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Federal investigators have been looking into at-large Councilmember Vincent Orange‘s 2011 campaign for a while now, but their activities heated up yesterday. First, the Post reported that Orange had met with prosecutors. Then, his chief of staff told reporters camped outside the councilmember’s office that Orange’s campaign had received subpoenas from the feds.
So, what could the feds be looking at? Take your pick.
There’s Orange’s 2011 campaign, which allegedly shared personnel and financiers of the 2010 shadow campaign to elect Mayor Vince Gray. In his victory speech, Orange thanked Vernon Hawkins, one of reputed operators of the shadow campaign. Last September, the FBI interviewed at least one former Orange aide about what role Hawkins and Jeanne Clarke Harris, another shadow campaign figure, played in the campaign. Harris, a longtime associate of alleged shadow campaign financier Jeffrey Thompson, resurfaced last week when former councilmember Michael Brown said she helped him avoid disclosing $20,000 in campaign donations from an unnamed local businessman.
There’s also the matter of Sam Wang Produce, a food wholesaler near Union Market. Orange is so close with Sang Oh Choi, Sam Wang’s owner and an Orange campaign donor, that he pulled rank earlier this year on Department of Health inspectors who wanted to shut down the business over a rat infestation.
Yesterday, WUSA9’s Bruce Johnson tweeted that investigators are looking into a $60,000 “consultant” payment from a “NE Produce company” that also donated to Orange’s campaign. Choi’s attorney, A. Scott Bolden, told the Post yesterday that the Chois have received a subpoena.
Choi was out for the day yesterday when LL called his produce business. Attempts to reach him at Sang Oh & Company, his development company that’s registered as a city Certified Business Enterprise, were not returned.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery