Jack Evans, the longest-serving member of the D.C. Council, will resign from office two business days before the Council was expected to expel him amid findings of multiple ethics violations.
Evans remained silent at the Council's breakfast meeting and Tuesday's legislative session, but as the session was ending, he handed Council Chairman Phil Mendelson a letter saying he will leave office on Jan. 17.
"After nearly 30 years of public service to the District of Columbia, I have advised the Board of Elections that I resign my position as the Ward 2 Councilmember on the Council of the District of Columbia," he wrote.
"I am proud of the contributions I have made in helping to create a vibrant city," the Ward 2 Democrat continued, with no mention of the ethics findings.
“I think it’s a very sad moment,” Mendelson said. “I also think it’s the appropriate set of actions that are occurring.”
The Council was set to vote Jan. 21 on whether to remove him from office.
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Evans declined to comment Tuesday.
“To me it was a big surprise,” said community activist Adam Eidinger, who led a petition effort to remove Evans from office. “I’m relieved he’s finally doing the right thing.”
In a historic vote, D.C. Council members voted 12-0 on Dec. 3 to recommend Evans' expulsion. The Council had never voted to expel a council member.
"If we don't expel, what rises to the level of expulsion? We're saying this is acceptable," Council member Elissa Silverman said. "I don't think we should pass the buck to voters. This is about us."
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said last month that she supported the Council's decision.
"Throughout this investigation, I have called on the Council to be fair and urgent in their considerations, but to act quickly to regain the public’s trust in the Council as an institution," she said in a statement. "As a former member of the Council and now mayor, I stand by them as they make these very difficult decisions.”
Evans, who is under federal investigation, previously fought an attempt to have him recalled from office. He filed a challenge to a petition calling for his recall, alleging more than a third of the collected signatures are invalid.
A 97-page report issued in November found that Evans repeatedly violated the Council's code of conduct and accepted outside income from 10 companies.
Evans violated the D.C. Council ethics rules 11 times since 2014 and earned $400,000 from clients who were deemed "prohibited sources," according to the investigation by a law firm the council hired.
One such client was Colonial Parking. According to the report, Evans worked to block proposed tax increases that would have impacted Colonial Parking.
The report also found that Evans acted repeatedly to support the merger between Pepco and Exelon. At the same time, he tried to get a job with the law firm handling the merger and the report says Evans did get the job after the merger was approved.
A previous investigation found that Evans, who served as chairman of the Metro Board, violated Metro ethics. He stepped down from his post on the board when that chairmanship expired, acknowledging that he didn't disclose a profitable conflict of interest.
Evans was first elected in 1991.
The Board of Elections will schedule a special election to fill the vacancy. That must happen within 174 days. It is possible for Evans to run to regain his seat.