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Sulaimon Brown says Mayor Vince Gray got him his job as an auditor for the Department of Health Care Finance—and Councilmember David Catania lost it for him.
Those charges, and many, many others, surfaced today when Brown made a surprise appearance at the Wilson Building, just as Gray was giving a briefing to a testy press corps this afternoon, in part about Brown’s soon-to-be terminated tenure with the city. And when LL says “surprise,” he would like to take what you think that word means and multiply it by five.
Brown, as LL first reported, was escorted out of his office by the D.C. Protective Service this morning, after DHCF Director Wayne Turnage essentially fired him. (Brown will be on paid administrative leave for 15 days before his employment with the District ends. Since he makes $110,000 a year, those 15 days add up to more than $4,500.)
Turnage, who Gray left flapping in the wind with the reporters for a good 30 minutes, says he and Brown had a good conversation before Turnage left to go to the Wilson Building for a budget meeting. Turnage says he was surprised and disappointed to hear from his staff that Brown had to be escorted out of the building. Gray, too, told reporters that he’s disappointed that Brown’s hiring didn’t work out.
Cue Brown, who came into the press briefing room while Gray was answering questions about how open his administration has been. Brown took a seat, and watched until the mayor finished. Then the press, including about half a dozen TV cameras, circled round and it was party time.
Brown began by praising Gray as an “excellent mayor” and (also) expressed disappointment that he’d been unfairly fired “without respect and without dignity.”
After about a minute, Brown started tearing up, while talking about working his way through school and having a “very hard life.”
“It’s really hard to swallow for some political bullshit—for this guy to look at me and tell me that I’m not a good fit. If I wasn’t a good fit, the mayor wouldn’t have sent me there in the first place,” Brown says.
Judge for yourself, folks—here’s Brown’s resume, which Gray administration officials handed out at the press conference. LL was surprised to see the resume had no dates on it:
[scribd id=49504052 key=key-150kpxlbrq05bgkyygt9 mode=list]
When asked if he has a criminal record, Brown replied: “I have no criminal record. It was unsub… no, that’s not true.” He said there was an old trespassing conviction based on “mistaken identity” and being “railroaded” by campus police at Howard University.
Brown next called LL out by name, saying that past articles LL wrote about Brown’s past were wrong, and Brown had worked as a campus police officer for Howard and as a police officer for the “District of Columbia government.” (Later, when a reporter asked him what years he’d been a police officer, Brown said he didn’t remember and directed reporters to his city personnel record.)
Then Brown really thickened the plot by pinning the blame for his firing on Catania, who he said had “threatened” Turnage’s job if Turnage didn’t fire Brown. “It was either him or me,” Brown says, adding that he got his intel directly from Turnage himself. (A bemused Catania later told reporters outside the Wilson Building that he had only advised Turnage that Brown’s hiring would likely come up during Turnage’s confirmation hearing, scheduled for tomorrow. Catania says he’s very impressed with Turnage and doesn’t “know Brown from Oprah.”)
When asked why he had crashed the mayor’s presser, Brown said he came because he deserved to have his side of the story told “and also to be fair to the mayor.” Brown then praised Gray again, but said that he was “really disappointed” that the mayor hadn’t done more to “quell the situation.”
(At this point, if you can believe it, the mayor’s press secretary, Doxie McCoy, tried to tell reporters they could only ask Brown one more question. Request denied.)
Brown then strongly implied that the mayor himself was responsible for Brown getting his job, or at least had given his tacit approval. Asked directly if Gray had told Brown he would help him get a job, Brown replied: “I’m going to pass on that question.”
Brown also said wanted it known that he had not acted inappropriately in any way, before or during his police escort out of DHCF. LL will try and get more details on that, and several other crazy things that happened today, later.
But for today, that’s all folks.
Photo via Brown’s campaign website