    Orange will beat Mendelson in November, Mendelson has not run in years and has never had a formidable candidate.

    Orange is not under investigation for the checks Jeff Thompson forged, therefore he does not fit in the catageory of corrupt politicians like Brown, Brown, Gray etc.

    Kwame cant possibly have this much respect on the council that they want to block Orange out of Chairman.

    If so the council is dumb and proving loyal to someone who is a crook.

  • Mr.Remember

    Whomsoever will have the most frat brothers or soror sisters will win in the end. Gray did it with his frat, Fenty did it with his Frat and Cropp did it with her Sorors. So, Orange behold the black and gold.

  • Barrie Daneker

    What disappoints me is that at a time when the institution of the DC Council is under attack, CM Cheh would approach this decision in the fashion she did. A good leader would have had a closed session with the council members and hashed out who had the votes. Then called Council into session and voted by acclimation. Now that would have been leadership!!!

  • finest

    Thank the Good Lord the Council is actually listening to its constituents.... VO ALREADY RAN for Chair and the residents were SOOOO against it they elected Kwame! Yuk! VO is even MORE slimey as the rest of them so to watch him sling so much mud turns my stomach.

  • noodlez



  • finest


    Just read the update.....

    unanimous vote?????

    How about MAJORITY just like EVERY election you have ever been in you NITWIT!!!!

  • DC Home

    I don't like Orange very much, but he really does have a very good point about M. Brown!

  • DC Home

    "...this resolution is not in the best interest of neither the Council of the District of Columbia nor the citizens we represent." Hmmm...his grammar is not really in our best interest either.

  • samantha

    MENDO is no media hog . Council meetings may be dry and dull. The "nit picker"understands that "Slick IS OUT'. This includes VO, Queen Mary , Menopausal Catania , Ms Muriel Fenty -Nichols , Alcho Wells ,Sleze Jim and Dirty Jack ! As for MB and MB , they are old news ! As for VO. his childish antics put him on the level of Disrespectful Catania . Will the investigation on Catania and all aspects of the DC Health Agencies be publicized ? The Fat Lady Will Sing !The word on the street is that JE sells even his mama to every developer and has off shore bank accounts and special storage units across state lines . It Is FBI/IRS /RICO Time !

  • Throw The Book

    lol the city will always have poor politicians because of citizens who love crooks and the people who support them, yet you criticize a man who is willing to show he is capable of doing the job, and makes an effort to do so.

    Perhaps the ideal council is filled with members who are competent in their positions, seek to appease everyone and become "YES Men/Women".

    That's just acting like a Puss if you ask me.

    Mendelson has not done a damn thing, has never ran for chairman and now he UNANIMOUSLY gets the chairman spot?

    Just like Biddle, Mendelson will get kicked out of the spot because the voters differ from the politicians.

    How the hell is Orange apart of te old guard, if no one wants him around?

    You all call Orange's proposals terrible, but have you actually read them and seen the positives/negatives in his legislature.

    You hate on Orange, but Barry has done worse and stayed in office. Kwame was a crook and you still voted him in. Fenty did not give 2 damns about the people and gave the green light for corruption to go down and you voted Fenty over Orange in 2006.

    Orange isnt an embarassment, its the dumbasses that live in DC that are an embarassment. Get your head out your ass and THINK for a change.

    Im glad we get no representation on the Hill. We damn sure nuff dont make the right moves to do so....

  • DC Tax Payer

    Mike DeBonis reported Tuesday evening that the VO candidacy for pro tem was being publically supported by Marion Barry and Saint Tommy Wells. A strange political marriage between Barry and Wells. Wells has consistently supported VO's opponents in the last three DC elections. I guess Wells will do anything to gain political iou's for his run for mayor in 2014. Obviously Wells is a man of high moral standards who fits right in with this City Council.

  • N.E. John

    VO is slapped down! Whimpering to the corner, knowing full well that this is as far as he will go in his career in the District government.

  • N.E. John

    But, unfortunately, we are left with the prospect of Michael Brown as possible chairman. A cornelian dilemma indeed.

  • cminus

    @DC Tax Payer, in Wells' defense his endorsements make perfect sense if you believe Sekou Biddle would make a better member of the Council than Vincent Orange, who makes a better member of the Council than Michael Brown. I myself have voted both for and against Orange in the past; there have been times when he was better than the other candidates, and there have been times when he wasn't.

  • Drez

    Exactly, cminus.

  • WHAT?

    That Throw the Book must be VO himself or maybe Vincent Bernard Senior! ha!