At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange would like to make one thing clear: He does not have a side door in his office. “People continue to think I slipped out a side door I do not have,” Orange says in a press release sent to reporters and his D.C. Council colleagues today.
Why all the attention to Orange’s entrances and exits? Last Wednesday, following a Washington Post report that Orange was talking with federal prosecutors, several reporters tried to talk to Orange in his Wilson Building office. The reporters were told that Orange was busy with meetings in his office, so they waited. When someone finally appeared to answer their questions, it was Orange’s chief of staff, James D. Brown. According to reporters who were there, the councilmember had bypassed the press and driven away.
In his story on Orange, NBC4’s Mark Segraves said Orange slipped out through a side door and got into his car. But Orange says his office doesn’t have a side door, and he wants an on-air retraction. Some people who know there’s no side door to his office think that he jumped out of a window to dodge reporters, according to Orange. “I am now the butt of jokes,” he says in the release.
Segraves tells LL he meant a side entrance to the Wilson Building, not a side door to Orange’s office suite. The distinction’s clear, at least to LL. In the video, Segraves is seen standing near both a side entrance and the street.
If Orange’s office doesn’t have a side door, and he was in meetings inside his office, how did he get by reporters? LL wasn’t there, but Orange’s release offers a theory: It wasn’t Orange getting in his car at all! In fact, it was his assistant, Stacey Lincoln. Orange was separately en route to Brookland’s San Antonio Bar & Grill.
Or at least that’s what LL thinks that the slightly garbled statement is saying: “Special Assistant to Councilmember Orange, Stacey Lincoln, who walked by the reporters, and then drove the Councilmember’s car on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 to the San Antonio Restaurant in northeast Washington to meet the Councilmember.”
Brown wouldn’t elaborate on the significance of Lincoln’s inclusion in the press release.
Orange also alleges that Segraves left a voicemail threatening him with the side-door report unless he agreed to an interview with Segraves. Again, Brown wouldn’t expand on what was in Segraves’ voicemail.
This isn’t the first time Orange has been accused of using a side door. In March 2012, a Post reporter tried to interview Orange about a plagiarized press release celebrating Dr. Seuss. “When the reporter went in looking for the council member, he was told Orange had left—apparently through a side door,” the Post‘s Tim Craig wrote at the time.
Orange’s press release and retraction request to NBC4’s managing editor.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery