Loose Lips

Feds: Vince Gray Knew About the Shadow Campaign

Mayor Vince Gray knew about the illicit Jeff Thompson-funded effort to get him elected in 2010, prosecutors say in court papers filed today connected to Thompson's plan to plead guilty to corruption charges.

Gray allegedly met with Thompson at Thompson associate Jeanne Clarke Harris' apartment in August 2010, according to Thompson's statement of offense, detailed by federal prosecutors at a court hearing this afternoon. Gray associate Vernon Hawkins had originally relayed the request for $425,000 in illicit help, but Thompson had requested an in-person meeting with Gray before committing the money, court papers say.

Prosecutors say Gray knew the help would be off the books before the meeting. Afterwards, prosecutors say, Gray called Thompson "uncle" in gratitude, a reference to an alias Gray allegedly used to refer to Thompson, "Uncle Earl."

The hearing revealed other payments Thompson allegedly made on Gray's behalf. Among them: payment for a driver and luxury SUV in 2010, a $10,000 payment to a "close relative" of Gray's, and $40,000 in home improvements and work for an unnamed Gray friend.

Once Gray was in office, prosecutors say, Thompson also asked the mayor to speed up a city settlement with his Medicaid contractor that has been another focus of federal investigation.

The hearing also touched on the 2006 mayoral race, where Thompson allegedly paid $200,000 to former D.C. Councilmember Michael Brown to get him to drop out of the race and endorse then-Council Chairwoman Linda Cropp. (Brown, like Harris and Hawkins, is cooperating with prosecutors as part of a plea bargain on other charges.) One of Thompson's companies also made a $150,000 contract with a company Brown worked for, prosecutors say.

UPDATE, 6:05 p.m.: Thompson said two unnamed candidates who received shadow help may not have known about it: Former D.C. Council chairman Linda Cropp in her 2006 mayoral bid and Vincent Orange in his 2011 run. Thompson added that the candidates who received straw donations also did not necessarily know.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Steve

    March on the Wilson Building this FRIDAY at 6:00PM!!! 3/14/2014....DEMAND Mayor Vincent Gray Step Down!!

  • Vamos Aver

    @steve March yourself off a short cliff. Claiming Mayor Gray knew about the Shadow Campaign still has to be proven. What motivation would Jeffrey Thompson have for lying, oh let's see, how many charges could he have faced with all of the candidates he illegally supported. Lie and make a statement that the Feds want to hear, and get a significant reduction in sentence. It's called saving yourself when your back is against the wall. The Feds are going to need more than a statement from a corrupt businessman who's whole business model was based on lies and deception.

  • noodlez

    @STEVE-MARCH YOUR RIM JOBBING ASS ON BACK TO THE MIDWEST OR WHEREEVA THE FUCK YOU CAME FROM. WE D.C. STRONG AROUND THESE PARTS! YOU BETTA RECOGNIZE.

    MAYOR GRAY WILL BE REELECTED COME APRIL 2014 THEN COME BACK IN 2018 AND TRY AGAIN. CLOWN.

  • ha

    Just like Marion Barry!

  • @Steve

    I'm in! Great idea. Now nothing is in the way of Reta Lewis!

  • Terry Miller

    I just think that the U.S. Attorney should pursue the other allegedly illegal campaigns with the same vigor that he is pursuing Vince Gray.

  • dcgovcorruption

    If the new allegations regarding 40,000 for Linda Greene's house and 10,000 for a relative, per Jeff are true
    the mayor should withdraw from the mayor's race by Friday before any indictment by the US attorney.

  • Tbonebullets

    Uncle Earl set him up!

  • drez

    Machen is 7 for 7 in his anti corruption efforts here in DC. He has evidence to back up what he says.
    Gray should resign, but won't, because he cares more his self than he does for the voters of DC.

  • Felon Gray

    Gray is done, and I am laughing my proverbial azz off. Uncle Earl? Hahahahahahah

    How many times did Gray call Thompson his valued and close personal friend before all this started, and now he is “ a ridiculous liar”. Prosecutors wouldn’t have made this charge in court after all this time with Thompson if they didn’t have some evidence against Gray, just like when Gray said he didn’t know Sulimon Brown, had never talked with him and then we found text messages to Brown from Gray’s personal cell phone.

