Gray Day for D.C. Council Chair - NBC4 Washington

Gray Day for D.C. Council Chair

Two reports suggest trouble for Gray



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    Vincent Gray

    Some District residents have visions of Vincent Gray riding into the 2010 D.C. mayoral race on a magnificent stallion and snatching the District's top political office away from Adrian Fenty.

    Well, it looks like Gray's stallion might have turned into a donkey after a Washington Times report published Wednesday morning. The Times reported that "a politically connected megadeveloper that works with city agencies arranged for what he says were minor repairs and prepared plans to renovate his home last summer."

    On Capitol Hill today to testify on city issues, Gray told reporters he had done nothing wrong. He said he has known the president of the big construction company "for a long time" and sought his help and advice his remodeling projects. Gray contended he paid the "same as anyone else" would have paid for the work. But one council member told News4 privately today that "Gray still has a lot of explaining to do."

    And with that, the D.C. Council chairman's mayoral run may be over before it even began.

    DC Council Chairman Facing Ethics Questions

    [DC] DC Council Chairman Facing Ethics Questions
    The chairman of the d.c. Council is facing ethics questions tonight over thousands of dollars in repairs done to his home.
    (Published Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009)

    Gray was seen as the most viable potential candidate to dethrone Fenty next fall. Now, Gray had better hope someone doesn't run against him as chairman of the Council.

    The Times reported that Gray struck a deal with William C. Smith & Co. to do some repairs and renovations at his southeast Washington home, even though such work is not part of what the company normally does. What the company has in its portfolio, however, is about $300 million in real estate development east of the Anacostia -- which is the area Gray represents.

    On Tuesday, Mr. Gray's office said that William C. Smith & Co. supervised and received a payment of $5,051.04 for work at Mr. Gray's home in July and August, including power-washing his driveway, painting his family room and installing wiring for a television. Mr. Gray said he paid the company an additional $5,000 for "architectural services for proposed renovation."

    Mr. Gray confirmed that he did not pay for the work until this month -- after The Washington Times began asking employees of William C. Smith & Co. about the work, and a month after the paper filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking permits on the property. He declined to show any invoices or receipts.

    The paper said Gray told them that the son of the company's founder is a longtime friend and that the contractor was chosen because of their personal relationship.

    Was this a special deal done as a favor to Gray? Was it something that ordinary citizens in the city couldn't get? Gray will have some explaining to do on that issue.

    Meanwhile, the Post also has some dirt on Gray.

    D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) used council stationery to solicit a $20,000 contribution from Comcast to help pay for Democratic Party activities at last year's national convention, prompting questions about whether his actions might have violated campaign finance and ethics laws.

    Gray's written request, which apparently resulted in a $10,000 contribution, surfaced as part of an ongoing ethics probe into how the D.C. Democratic State Committee raised money last year and whether those donations were accurately reported to the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics.

    Whoops. It's been one heck of a day for Vincent Gray.