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D.C. loves a comeback. And with Kwame “Fully Loaded” Brown‘s track record of foibles, scandals, slip-ups, and oopsy daisies, there’s hardly a better candidate than the former Council chair.
After pleading guilty to bank fraud and receiving one-day jail sentence (and a court-ordered 11 p.m. curfew ahead of his sentencing); after “Navigatorgate” put taxpayers on the hook for two “fully loaded” Lincoln Navigator SUV leases because Brown wanted black, not gray, seats; after the lawsuits for unpaid personal debt; and after the $240,000 in campaign funds that were funneled to his brother’s firm, Kwame Brown has reemerged for some real talk.
In a video posted to Facebook earlier this week, Brown appears sitting behind a shiny news desk, alongside a mini Muhammad Ali statue, to tease his forthcoming news talk show, Always Real Talk.
Brown kicks off with news of the end to the federal government shutdown.
“Some say that if it wasn’t for the safety of their country, and the hit to the American economy, the government would still be shut down,” Brown tells his viewers. “But no, a special thank you to the real hero—the American people—who demanded more and better from our government.”
Speaking of demanding more and better from our government, the city paid $1,963.28 a month to lease just one of Brown’s Navigators at a time when the city was reportedly facing a $600 million budget deficit. Taxpayers also paid an extra $1,600 fee to have the Navi delivered in time for his swearing-in ceremony, City Paper previously reported.
“No one we spoke to thought people should be a pawn for the president who wanted money for a wall, fence, border or whatever you want to call it,” Brown continues in the video, which has been viewed nearly 3,000 times.
The former chairman says he will host experts who will speak on national and local issues, and adds that a mobile app is forthcoming. The website he plugs, alwaysrealtalk.com, isn’t live yet. You can expect episodes every Thursday starting Feb. 17. “Because if it’s Always Real Talk,” Brown says. “You know, it’s gonna be real.”
It’s been a few years since Brown was making headlines. Aside from a request to loosen his home detention so he could take a group of high school students on a college recruitment trip to North Carolina in 2013 (which was denied), he’s flown under the radar.
So what’s he after?
The video apparently sparked some speculation of a Council comeback during a Ward 7 Democrats meeting last Saturday, says former Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander.
Asked whether Brown has a shot at a Council seat in 2020, Alexander says “anything is possible in Ward 7. For an At-Large seat … not a chance!”
But to take the Ward 7 seat in 2020, Brown would likely have to defeat a strong incumbent in Councilmember Vince Gray,who may be a bit long in the tooth, but is certainly working like a man who wants another term.
Chuck Thies, Gray’s former campaign manager who has sparred with Brown in the past, is less optimistic about the ex-chairman’s chances at a successful comeback campaign.
“He became known as Fully Loaded,” Thies says. “Michael Brown and Harry Thomas never got a nickname. That evokes an image.”
Fred Cooke, the local attorney who has represented Brown during his legal troubles, doesn’t believe Brown is looking to re-enter politics, though he says he hasn’t specifically asked.
Whether Brown is testing the waters for a Council comeback or is looking to earn some redemption (and perhaps a new moniker) by shouting from the sidelines is a question only he can answer.
Efforts to get in touch with Kwame “Real Talk” Brown were unsuccessful, but LL will update this post if he hears back.