Loose Lips

Graham to Appeal Ethics Ruling

Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham announced today from the D.C. Council dais that his lawyers are headed shortly to the D.C. Court of Appeals to fight the recent scolding Graham received from the Board of Ethics and Accountability over his conduct on two expensive public contracts.

The announcement came as the Council was considering tweaks to the board's powers, including giving it the ability to issue advisory opinions on its own initiative. Graham characterized the board as an unaccountable-due-process-denier that had singled him out but could be coming for any of his colleagues next.

Neither of Graham's lawyers, William Taylor and Rachel Cotton, were immediately available to shed light on what this forthcoming appeal might look like, but in a letter to the Post today, they explain their beef with the board.

The ethics board acted lawlessly in this matter. It published what it called “findings” without any semblance of a fair process and in violation of its own rules. It found him guilty without a trial, indeed without giving him access to the evidence it was considering, and without telling him that it was considering finding him guilty of something. We had to beg even for an opportunity to address the board.

Taylor and Cotton also struck the same warning notes as Graham, saying that public officials clamoring to see Graham punished "will regret jumping on this bandwagon."

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • joan

    Diamond Jim keeps digging!

  • DCGovcorruption

    I don't know why the DC City Council didnot adopt the rules that govern the conduct for Members in Congress rather than coming up with a rag tag process with no teeth. The wheel does not need to be reinvented for the dc board responsible for investigating allegations against public officials.

  • Typical DC BS

    The DC Council is responsible, as usual, for this mess. Heaven forbid they set up rules for the councilmembers to follow that actually can be enforced.

  • tony

    Again, I was right.

    The reality is that Chairman Mendleson's inaction on Graham is indicative of a politician paralyzed by political "fear".

    Now Graham is doing exactly what I and others said he would do--Burn down the house, politically speaking.

    Now you talk about leadership. Chairman Mendleson must press forward with sanctions hearings on Graham and if by any chance some court over rule the council's decision then so be it. But, Chairman Mendleson, you, must hold those hearings on Graham, period.

    Graham strategy with filing his appeals is only meant to delay any council actions.

    And for all you people who claimed that my repeated assertion that all politicians do the same things were wrong, just take a look at what Graham has to say both implicitly and explicitly. Mr. Graham is suggesting that his wheeling and dealing is practiced by some if not all of his colleagues.

    This is the same man who has voted to sanction several of his own colleagues.This is the same man that held hearings on a local businessman that led to criminal charges. This is the same man that has called for investigations on more people and entities in this town than any other council member. But when it's his time to be held accountable, he attacks the very same institution that he used to harm others.

    Remember, it was Graham who first exposed to the public that Catania had a position with MC Dean. It was Graham who publicly stated that “HE WHO IS WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE."

    That was a direct political threat if there was ever one. Now it seems that Mr. Graham is prepared to carry out that threat.

  • Truth hurts

    The silence from Mendo and all CM's other than Wells is deafening. Nothing but a lack of courage keeps the council from taking action.

  • noodlez

    THIS IS JUST AN ATTEMPT TO RUN OUT THE CLOCK BY THE GRAHAMASTER.

    MENDO GOTS TA HIT HIM ACROSS THE HEAD LIKE MAYOR GRAY DID BARRY. HE CAN NOT GET AWAY WITH THIS BULLSHIT THAT EVERYONE KNOWS IS ON HIS SHOES WHICH STINKS TO HIGH HEAVEN THUS THE QUIET MANEUVERING AWAY FROM THIS JOKER BY OTHER COUNCIL MEMBERS.

    BY ALL ACCOUNTS HE IS DOOMED.
    WOULD BE INTERESTING TO SEE IF THOSE WHITE FOLK WILL VOTE HIM BACK INTO OFFICE?

  • name

    tony: you have to understand that mendelson is an invertebrate and survived solely on A) truthiness (aka lying his nutsack off) and B) boring enemies to sleep (aka filibustering every attempt to hold him accountable).

    Bleeding out of your left leg while telling people they have nothing to worry about probably works when you're an At-Large, but eventually as Chair, the spotlight is too harsh.

  • name

    @noodlez

    He doesn't get voted in by white folks, unless by white folks you mean the sizable illegal immigrant population in his district.

  • Three Blind MIce

    When are they finally going to acknowledge to themselves what they all know to be true "Taxi Cash" "AIDS Grift" "Pay to Play" Graham is the singly most corrupt individual in DC public life, ever. He is corrupt to the marrow of his bones.

    These are the same tactics he used to commandeer Whitman Walker and the AIDS epidemic for his own glory and enrichment. He intimidates through threat of accusation. His are the politics of fear. Remember, by the time he was finally booted to the curb from Whitman Walker he had brought it to its knees. That will be the result here as well with his council colleagues careers and our city as collateral damage.

    Phil, Jack, Marion, lead on this issue. I know it is hard for decent folks to get their arms around some individual being this loathsome, self serving, and corrupt. You three know first hand, and have observed how Graham was at Whitman Walker and how his conduct has been on the Council as to his other colleagues, etc. Jack, for G's sake you just celebrated how long in office? What has been more a constant over that period of time than Jim Graham's corrupt practices.

    Do something about Graham or Graham will take you all down.

  • Three Blind MIce

    noodlez, you said: "BY ALL ACCOUNTS HE IS DOOMED."

    Understand that Graham's corrupt practices are just the symptomatic manifestations of a very, very, very sick man. On that level pity him but that does not give him the right to devastate all that gets in his way, especially our city.

    On some level Jim Graham wants this to end this way and he always on some deep level knew it would, he needs it too, who knows, perhaps then mother will be proved right. Lets hurry the process along.

    Lets give Graham his Norma Desmond moment, the cameras can start turning, Jim is ready for his close up Mr. DeMendelson.

  • Drez

    It's like the council is full of spatchcocked chickens who have had thier backbones, hearts, and guts removed and turned into some fetid broth that nourishes only further corruption.
    Pathetic, really.

  • Three Blind MIce

    Chairman Mendelson, are you listening to what the people are saying? "....council is full of spatchcocked chickens who have had thier backbones, hearts, and guts removed and turned into some fetid broth that nourishes only further corruption."

    This is not going to blow over. People are finished with Graham's crap, his lawyers can not refute what the people already knoow to be true, even if it hasn't gotten through down at the Wilson Building. Act now or this will come back to haunt all of you at the ballot box.

    Clearly Mendelson appears not ready for a leadership role.

  • RealDC

    This is good!

    Graham wants to fight! Lets give him what he wants!! Swear him in and lets get started!

    "Ah, Mr Graham raise your right hand........"

    Mendelson, you can run but you cant hide.

    What are you going to do? You got the goods on Graham and get that Liz Taylor Junket money back from his crooked behind.

    Where is Bowser? Where is Cheh? Catania? How about the noobies? Bonds? McDuffie? Grasso?

    Barry? Orange? Evans, you want to be mayor?

    Where is the LEADERSHIP?

    This is funny, no one says anything about Graham but Orange gets called out about some incident with a health inspector at the Florida Ave market.

    But of course, RACE has nothing to do with the lack of response from the other members?? Get REAL, it has everything to do with it!

    The blacks on the council operate like they are always .50 short and the whites operate like they always have $5.00, no matter what happens this white thing is always good!(Chris Rock)

    The inferiority black leadership in DC is sickening, they are more worried about keeping their jobs and get "white" approval than being honest and truthful. Sad day when the leadership of DC is scared to address the indiscretions of its own but if Barry had pulled these shenanigans, you bet every white council person would have screamed for his head. And the blacks ones would have took their shots as well.... Bowser would have lead the way to the microphone..... " he needs to resign"... oh, that was her calling for Mayor Gray to step down because of a start of an investigation not the results of one. SMH. But Bowser is all quiet on Graham??

    Yep, its easy to go after old black men, Gray, Barry, than old white men. But it is not racial, of course not......

    Graham is thumbing his nose at the council and the city...... threatening the council members... daring them to do something..... LMAO!

    Where are you Mendelson? Two words Mendelson, " Full Investigation" !!

  • noodlez

    @NOMBRE-I CAN'T SEE BROWN FOLK VOTING FOR HIM BECAUSE HE THREW LOZA UNDER BUS. I CAN'T SEE HIM GETTING OVER 50% OF THE BLACK FOLK THAT ARE LEFT IN HIS WARD. HE WILL GET THE SYMPATHETIC GAY VOTE AND SOME OF THE CONFUSED WHITE MYOPIC LIL TWITTY'S BUT THE QUESTION WILL BE HOW MANY OF THE WHITE HOME BUYERS AND RENTERS IN SHAW AND LEDROIT PARK ALONG WITH THOSE TRANSIENT COLUMBIA HEIGHTS, ADAMS MORGAN AND MT PLEASENT VOTERS WILL SUPPORT HIM.

    @3BLIND-NORMA DESMOND???
    WHO IN THE FUCK IS NORMA DESMOND?

  • newcomer

    @noodlez Norma Desmond is the name of the character played by Gloria Swanson in the movie "Sunset Boulevard". Classic film noir. One of the best movies ever made.

  • just sayin

    @RealDC
    If it were Barry, you best believe Bowser would be more enthusiastic than a baldheaded chic in a wig shop.

    This evening she brought her arrogant hindparts to a community meeting on crime in Brightwood. Many of us had been pleading with that woman to hear our concerns and finally we got her to host a meeting for which she breezed in more than 30 minutes late. No apology was offered but you can bet that she will be on time for her meeting tomorrow night on the west side of Georgia Avenue.

  • Bay Glade

    Who is Norma Desmond? OMG! you will lose your gay credentials. Graham has been angling to play this part for years.

    ...Norma Desmond, a faded silent movie star(corrupt pol)...her fantasy world where she dreams of making a triumphant return to the screen(having respect and credibility)...long-forgotten silent-film star(long known con artist) ... how unaware she is of how her fame has died. She refuses to hear any criticism of her work...older actress desperately clinging to her past ...

    her hallucination that she is on the set of her new film(will not go to jail)...sets up the scene...yells "Action!"; Norma dramatically descends her grand staircase..."The dream she had clung to so desperately had enfolded her." Norma makes a short speech at how happy she is to be back making a film, and delivers the film's most famous line: "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."[2]

    "Norma Desmond was an actress who had become lost in her own imagination, " Edith Head"

  • Ward 1

    "Jim Graham is a corrupt, sleazeball, low rent, chump change, politician lost in his own self absorbed narcissism" Kneedsom Head

  • Ward 1

    @noodlez Graham will get no gay vote. No community knows him better and to know Graham does not encourage one to vote for him.

    Speaking of gay. Why is council pit bull Davey Catania so silent? He who likes nothing better than to abuse folks trapped in a witness chair and lashes out at the blink of an eye is suddenly so cuddly and coy about Jimmy. Maybe we don'y give ol' Paper Bag enough credit, he may have accurately taken the measure of these spineless jellyfish aka "spatchcocked chickens".

    Really Mendo it is time to lead. Linda would have had Grahams spatchcocks in a vize. She nailed him down when he thought he was going to run at-large.

  • IAmNotALiberalDemocrat

    Miss Graham, please say it ain't so?

    Faints at computer....

  • IAmNotALiberalDemocrat

    Just sayin, what meeting Muriel will be attending tonight west of Georgia Avenue? I never see Muriel in Ward 4. I seen Brandon Todd her constituent guy more than I see her. Muriel thinks she can be Mayor of the District of Columbia. I will not vote for this 'cow'.

  • name

    The only person *actually* showing leadership on this issue is the man who called for the investigation. Your own Tommy Wells.

    Say what you want, he's the only man with a cock big enough to step up to the plate.

  • justsayin

    @LiberalDem

    Bowser is scheduled to be at a PTA Town Hall meeting at Shepherd ES this evening. She is Johnny on the Spot on the west side. When the constituents west of GA Ave air a concern about anything, minor or major on those listserves, she or someone from her staff has a quick response. Not so in Brightwood, Petworth, Lamond & Riggs, and it's not for a lack of those constituents trying to reach her. Those communities have plenty of active, well-organized and vocal civic groups.

    Frankly, she treats our community like it's an annoyance to respond to us. We're treating her campaign likewise.

  • justsayin

    Correction: "NotLiberalDem"...sorry about messing up your name in my abbreviation.

  • IAmNotALiberalDemocrat

    LOL; no problem justsayin. Another question, do people in your area vote? Shepherd Park has one of the highest voting areas in the District. This is why Fenty, Gray, Bowser, and the other At-Large Councilmembers run up to Shepherd Park. I live in Crestwood and I never see Muriel in this neck of the woods, however, she responds to voters in Crestwood. My brother lives in 16th Street Heights and he stated, he never see's Muriel in that area. I will not be voting for that phony 'cow'. All the current D.C. Councilmember need to go. I would vote for 'Two Broke Girls' on CBS before I would vote for Bowser. LOL

  • drez

    Crestwood and 16th St Heights are reliably Bowser territory. Try matching the places where she goes most often with the precincts the former Mayor lost in 2010.

  • Ward 1

    Well, it is almost noon and still no arrest, no resignation, and complete silence from the Council.
    Graham may indeed be correct in taking their measure, no matter how egregious the crime they will not have the cajones to stand up to him. Moving forward that will be frightening. Jim as King!

  • justsayin

    @NotLibDem

    We are a vocal and voting community. Speaking for myself and a number of my neighbors, we won't be voting for her either.

  • Green Eyeshade

    None of the commenters so far show any sign of knowing anything about legal procedures or personal rights. The new "Board of Ethics" is being run like one of the old "star chamber" courts that were one of the causes of the American Revolution against the British king & British parliament who used star chambers against residents of the American colonies (our ancestors). The BEGA is unconstitutional in its structure as well as in its practice. If Graham's appeal does not result in a ruling by the D.C. Court of Appeals striking down the BEGA's illegal actions, it is quite likely that other DC residents will win such rulings from the federal courts. The main problem with BEGA is that DC Council rushed to create a new system and "reinvented the wheel" -- badly. There are numerous good examples of effective ethics enforcers -- both in other states and in Congress. Because of its sloppy drafting in creating BEGA, DC Council allowed BEGA to define its own powers and jurisdiction. And then DC Council approved appointment(s) of persons to run BEGA who clearly don't give a shit about due process.

    BEGA's hatchet job on Graham is just a witch hunt. They will be put down by the courts, sooner or later.

  • Alf

    Queen Graham's lawyer, Wm Taylor, has defended a number of scoundrels. He represented accused rapist Dominique Strauss Kahn in NY. While those charges were dismissed, DSK is now persona non grata even in France.

  • RealDC

    @greeneyeshade-Two different issues. Yes, BEGA is very questionable and to be quite honest, they are unnecessary. The laws for the council have been on the books for years, they are never enforced. BEGA, Bowser's project, is a complete waste of time.

    But make no mistake, Graham is a UNETHICAL and is unfit to hold office. BEGA's report has come to the same conclusion that WMATA report and the law firm's independent report: Graham acted improper, unethical and broke laws!

    Ideally, Chairman Mendelson needs to investigate and sanction Mr. Graham. With all reports being turned over to the US Attorney for criminal prosecution.

    It is not a witch hunt when three different independent reports come to the same conclusion: Graham is DIRTY and this council refuses to to take action!!

  • tony

    Here we go with the excuses...Man, every time a white man is accused of some illegal actions then we talk about due process and constitutional rights.

    As things stands, every single politician in this city who has been forced to resign or have faced some adverse action has been black men. Every single one!

    Now you have a white chairman who refuses to hold a simple hearing on a white councilmember who have repeatedly abused the public trust.

    Well, I tell you what, until Jim Graham is held accountable for his misdeeds any calls for investigation on any black officials in this town will be summarily dismissed by the black community. And I don't care what they do.

    Herein lies the problem with white leadership. I am sorry but you people just don't know how to play fair.

    Fine, because two can play that game.

    TOMMY WELLS AND NO OTHER WHITE PERSON WILL EVER BE MAYOR OF THIS TOWN BECAUSE BLACKS, IN GENERAL, DON’T TRUST WHITE GOVERNANCE AND GRAHAM’S CASE VALIDATES THOSE FEARS.

    Game ON!

  • IAmNotALiberalDemocrat

    Tony, I try not to use the race card or see everything as race or racist. However, you make some interesting points. Race still matters in the USA and white America will always have a double standard. For years the one drop rule applied in this country and blacks that appeared white, however, they were classified as black. Since President Obama was elected and his skin color and hair texture is like most black men in America, some whites don't want to see him as black. Some want to use the ridiculous term, our President is half white. If you put both myself and the President together, We both look like black men and both my parents are black. I have a serious problem with white liberals because they think they know what's best for blacks in America.

  • Marvin E. Adams

    CENSURE! Not too terribly long ago, Councilman Barry was censured for cause. Not too long ago, Councilmembers Bowser, Catania and Cheh were calling for Mayor Gray to resign. Hopefully, sooner, rather than later, former councilmembers Bowser, Catania and Cheh will be able to devote all of their energies toward their full-time jobs.

  • tony

    @IAmNotALiberalDemocrat, AMEN!

  • Truth hurts

    Spatchcocked chickens, fetid broth nourishing corruption..... Dang drez, nice! Why didn't I think up that one?

  • SayWhat

    Lay off of Muriel Bowser, I don't what you all are talking about, Muriel has been the best Councilmember Ward 4 has ever had. I see her all over this Ward. Now if you don't like her that is one thing, but to assassinate her is terrible. We have gotten more economic development under her and Fenty than any other Councilmemember and I don't even like Fenty, but I will give him his props. It has never been anything that I called her office for and they didn't deliver. Just keeping it real.

  • NE John

    Joe Gillis: You're Norma Desmond. You used to be in silent pictures. You used to be big.
    Norma Desmond: I *am* big. It's the *pictures* that got small.

    Joe Gillis: I didn't know you were planning a comeback.
    Norma Desmond: I hate that word. It's a return, a return to the millions of people who have never forgiven me for deserting the screen.

  • justsayin

    Here's "keeping it real":

    Bowser is bought and paid for by developers and responds to a select proportion of her constituency. For those of us who get nothing from her, it doesn't get any "realer" than that.

  • Calvin H. Gurley

    To SayWhat.

    The best Ward 4 Council member has been Charlene Drew Jarvis – Chairwoman of the Financial Committee, now chaired by Jack Evans.

    Jarvis brought development to Georgia Avenue up to Eastern Avenue. Sixteenth street beautification project is still beautiful. Jarvis stood up for Black residents in the District when the local banks were black-listing and denying them [Black residents] home equity loans. Jarvis initiated punishment by demanding local banks to locate their banks in Black communities across the District and forced the banks to implement a low rate mortgage programs for Black D.C. residents.

    Ward 4 is consumed by liquor stores, Asian fast food shops and quick loan stores. The only development came with mix-use high price condo and rental units. The average Ward 4 residents can not afford to buy into these new mix-use expensive units.

    Bowser has no back bone.
    1) Bowser allowed Ward 6 Tommy Wells and his Capitol Hill residents to take our 50 year old children’s music institute out of Ward 4 and place the D.C. Youth Orchestra in Eastern high school. Never in the history of the District has one Ward Councilmember come into another Councilmember’s Ward and take any cultural institution. Bowser did not fight or scream…but remained silent when I and other resident called her on this terrible lost to the community.

    2) When Mayor Fenty disrespected and ignored our elders Honorable Dr. Dorothy Height and Maya Angelo from having a meeting to save Cora Master Barry’s Youth Tennis Program – only Ward 7 Councilwoman Yvette Alexander called Fenty to the carpet and criticized his disrespect. Bowser did nothing…even for another honorable African American woman who has been awarded honorable citizen medals from several U.S. Presidents.

    3) Muriel Bowser lied during her Ward 4 re-election by declaring that she “secured” millions of dollars to renovate Coolidge and Roosevelt high schools. Update…Coolidge and Roosevelt “secured” millions are nowhere to be found.

    Say What…I understand that you have privilege with Muriel Bowser’s office but the remaining residents and our children in Ward 4 have been ignored by Bowser. Perhaps, you live in the Ward3/4 areas of Rock Creek Park…that is why Bowser answers only to your calls.

    Say What … if you attended some Ward 4 community meetings perhaps you would retract your comments on Bowser. You have to know your history of Ward 4. Please do some research.

    Calvin H. Gurley
    Takoma

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