Council member Jack Evans made a surprise statement to the D.C. Council Tuesday demanding an opportunity to defend himself before a vote to strip him of a powerful committee post.
Evans, who also serves as the chairman of the Metro board, has faced investigations and allegations for months over whether he used his positions for personal gain. Metro's ethics investigation found he committed "multiple" ethics violations, and the FBI searched his home Friday.
Evans asked to be heard near the end of the regularly scheduled D.C. Council breakfast meeting.
“I have a right to present my side of the story,” he said.
In the wake of Council Chairman Phil Mendelson recommending Evans be stripped of his chairmanship on the council’s finance committee, Evans read from a written statement.
“I believe that if my colleagues hear my side of the story, and I respond to all of your questions, you will not take any action at this time,” he said.
“Taking away a council member’s committee is a drastic action,” he added.
Evans provided few details about what his defense will be but did call into question the memo written by a law firm hired by the Metro’s ethics committee that sparked many of the calls for him the be sanctioned.
“I am available starting right now and for however long it takes to answer any questions,” Evans said.
Following the Metro ethics memo and the FBI search Council member Mary Cheh told reporters she felt Evans betrayed her and the public. Tuesday she said she’s ready to hear his side of the story.
“I’m really hoping, I’m rooting for him to be able to explain what that memorandum claimed,” she said.
When asked Wednesday if he's being treated fairly by his colleagues, Evans paraphrased a line from "The Godfather Part II."
"This is the profession I’ve chosen, so whether it's fair or unfair, who knows?" he said. "But I just want an opportunity to be able to address some of the concerns that people have raised."
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He is expected to speak at Metro's ethics committee meeting Thursday.
Evans will meet with his council colleagues next Tuesday to answer their questions. The council will decide if he should be sanctioned the following week.