UPDATE 12:50 p.m.:
The D.C. Council will open its own investigation into Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, according to Chairman Phil Mendelson. Evans will also be removed as the chair of the powerful Committee on Finance and Revenue.
Mendelson tells LL that the Council will form an ad hoc investigation committee, but he is unsure of who he will appoint to do the investigation. Mendelson has the option of appointing one or multiple councilmembers. He says he’s also considering hiring an outside law firm to investigate. The Council cannot take any action until early July because the rules require sufficient notice.
When the Council reprimanded Evans earlier this year, Councilmembers David Grosso, Elissa Silverman, and Brianne Nadeau called for an ad-hoc committee to do this work. In a closed-door meeting in March, Mendelson urged against a Council investigation into Evans, opting instead to allow federal law enforcement to complete their probe without interference.
In light of the recent revelations that Evans violated ethical rules as chairman of the Metro board, Mendelson sticks by his decision to initially play it slow.
“What I thought at the time was that if there was more [information], then we would do more,” Mendelson tells LL today. “And I think this is more.”
He says he has spoken to Evans today, but declined to give any details of that conversation.
Original story follows:
Jack Evans’ neighbors awoke around 6 a.m. to hear federal agents pounding on the door of the Ward 2 councilmember. Agents closed the 3100 block of P Street NW to traffic and were seen carrying boxes out of Evans’ home. Federal authorities have been investigating Evans and his relationship with clients of his consulting firm for more than a year. Yesterday, Evans announced that he will leave the WMATA Board of Directors effective June 27 after an investigation found that he had violated multiple ethics rules while serving as chairman of the board.
An agent on the scene told Kate Blackwell, a neighbor, that Evans was not in his home as of 9 a.m. Friday. He was supposedly waiting in a car for the scene to calm down. Mark Tuohey, Evans’ attorney, left the scene without commenting.
Reached by phone Friday morning, Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh called the situation with Evans “very distressing.” “The record of corruption is stark and undeniable,” she said, adding that she felt a sense of betrayal as a colleague—Evans had previously told her he’d been cleared in the WMATA ethics investigation and she congratulated him for it. She believes the Council should censure Evans and take his committee away from him entirely. “He should be in a position where he has no influence.”
This is a developing story. We will update this post as we learn new information.