D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray has yet to officially toss his hat into the ring and run for mayor, but he is already the center of political controversy.
Now he is at the center of a city investigation for possible improper fundraising and for work done on his home by a city contractor.( Tue Dec 08 18:00:50 PST 2009 $__output )
The city's consumer affairs office ordered Gray to obtain permits for $10,000 in repairs done by the W.C. Smith Company. According to WTOP Radio, the Office of Campaign Finance is reviewing the expenses as a potential conflict of interest. Click here to read the DCRA's letter to Gray.
Gray is also being investigated for using official city stationary for political fundraising. Last year, he sought $20,000 in donations with the official letter to help pay delegate expenses at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
In a statement released Tuesday morning, Gray wrote, "I will cooperate fully with this investigation to separate the facts from false inferences, conjecture and speculation. I welcome this investigation, even though I have engaged in absolutely no favoritism nor knowingly skirted any regulations or laws."
Gray, who is weighing a potential run for mayor next year against Adrian Fenty, has denied any wrongdoing.
The full text of Gray's statement is below:
"I am announcing that the Office of Campaign Finance (OCF) of the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics, the agency that is statutorily charged with interpreting and enforcing local conflict of interest laws for public officials, has informed me it has initiated an investigation of whether I may have violated two conflict of interest statutes.
OCF is examining an August 18, 2008 letter I wrote to assist the D.C. Democratic State Committee in raising funds for the Denver national convention where the District’s delegation would be raising awareness about voting rights. In question is whether I should have used Council stationery for that purpose.
The Office of Campaign Finance also is looking into news reports involving repairs on my home that falsely insinuate that I traded votes for favors.
I will cooperate fully with this investigation to separate the facts from false inferences, conjecture and speculation. I welcome this investigation, even though I have engaged in absolutely no favoritism nor knowingly skirted any regulations or laws. A record of my votes involving the company in question is below.
In addition, I have received a letter from the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs indicating they are reviewing the possibility that permits were required for work on my home.
I have stated publicly that I was unaware any permits were required, and if they were, I left the determination and application to the judgment of the experts that performed the work.
Should any investigation reveal any honest mistakes and call for remedies, I will readily correct them to be in compliance.
In the meantime, I still have been presented with no facts and no evidence to substantiate reports of alleged improprieties."