City Paperhas learned that federal authorities have subpoenaed three or four private clients of Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans and his firm, NSE Consulting LLC. The subpoenas ask for all documents and information about Evans’ work.
The news of the client subpoenas are in addition to a subpoena first reported by the Washington Post and represent a wider probe into the veteran councilmember’s private dealings.
Evans’ attorney Mark Tuohey confirmed the additional subpoenas Monday, telling City Paper, “Councilmember Evans advised the General Counsel of the DC Council of his outside employment and any work that Jack performed was permitted by Council rules.” Tuohey says there were three or four private clients, who he did not name.
Tuohey, a former prosecutor and high profile defense attorney, also commented on the Post’s report that Evans and his Council staff had used the official Council email system to send out job solicitation offers to private law firms. “It was human error and a mistake that was not [Evans’] normal practice,” Tuohey says. The emails touted Evans’ influence as a veteran councilmember who chairs the powerful Finance and Revenue Committee, his extensive knowledge of and contacts with powerful people, and his chairmanship of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
City Paper also was first to report Monday that Council Chairman Phil Mendelson has consulted the Council’s own rules and legislative lawyer about what, if any, actions the chairman should take in this unfolding story.
The initial subpoena first reported by the Post was sent to the D.C. government itself, asking for any documents it had involving the city and Councilmember Evans regarding businessman Donald E. MacCord. A few years ago, MacCord’s company sought to erect dozens of digital billboards in downtown D.C. When he ran into regulatory hurdles, Evans drafted—but did not introduce—legislation that would have waived some of the hurdles.
Media outlets have reported that MacCord offered Evans enticements of stock ownership, $50,000 for Evans’ private consulting, and even an internship for Evans’ son. Evans has said his son did not take the job and that any inducements were returned as soon as they were received.
Chairman Mendelson earlier this year told City Paper that some of Evans’ actions were “smelly,” but that Mendelson was not aware of any law violations. Some critics of Evans have called on the chairman to at least temporarily remove Evans from his post as chairman of the Finance and Revenue Committee. The controversy also has increased calls that councilmembers, who are paid about $140,000 a year, be denied outside employment. Most councilmembers do not have side businesses.
MacCord, in a separate legal action, has since been charged in a lawsuit by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission. The lawsuit, filed in Seattle, charges that MacCord raised about $4.5 million from investors for his proposed digital business, but that MacCord and a business associate lavished about $2 million dollars on themselves with luxury goods and travel. MacCord has denied wrongdoing.