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At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange’s son was improperly paid about $8,000 in D.C. unemployment benefits while working for a city contractor last year, according to several officials.
For most of the second half of 2011, Vincent Orange Jr. received regular unemployment checks from the D.C. Department of Employment Services, officials say. At the same time, he was working full time at Unity Health Care, a city contractor that provides healthcare services to the poor. The city paid Unity $33 million last year. Orange Jr. works as an assistant health center director at Unity’s clinic on Minnesota Avenue NE. His LinkedIn page indicates he began working there in June 2011 and does not show any period of unemployment for last year. By press time, Orange Jr. had not responded to a request for comment.
When D.C. residents receive unemployment benefits, they have to certify on a regular basis that they are seeking full-time employment—and are not actually employed—in order to continue receiving payments.
One official, who was not authorized to speak on the record, says the city routinely checks a national database of new hires against its unemployment rolls, which is how Orange Jr.’s name would have come up. Attorney General Irv Nathan has filed civil fraud lawsuits against 13 current or former city employees who officials say were improperly receiving unemployment benefits.
Once aware that Orange Jr. was receiving unemployment benefits, DOES requested its money back. A check was received a few days after the request, officials say.
In a statement to LL, Councilmember Orange said: “This matter was completely resolved in calendar year 2011 pursuant to normal District of Columbia policy. I am not privy to the internal affairs of my son’s household. However, I am relieved he accepted responsibility and resolved this matter promptly in 2011.”
Photo by Darrow Montgomery