    As anyone with half a brain cell knew, you can’t personally hire every member of your campaign team, count them as life long friends and then NOT know what was going on. It is impossible. Gray touted himself as the “details guy” when he was Council Chair, then overnight he apparently became the “no details ever”, guy.

    Now that Thompson has rolled on Gray, Gray has to fight both Thompson, again…someone he has called a life long personal friend, and the Federal Prosecutor.

    I see this going the way of Harry Thomas, where he pleads not guilty, but then agrees to pay the money back and give up his job.

    Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy…ONE CITY!

  • 7r3y3r

    Thompson's plea shows this is more than campaign finance violations by Grey. He may have even pressed the OAG to settle the Medicaid fraud case against Thompson for less because of his donations. That illicit use of official authority is some real corruption right there. Quid pro quo, son!

  • 7r3y3r

    Grey=Gray, obviously.

  • newcomer

    It really looks like Mayor Gray will be indicted next. So much time had passed without news from Machen's office, I thought maybe he hit a brick wall with Thompson. Now we see that was not the case at all, but instead Machen was working on getting Thompson to turn on Gray for a reduced sentence. Did anyone really ever believe that Gray didn't approve of the shadow campaign?

  • U Street area resident

    Suspicious timing of this filing. A few weeks before the election. Hmmmmm.

  • Rob W

    What motivation would Gray have to lie?

    Oh yeah, keeping himself out of jail. I was a Gray voter until today. Also, it won't be just Thompson's word. They probably have the records on the $40,000 in home repairs to the close family member, the SUV and driver and the $10,000 to Gray's close friend.

    I wanted this not to be true, because I like what Gray's done otherwise with the city.

  • Jane

    If the home repairs and SUV things are true, that's an enormous black mark against Gray (no joke intended). How is that anything other than bribery?

  • TTY

    After hearing about all these allegations of Thompson giving 10K and 40K there, I would think it would Machen would already have the evidence needed to indict Gray -- follow the money trial/bank accounts/etc. But my guess is that Machen doesn't have any evidence or else he would have indicted Gray immediately after his press conference. Jeff Thompson was the big fish he wanted. He got him and Thompson serves as a warning for all those thinking about anything illegal in campaigns in the future.

  • GoldCoastKid

    March on the Wilson Building this FRIDAY at 6:00PM!!! 3/14/2014....DEMAND Mayor Vincent Gray Step Down!!

  • drez

    He needs to resign.

  • http://ciypaper Tony

    Vamos, why don't you follow brother Steve.

  • HUAlum71

    Question:

    If Machen has something on Gray, why hasn't he been indicted?

  • noodlez

    RESIGN??? FOR WHAT?? BECAUSE SOME MUTHA FUCKA FUCKED UP AND NOW HE IS POINTING FINGERS CLAIMING EVERYONE WAS IN ON IT TO SAVE HIS OWN ASS?

    "March on the Wilson Building this FRIDAY at 6:00PM!!! 3/14/2014....DEMAND Mayor Vincent Gray Step Down!!"-HUHHH??? WHATTT?? I THOUGHT THE DC HIGH HEEL DRAG QUEEN RACE IS IN OCTOBER?

    ONE CITY 2014!

  • Captain Obvious

    Folks that are defending Gray need to just let it go. There is NO WAY $600K in resources is added to your campaign without asking questions or knowingly turn a blind eye. Gray is a smart guy. Let's keep it real.

    Now, the Uncle Earl term will haunt Gray. What happens when the Feds start searching Gmail accounts for the people connected with the campaign? The truth will come out eventually and the city deserves not to be taken through anymore of this crap.

    Yes, they will have to prove everything but who cares if we all pretty much know the basics. If Gray drops out of the race, he could save some humiliation for people associated with the campaign.

    If he somehow wins the primary and then gets indicted, I believe he will lose to Catania. That's a scary thought.

  • noodlez

    NO DUMB ASSES LIKE YOURSELF NEED TO LET IT GO.
    1ST OF ALL $600K WASNT ADDED TO HIS LEGITIMATE CAMPAIGN.
    IT OPERATED SEPARATELY FROM IT.

    ADDITIONALLY THEY HAVE TO PROVE EVERYTHING.
    PRETTY MUCH KNOW THE BASICS?? DUDE WHAT WORLD ARE YOU COMMENTING FROM? THE BASICS WERE MAYOR GRAY WAS GOING TO DEFEAT FENTY WITH ONLY DUST BALLS IN HIS POCKET SO SOME LAME SIDE JOB THROWN TOGETHER WITH IGNORANCE AND NO FORESIGHT WAS NOT NEEDED.

    GAYTANIA IS DONE IN THIS CITY.
    HE WON'T WIN ANOTHER SEAT AT-LARGE, MAYOR OR SHADOW SENATOR. HE IS THE MAIN ONE THAT NEED TO TAKE HIS RIM LICKING ASS BACK TO WHERE HE CAME FROM.

  • James Ward 2

    Vincent Grays' 2010 mayoral campaign promised "character. integrity. leadership" and now we realize that his promises are... "Lies. These are lies."

  • YW

    Mayor Gray is not going to be indicted. There is no evidence. Mayor Gray will WIN the primary handily. His supporters are indeed unwavering and their support solid. None of these “allegations” are a surprise to Gray supporters. Quiet as it is kept, many believe some of these allegations and will still vote for Mayor Gray because he has done a great job as Mayor and with all the scrutiny upon him, he could not do anything even remotely illegal if he wanted to.

  • all wards

    anyone but bowser.....I prefer gay Catania over Lesbian Bowser.

    Go Vicent Gray, He will win.h

  • councilworker

    if you were facing 15-25 years wouldn't you name the person who they really want....hell yes and let them figure it out and take the 6-18 months and still have all your money. Jeff Thompson did what anyone else faced with those years would have done...LIED!!!
    So is Hilary no to run for president, and every council member except for the one who "says" he didn't take money from Thompson to resign? HELL NO
    And the saddess day in DC would be if Bowser were ever to be elected..I SAID EVER

  • stick2yourguns

    If bowser were elected I would move to VA

  • weallknow

    Machen has the goods - mark my words. And Noodlez, the shadow campaign happened in the same building as the legitimate campaign, shared offices and everything. Hawkins had his office there as well. The legit GOTV consultant was sleeping with the Philly operative (shadow guy) and they left on vacation together the day after the primary. This will get uglier before it goes away. What nobody knew was that it was all planned before Gray even entered the campaign. Ugh!

  • councilworker

    how about the FACT that others running for mayor had shadow campaigns as well if you look at the charts each council member except 1 accepted money from Thompson...a campaign treasurer will give certain people a budget in which they are expected to go out and raise so if you going to be mad at Gray be mad at Bowser Orange and the rest

  • Captain Obvious

    @weallknow, Is spot one! Gray was given guarantees before entering the race, this was one of them. Let's keep it real.

    It's not about what you can prove in open court when it comes to right and wrong. I could care less is Machen can prove it. IT HAPPENED!

    There is enough proof to take down a lot of people and volunteers that were on the Gray campaign. They may have protected Gray enough to prevent jail time for him but probably not enough for themselves. It says a lot about a man's (Character, Integrity, & Leadership) if he'll let all of these people go down when the only person Machen really wants is him.

    But let's not kid ourselves. Thompson was facing decades and got 6-18 months. You don't get a sentence reduced that much without hard evidence. This deal was prolonged because Thompson kept pushing for no jail time. DOJ had to give in because the other guy they want was about to get re-elected. Thompson used this timing for his advantage, not DOJ.

    The irony of it all is that if Thompson would have supported Obama over Hilary, we would probably never know anything about this case. Lol.

  • Pingback: York Town Online Gaming

  • Pingback: Gambling News | The Red Wire: American Politicians For Sale – SOLD!!!

...