Lorraine Green, a close confidante of Mayor Vince Gray, gave several hours of testimony today before a D.C. Council committee investigating the Gray administration’s hiring practices, including just how the hell Sulaimon Brown ever got a $110,000-a-year job.
Green added more to the mountain of evidence that Brown is… how should LL put it… a tad off. It seems Brown once threw a fit after being requested to sign in at the Gray transition office (“You don’t know who I am?” Brown said, according to Green). Brown also told Green he expected some type of deputy mayor for finance job in the Gray administration, with a salary in the $180,000 neighborhood, despite the fact that he was completely unqualified for such a gig.
LL feels like he’s made this point a million times already, but here goes one more time: The worse the Gray team makes Brown look, the more credibility they give to his story that he was promised a job. Why else would they have hired him?
But let’s get to the news of the day, which is that these awkward hearings are set to continue for a long, long time.
Green’s testimony came to an abrupt halt just as Councilmember David Catania started unpacking Green’s relationship with Howard Brooks, the man of mystery on the Gray campaign, who Brown says gave him cash payments (along with Green, which she denies) in return for continuing his mayoral race and bashing former Mayor Adrian Fenty.
Brooks has declined to testify to the council, citing his Fifth Amendment right to keep his mouth shut. Green says she talks to Brooks on an almost daily basis. But when Catania asked if she’d talked to Brooks about Brown’s allegations, Green’s lawyer jumped in and said his client shouldn’t answer, because her answers might impact the ongoing U.S. Attorney’s Office investigation into Brown’s claims.
Fine, said committee chairwoman Mary Cheh—when the feds are done investigating, she wants Green to come back to the council with answers. LL has no idea where the federal investigation is going (it subpoenaed all the background checks and communications between the transition and its private investigator last month), but chances are it’ll be a while before Green is answering any more of Catania’s questions. That means Gray will have to wait even longer to put this whole episode behind him.
Then there’s the Sulaimon question. He has refused to testify, despite being mailed a subpoena. So Cheh’s committee passed a resolution that allows the council’s lawyers to ask a judge to enforce its subpoenas. Former Gray political hire Cherita Whiting also ignored her subpoena today to come testify.
That legal battle, which LL fully expects the council to win without a problem, will keep this story going, and going, and going.