Loose Lips

Board of Ethics Reportedly Looking Into Jack Evans

The District's Board of Ethics and Government Accountability is looking into Ward 2 Councilmember and mayoral hopeful Jack Evans' actions in the handover of a city alley to George Washington University, the Associated Press reports.

In July, Evans, along with 11 other councilmembers, voted to close the alley so GWU could build student housing on it. The local Advisory Neighborhood Commission, though, wanted the school to contribute money for a second Foggy Bottom Metro station entrance in exchange for the land. The Board of Ethics inquiry centers on the allegation that Evans swapped the alley for GWU's support in his election bid, according to the Associated Press report. LL also spoke to two people who say they were interviewed by BEGA about the alley, which is in Evans' ward.

Evans tells LL that he hasn't been contacted by BEGA and doesn't know about any investigation. BEGA director Darrin Sobin declined to comment on whether BEGA is investigating the councilmember, since no inquiry into Evans has been made public.

Jackson Carnes, an ANC commissioner and GWU student who says he was interviewed by BEGA and opposed closing the alley without conditions, claims that Evans told him on June 24 that he was trading the land for GWU's support in the campaign.

Evans didn't explain to Carnes what sort of help GWU could provide him, according to his account. LL has his own trouble figuring out how wooing a nonprofit university would help in a mayoral campaign.

It wasn't Carnes' last encounter with Evans over the alley, the AP reports:

A few weeks later, Evans had a heated discussion in his office with Carnes and two other ANC members. Evans asked GWU’s lobbyist to sit in on the meeting.

“He yelled at us for questioning his integrity,” Carnes said. “He just went ballistic.”

Carnes happens to be a supporter of Councilmember Muriel Bowser, who's also running for mayor, but waves away any suggestion that he's trying to help one of Evans' rivals. "What's the most harm I could really do?" he says.

In a statement, a GWU spokeswoman said that the university doesn't make political donations or endorsements.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • truth hurts

    Perfect photo for this story. I can see him thinking: "hmmmm, it's only an alley, hmmmmm, one city won't care, he went to gw, hmmmmm, what the hell, you can have it, dudes, if you answer one question for me first: who's your daddy?"

    Uh huh, you got that one right! By the way, I'm tight with some good contractors if you haven't already settled on someone....

  • Intrigue

    This is probably another Chuck Thies fantasy. No Chuck, Jack is not dirty, desparately pushing this crap on the guileless local press will not make your buttmaster, Jimbo the Graham cracker clean either. Talk about running a story out of thin gruel. Not to be cliche but it must have been a really slow news day. Why, one might ask, would Jack Evans, 20+ years Ward 2 councimember, need to do need to do anything to get GW's support whatever that means. If he didn't have it already it is unlikely he could get it for an alley closing.

  • Voila

    Yep, sure seems like Graham/Thies is up to its same tricks and on the same day Evans appeared on DC Politics Hour the very show Thies got canned from, oh I meant unexpectedly, unceremoniously resigned from, just last Fall. Looks like Will got played and how is it AP picked up such a speculative bit of arcana. WRC should look into that asap!

  • RealDC

    Say it isn't so Jack!

    Not surprised, Evans has been doing "inside deals" for years. Just look into his PAC or his constituent service funds or should we call it his "Season Ticket Fund"......dirty. SMH

  • drez

    Jack was horrible on Kojo yesterday.
    He made absolutely no case for why he wants to be Mayor beyond "I'm really good at making deals" and "I want to do things that I need to be Mayor to accomplish".
    It's odd that someone who's entire career is based on selling himself would be so bad at making a pitch.

  • Anonymous,Too

    There's a much better picture of (and a much better story about) Jack here:

    washingtoncitypaper.com/articles/41762/is-jack-evans-actually-making-the-dc-council-better

    Don't mean to dis you,LL, but Evans bears much deeper scrutiny. Alley closings are his specialty. He did one worth multi-millions for EastBanc in the '90s on the West End Ritz Carlton and his late wife was rewarded with the top sales job at the Ritz Incinerator condos.

  • Anonymous,Too

    "LL has his own trouble figuring out how wooing a nonprofit university would help in a mayoral campaign."

    Thursday, February 2, 2006 -- Washington Post District Notebook Blog

    Leaving Evans

    After serving 15 years as the right hand of council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), chief of staff John Ralls is leaving for greener pastures.

    Ralls, who is well known in political circles for his superhuman organizational skills (as well as his ever-changing hairstyles), started work Monday at George Washington University, where he will be helping to manage the university's politically contentious real estate ventures under Executive Vice President and Treasurer Louis H. Katz .

    For more than a decade, Ralls made the trains run on time in Evans's council office, hiring virtually everyone who now works there. Ralls also managed most of Evans's political campaigns. He was expected to do so again this year as Evans contemplated first a run for mayor and later a run for council chairman.

    Evans eventually abandoned those plans. A private poll showed he would run a distant third in the mayoral race behind Fenty (D-Ward 4) and council Chairman Linda W. Cropp (D). And he put the chairman's race on hold after the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance launched an investigation into his political action committee, formerly known as Jack PAC.

    Ralls said his departure had nothing to do with that matter, which prompted an embarrassing flurry of press coverage.

    "This was in process before that," Ralls said. "Jack's terrific. But I've been there 15 years and I've done every job in that office. After I got Jack through his last reelection [in 2004], I felt it was time to start moving on."

    Ralls said he will continue to serve as Evans's "friend and adviser" and would happily act as campaign manager if Evans decides to run again.

    "John's terrific. He left on great terms," Evans said. "He was instrumental in every success we've had here."

    Ralls will be replaced in Evans's office by his deputy, Schannette Grant .

  • Sane Person

    @Anonymous, Too a.k.a. Chuck Thies What you mean, of course, Chuck is that LL didn't adequately follow your trail of crumbs. All the better for you to drag out all these archasic tales, that being your goal. Somehow from a specious plant about some obscure inquiry into nothing substantive you have managed to drag out a host of hobgobblins. John Rall's? How long has John Ralls been gone? Jack's late wife and the mother of the triplets he raised as a single parent? For how long did Ralls and does Jack now work like a dog. Get a job Chuck!

  • Anonymous,Too

    @Sane Person (and your other Evans sock puppets), please get off your rag about my being Chuck Thies. I'm not and never will be. But you clearly have a hard-on for the boy, so you should get in touch.

    FYI: A developer gifting Evans's spouse with a job at his company after Jack has steered millions of dollars worth of development rights to said developer is not in the public interest.

    Evans has taken an oath of office to not engage in "pay-to-play" but apparently has deluded himself over the years into thinking that what he does all the time--and the above is just one example--is not the same as what Kwame, Harry and Mikey did.

    Perhaps because the scale of his transgressions is so much larger than the three stooges, he thinks he's invincible. He will certainly never have my vote for Mayor nor that of my wide circle of friends.

  • Whoa

    Anonymous, you might want to check out the accompanying article on Michael Horsley's photographs before casting stones at Jack Evans and the real world of real estate investment. To categorize Evans as akin to the stooge likes of Kwame et al is an insult to him, to suggest that he isn't light years ahead of the drunk and the closet case he is running against insults us all. None of these clowns has the brain wattage to have done 1% of what Evans has done.

  • Anonymous, Too

    @"Whoa" To credit Jack Evans as a latter-day Robert Moses is laughable. But it certainly sounds just like Jack--a legend in his own mind.

    And yes, Evans is light years ahead of anyone and everyone on the Council--he's had 20+ years to perfect the "pay-to-play" technique and develop a sense of entitlement to be acting that way.

    As Suderman wrote in 2011: "There are big deals to be made, like maybe getting the Redskins to come back to town. Evans wants to be at the table. And if that means putting up with people he can’t stand and reinventing himself as a good-government crusader at the eleventh hour, it’s a tradeoff Evans is willing to grin and bear. At least some of the time."

    Oh, and one last thing. Why Evans is still head of the Finance & Revenue committee after he failed to detect a 12-year, $50+ million embezzlement in the tax office and has been a champion of Natwar Gandi before and after?

    washingtonpost.com/2012-10-08/news/35499296_1_tax-office-property-tax-refunds-natwar-m-gandhi

    The only insult to residents is that Evans has enough dim-witted constituents to keep re-electing him. Outside of Wards 2 and 3, it's going to be another story.

  • Drez

    Why is Jack even running? What does he stand for? What would he do?
    As one DC reporter noted, it seems like he'd be more suited being Vincent Gray's campaign manager. He can't name one bad thing Gray has done, or even bring himself to state the obvious truth, which is that he is running against Gray.
    (note: he previously supported Fenty, Cropp, and Williams. Now he supports Gray, while running against him. He is, shall we say, flexible.

  • CR

    Looks like a non-story. When do universities ever get into the business of supporting candidates? They know better and it would be a violation of federal law. Alleys are given up here and there for construction projects - even streets. It is nice to see 10th Street NW between NY Avenue and H Street NW re-appear after its disappearance for the old, former convention center. File this issue under: Slow News Day.

  • Pingback: Decision time for Vincent Gray

  • Anonymous,Too

    "Why is Jack even running?"

    Because Vince Gray will not be running.

    "What does he stand for?"

    Jack Evans, and proud of it.

    "What would he do?"

    Keep the spigots running for the billionaire boyz club.

    "As one DC reporter noted, it seems like he'd be more suited being Vincent Gray's campaign manager."

    Even if they don't get clipped by Machen's office, David Julyan and Sam Brooks aren't up to running Gray's campaign alone.

    "He can't name one bad thing Gray has done, or even bring himself to state the obvious truth, which is that he is running against Gray. (note: he previously supported Fenty, Cropp, and Williams. Now he supports Gray, while running against him. He is, shall we say, flexible."

    They all serve the same puppet masters so flexibility is key.

  • Notinbred

    "LL has his own trouble figuring out how wooing a nonprofit university would help in a mayoral campaign."

    Come on man, that's pretty sad. You're going to need to get a little more jaded (read: realistic) than that if you want to be a good LL.

  • anonymous

    @Notinbred - Good point.

    Evans hates Foggy Bottom (but not the West End) and has stepped aside and let GW blow out the neighborhood and turn it into a student party ghetto. This alley is chump change compared to all the stuff Jack has let slide over the last 10-15 years but Carnes doesn't know that and neither does LL. Good luck to him if he can get the ball rolling on just who Jack is supposedly "representing" on the Council.

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