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Another day, another Almost Mayor Vince Gray news conference at the Reeves Center. At today’s affair, VG introduced the staffers who have worked for him as council chairman and and will be—surprise!—working for him as mayor in nearly identical roles.
Of much more interest was Gray’s answer to LL’s question of whether he thought Still Attorney General Peter Nickles‘ pursuit of financial records from Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.‘s sports non-profit, Team Thomas, was part of a politically motivated investigation.
Gray’s full response, given with a pretty decent level of gusto:
“I happen to have been in one involving a fence, I’ve never seen an attorney general involve himself in a fence, Alan, so one can speculate that perhaps it’s politically motivated. And you may recall too that there was an investigation done that I was the only in four years to whom this law had been applied. So it’s speculation of course, but it’s informed speculation.”
Don’t know about you, but sounds like a yes to LL. (Gray didn’t mention that he eventually settled with the city, agreeing to pay $300 for breaking whatever useless rule the city has about putting fences around one’s home.)
Why this matters: After a couple months of wrangling, Thomas has been ordered by a judge to hand over financial records to Nickles’ office that show, in detail this time, who contributed to Team Thomas while he was a sitting councilmember and how that money was spent.
The catch is that Thomas doesn’t have to hand over the records until Jan. 8, by which time Gray will be mayor and a new A.G. will be installed. Will said next A.G. take Thomas’ records, put them in a drawer, and never speak of them again? No one asked Gray that specifically, but Gray did say he wants an A.G. who’s “responsive to the people” and conducts fair, objective and speedy investigations.
Reached by phone, Nickles wasn’t amused, saying Gray’s comment’s about the fence and Team Thomas investigation “demean the office” he’s about to take. Nickles also pointed out that the argument that his investigation of Team Thomas is politically motivated has fallen flat in court, twice.
“This is a serious matter … [Thomas] solicited in excess of $200,000 illegally,” says Nickles.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery