City Paper is not for tourists
Federal prosecutors say Vince Gray attempted to convince one of his 2010 mayoral rivals to drop out of the race, possibly in exchange for a government job, according to court papers filed today.
The allegation comes in a criminal filing against Mark Long, Gray’s 2010 campaign driver. Long is charged with conspiring to cover up businessman Jeff Thompson‘s off-the-books shadow campaign for Gray.
The complaint against Long, embedded at the bottom of this post, reiterates the allegation that Thompson, through crony Jeanne Clarke Harris, paid for Long’s work as Gray’s campaign driver, as well as for the Lincoln Navigator that Gray used. Long faces five years in prison on the charge, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
But the complaint against Long raises a new allegation against the pseudonymous “Mayoral Candidate A,” whom prosecutors have named in court as Gray. In the charge, Gray is described as attempting to convince “Mayoral Candidate C,” who resembles 2010 hopeful Leo Alexander, to drop out of the race to boost Gray’s prospects against Adrian Fenty.
Gray spokeswoman Doxie McCoy declined to comment on the new allegations. During his failed re-election bid, Gray repeatedly said he had not known about the crimes being committed on his behalf during the 2010 campaign.
Long allegedly arranged for a meeting between by Gray and Alexander at an unnamed Maryland “residence.” At Harris’ request, the meeting took place outside of the District.
Alexander confirms that he’s the other mayoral candidate described in the complaint. In April 2013, Gray admitted in a Washington Post story to meeting with Alexander in Prince George’s County to convince him to leave the race. Gray denied doing anything illegal during the meeting.
Long didn’t witness the meeting between Alexander and Gray. But according to the complaint, Gray allegedly told Long that Alexander wanted a job in Gray’s administration in exchange for leaving the race and endorsing him.
Alexander didn’t want to talk long with LL, citing meetings he’s had with FBI agents. Still, he described the meeting with Gray.
“We discussed a position and we discussed campaign-debt relief,” Alexander says.
Offers of a position in Gray’s administration echo Sulaimon Brown, the longshot 2010 candidate who became a front for Gray during debates after receiving payments from the mayor’s associates. After Gray won, Brown received a job in the Department of Health Care Finance, only to be pushed out after the deal became public.
After the meeting with Alexander, Gray’s campaign allegedly gave $20,000 to one of Harris’ front companies that was intended to be used to help Alexander. The complaint specifically mentions Gray submitting an Office of Campaign Finance report that included a bogus reason for the expense.
Ultimately, Alexander stayed in the race and received less than 1 percent of the vote. Harris’ company refunded the $20,000 to the campaign.
Long also allegedly received $100,000 in illicit help from Thompson for his own failed 2008 D.C. Council run. He’ll appear at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow in front of Superior Court Judge Anita Josey-Herring, the same judge who sentenced Thompson shadow campaign recipient Jeff Smith to two months in jail last week.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery