DMV Daily: Sulaimon Strikes Back

Brown says hiring was quid pro quo

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBCWashington.com
    Sulaimon Brown listen's to the mayor's news conference the day he was escorted from his office.

    Sulaimon Brown continues to make D.C. politics entertaining.

    The former mayoral candidate and short-time high-paid District employee told TBD’s Bruce DePuyt Monday that Mayor Vincent Gray was behind his hiring -- and said he got the job as thanks for his pro-Gray cheerleading during last year’s debates. “It was known by the mayor months ago that he was going to give me an appointment,” Brown said. “I helped him out and then he turned around and tried to help me out by getting me a job.”

    From there, Brown lurched into the arena of paranoia. He accused both Gray and At-Large Councilmember David Catania of lying about his hiring, and also said the “Gray spin machine fabricated the documents” related to his alleged stalking of a 13-year-old girl four years ago. Referring to Gray, Brown said, “Nothing happens in Washington, D.C., that he doesn’t know about.”

    Elsewhere in the DMV:

    * Interim At-Large D.C. Councilmember Sekou Biddle is trying to narrow the field in the April 26 special election for his job. Biddle supporters are challenging the ballot access petitions of Republican Pat Mara and fellow Democrats Jacque Patterson and Bryan Weaver. (On Twitter, Weaver wryly asks Biddle, “I am guessing this is why I didn't get the follow up email for Sunday morning basketball?”) Why these three? Patterson and Weaver are the closest to the 3,000-signature cutoff, while Mara, as the only Republican in a field full of Democrats, offers a rare GOP threat.

    A supporter of Democratic candidate Joshua Lopez is also challenging Mara’s signatures. The hard-working Lopez is making inroads among the District’s Latino voters, and as a former Adrian Fenty loyalist, his campaign may feel Mara is the main rival for ex-Fenty voters.

    * Gray will be on Capitol Hill today to talk school vouchers before the House Oversight Committee subcommittee dealing with D.C. affairs. It could get interesting, as it will be freshman Rep. Trey Gowdy’s first time in the big chair as D.C.’s “House overlord.”

    * Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells concludes that the District Department of Public Works “routinely violated city law by buying and leasing sport-utility vehicles, including when it procured two ‘fully loaded’ Lincoln Navigators for Council Chairman Kwame Brown,” the Washington Examiner reports. Wells, who chairs the committee dealing with DPW, told the paper, “This goes back to the previous administration and the previous council. My job now is to make sure the laws are followed and that we’re spending our money wisely.”

    The Georgetown Dish says Wells’s report, available here, shows “chaotic management of the District’s fleet cars and many, many apparently-illegal gas guzzling SUVs,” and says “Brown ‘inappropriately requested’ one and then two SUVs.” Washington City Paper says Gray has ordered City Administrator Allen Lew “to investigate just how it came to pass that the District passed a law prohibiting the District government from leasing or buying SUVs and then promptly ignored that law.”

    * Sinclair Skinner, the Friend of Fenty who got some sweet city contracts when his ex-frat brother was mayor, is now alleging that Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham may have had a role in the bribery scandal involving Graham’s ex-top aide, Ted Loza. In a news release that didn’t seem prompted by anything in particular, Skinner wrote, “While many are paying close attention to Mayor Vince Gray’s hiring policies, and the color of Council chair Kwame Brown’s SUV interior, Councilman Jim Graham’s former chief of staff goes to jail for taking a gratuity from a lobby, and no one bats an eye to see if Graham had any criminal involvement in the matter.”

    Asked about the release by the Washington Post, Graham said, “I don’t want to dignify this outlandish statement with a comment.”

    * The Examiner reports Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh will today introduce a bill “that would require the mayor to adopt a ‘workplace wellness plan’ that would encourage employees to take exercise breaks and eat healthier food while in the office.”

    * The Post reports that, as expected, Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart will announce his plans to seek re-election today. Stewart is a likely Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, but has said he will focus on this year’s election before making a decision about 2012.

    * The Washington Times says Maryland same-sex marriage opponents expect current legislation to be passed and signed into law, so they are “directing their efforts to a referendum that would delay implementation of the measure until December 2012 at the earliest.” Senate Minority Leader Nancy Jacobs “suggested that the option of taking the issue to a public vote was one reason why the bill passed the Senate last week with scant opposition.”

    * Maryland Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene Joshua Sharfstein, formerly of the Food and Drug Administration, brought a federal attitude about medical marijuana with him to Annapolis. He says he opposes legislation to legalize marijuana use for medicinal purposes, calling the current legislation too vague. The O’Malley Administration supported a similar bill last year.

    * Maryland Reporter writes that Maryland Republican delegates “will be offering their annual dose of ‘tough medicine’ in the form of perhaps $1 billion in budget cuts” today, but their budget proposal isn’t expected to go anywhere.

    * Unsuck D.C. Metro writes that Green Mountain Coffee has gotten the message that you can’t drink coffee on Metro.

    * And finally, a correction. Gray’s office points out to me that 70 percent of One City Summer Youth Employment Program jobs will be for posts outside the District government -- meaning there will be only about 3,600 make-work government jobs created this summer, not 12,000 as I wrote in my column yesterday. The other 8,400 jobs will merely have taxpayers acting as a job placement agent.

    Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitter at @PJOinDC