Kwame Brown May Have Violated Law: SUV Report

By Tom Sherwood
|  Monday, Feb 28, 2011  |  Updated 8:35 PM EDT
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D.C. officials may have broken the law by leasing more than 40 SUVs to city employees, including Council Chairman <a title=Kwame Brown." />

Tom Sherwood

D.C. officials may have broken the law by leasing more than 40 SUVs to city employees, including Council Chairman Kwame Brown.

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A scathing report released Monday morning says that D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown appears to have violated the law by requesting a luxury SUV Lincoln Navigator, and that former mayor Adrian Fenty's administration violated the law by getting it for him.

The report is by D.C. Council member Tommy Wells, who is chairman of the committee that oversees the city's public works department.

The Wells report says that, in total, the city government has as many as 42 leased SUVs that violate city laws because they are not used for police or rescue purposes.

A 2004 D.C. law says that vehicles not used by law enforcement or fire personnel must have an EPA mileage rating of 22 miles per gallon or better.  Gray's administration is not the first to ignore this law: in addition to his famous Smart Car, former-mayor Adrian Fenty also retained an SUV for tranportation.

Wells said he will hold a hearing later in March to explore details of the 42 leases, some of which predate the Gray administration. He also said some city officials may inappropriately be using drivers rather than driving themselves.  Another city statute says only the mayor is allowed to have a driver on the city's payroll.

Kwame Brown declined to meet with reporters, but released written statement.  "I agree that the procurement process requires a top to bottom review," he wrote, "and trust that the committee will make the necessary recommendations for changes when the final report is issued."

Mayor Vincent Gray told NBC4 that an in-depth review of the city's vehicle fleet would be launched.

"We are going to look at every vehicle," Gray said.

You can read the Wells report here.

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