Loose Lips

LL Links

New court documents shed light on alleged payment to Vince Gray's relative. [LL]

Longtime activist Jerry Clark dies at 74. [Blade, Borderstan]

Muriel Bowser bans government-funded trips to Mississippi. [City Desk]

Teacher who disputed his DCPS evaluation talks about his arbitration win. [WAMU] Read more LL Links

Feds: Gray’s ‘Close Relative’ Took $10,000 in Illicit Cash to Pay Howard Students

Here's something to chew on while you wait for the Vince Gray shadow campaign document dump on Friday. New court records reveal more about the illicit cash payment that shadow campaign financier Jeff Thompson made to a "close relative" of Gray.

The revelations come in sentencing documents for Vernon Hawkins, a top figure in the 2010 shadow campaign to elect Gray. Prosecutors say that, by allegedly misleading them about the payments to Gray's relative, Hawkins broke his plea deal.

The identity of Gray's relative, referred to by prosecutors as his "Close Relative," isn't clear. The only other information provided about the relative is that he's male. The new filings reveal that the relative declined, through his lawyer, to speak with investigators.

Three days after Gray successfully beat Adrian Fenty in the September 2010 Democratic primary, according to the new filings, Thompson was "irate" to discover that some Howard University students who worked on the campaign still hadn't been paid. In a series of exchanges with Hawkins and an unnamed "Person G," Thompson set up a payment through Gray's relative for the students.

Read more Feds: Gray’s ‘Close Relative’ Took $10,000 in Illicit Cash to Pay Howard Students

LL Links

Union protests Circulator bus maintenance problems. [WAMU]

Private ambulances hit the streets. [Post]

Muriel Bowser preps minimum wage bill. [LL]

Colby King talks youth violence. [Post]

More on the bumbling that almost kept Bernie Sanders off the primary ballot. [Times] Read more LL Links

Mendelson Cautious as Bowser Preps $15 Minimum Wage Bill

Muriel Bowser pitched a $15 minimum wage in her State of the District address, but so far, the specifics of Bowser's plan have been unclear. That's about to change, with Bowser spokesman Michael Czin telling LL the mayor will send the legislation to the D.C. Council next week.

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson will decide a lot about the legislation's fate, but for now, he's cautious on the increase. On WAMU's The Politics Hour today, Mendelson remained noncommittal about Bowser's plan.

"We haven’t seen the details of what she’s proposing," Mendelson said. "There’s a question about how it gets phased in." Read more Mendelson Cautious as Bowser Preps $15 Minimum Wage Bill

LL Links

Huge safety problems on Circulator buses, audit finds. [WTOP]

Police ID ATV and dirt bike riders. [City DeskPost, DCist]

Cabbies drag their feet on panic buttons. [WAMU]

Ward 6ers fret over homeless shelter. [Times]

Phil Mendelson on The Politics Hour. [WAMU]

Inspectors check Metro tracks. [AP] Read more LL Links

LL Links

Well-funded education reform group backs Vince Gray in Ward 7. [LL]

More on the D.C. General fight. [WAMU]

Those darns ATVs, cont'd. [NBC4]

Council passes anti-suicide bill. [Blade]

Opinion on the budget. [Post] Read more LL Links

Ed Reform Group Backs Gray, Incumbents in D.C. Council Races

Ex-Mayor Vince Gray has a new ally in his campaign to take back the Ward 7 D.C. Council seat. Announcing its endorsements for the upcoming Democratic primaries today, school reform group Democrats for Education Reform D.C. backed Gray over incumbent Yvette Alexander.

Elsewhere, DFER-D.C. endorsed Muriel Bowser favorites Brandon Todd and LaRuby May to retain the Wards 4 and 8 seats, respectively. Bowser helped fundraise for the group's affiliated PAC in July. Read more Ed Reform Group Backs Gray, Incumbents in D.C. Council Races

LL Links

D.C. Council changes its mind, bans pot clubs again. [Post, City DeskWBJ]

Judge unseals Vince Gray investigation files. [LL]

Jeff Thompson crony wants the same great deal he got. [LL]

Administrative law judge charged with attacking another [Post]

The District wins on CityCenterDC wage lawsuit. [WBJ]

Phil Mendelson clears the way for McMillan development. [City Desk] Read more LL Links

Vince Gray’s Driver Wants the Same Great Deal Jeff Thompson Got

Vince Gray (left) with Mark Long (right)

During the 2010 mayoral campaign, Mark Long drove hopeful Vince Gray in a Lincoln Navigator to campaign stops and at least one trip to McDonald's. Both Long's driving and the car were illegally funded by Jeff Thompson, the city contractor who illicitly poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into electing Gray.

Now Thompson faces a sentence of just six months under house arrest, while Long could spend as many as five years in prison. Read more Vince Gray’s Driver Wants the Same Great Deal Jeff Thompson Got

Judge Sets Stage for Big Document Release in Gray, Thompson Investigation

Get ready for a Friday document dump. Months after prosecutors closed the investigation into Vince Gray's 2010 mayoral campaign without charging him, a federal judge ordered Friday that 18 different court files related to the campaign and shadow campaign financier Jeff Thompson must be unsealed.

Judge Beryl A. Howell's order responds to a February court motion filed by the Washington Post seeking access to the previously sealed files. The files' court numbers suggest that they relate to search warrants filed between 2012, the year Thompson's home and office were raided, and 2015.

Their release could explain why the U.S. Attorney's Office gave Thompson such a generous plea deal (just six months house arrest) but failed to charge Gray. Prosecutors have until Friday to suggest redactions before the files are opened on April 15, less than two months before Gray will face off against Yvette Alexander in the Ward 7 D.C. Council primary.

Read more Judge Sets Stage for Big Document Release in Gray, Thompson Investigation