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Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans used a chunk of his legal defense fund to pay the private investigations firm started by City Paper’s first Loose Lips columnist, Ken Cummins,according to Evans’ most recent legal defense committee filing.
Cummins says Don Dinan, the treasurer for Evans legal defense fund, hired his firm to review petitions submitted to the Board of Elections in an effort to recall Evans from office. The $4,200 that it cost to pay interns working at Cummins’ firm turned out to be some of the best money Evans has spent. The BOE determined that the recall effort fell short of the 5,000 signatures needed and threw out the petition. But Evans will likely be forced off the Council by a vote of his fellow lawmakers later this month anyway, unless he resigns first.
The payment to Cummins’ firm, along with the $6,000 Evans paid Ankura Consulting Group, is the sum total of expenditures from Evans’ legal defense fund. Evans’ attorney, Mark Tuohey, previously declined to tell LL what the $6,000 paid for.
Evans has taken in a total of $18,200 to help with his legal bills since September, when he opened the legal defense committee. He has just under $8,000 in the bank.
Attorneys Tuohey and Abbe Lowell have represented Evans during the D.C. Council’s investigation into the lawmaker’s private business dealings. Lawyers with the firm O’Melveny and Myers concluded that Evans repeatedly violated ethics rules through his private consulting work. Evans has disputed the firm’s conclusions.
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Evans is also under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He has not been charged with a crime.
Evans’ most recent legal defense fund report, which covers Dec. 2, 2019, through Jan. 1, 2020, shows contributions totaling $4,200, including $2,000 from Corbett Price.
Price is the former Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority board member who attempted to help Evans cover up the Ward 2 rep’s ethics violations while he served as chair of the Metro board. The Metro investigation is separate from the Council’s ethics investigation.
Both Evans and Price falsely claimed the Metro board’s ethics committee had cleared Evans of wrongdoing. Evans resigned from his position as Metro board chairman in June. Price resigned from the board in August.
Also chipping in to help pay Evans’ legal bills last month was “bombastic and bigoted” former Shaw neighborhood commissioner, Leroy Thorpe Jr., along with his wife, Aissatou Drame. They each kicked in $100, and both signed onto a letter supporting Evans entitled, “The Jack We Know.“
Samuel Jon Gerstenfeld, CEO of SJG Properties gave $2,000.
Evans’ wealthy friends, developers, business types, and one former congressman previously contributed to his legal defense, according to the committee’s September report. Dupont Circle Business Improvement District founder and CEO of a real estate firm Michael Kain gave $2,000. Chair of the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities Kay Kendall, and her husband, Monumental Sports partner Jack Davis, each gave $2,000. Real estate developer Herb Miller and his wife Patrice also contributed $2,000 a piece. And former Tennessee congressman Barton Gordon gave $200.