(Washington, DC) Today Mayor Vincent C. Gray held a press briefing to address head on the allegations about campaign improprieties related to Sulaimon Brown, as reported in the Washington Post. Mayor Gray stated that the news was “surprising, shocking and appalling” and inconsistent with what he knows about his campaign for Mayor.
In speaking about the allegation of promising a job, Mayor Gray stated emphatically that he did not promise employment to Brown in exchange for support to the Gray campaign. He further stated that Brown did not work for his campaign, was not a campaign surrogate, and no one from the campaign encouraged any of his actions or statements on the campaign trail.
Gray indicated that he only agreed to give Brown fair consideration. Gray also stated that he promised others who approached him during the campaign the same consideration. On the questions of cash payments, Gray said he knew nothing about payments to Brown and strongly doubted that any such actions occurred.
To ensure public trust and transparency, Mayor Gray has asked the Attorney General Irvin Nathan and the Council of the District of Columbia, through Chairman Kwame Brown, to quickly investigate the allegations of campaign improprieties involving Sulaimon Brown. Gray welcomed other external reviews including ones by the Office Inspector General and the Office of Campaign Finance.
Gray stated, “It’s important that we know for certain what has transpired relative to my campaign and Sulaimon Brown, and that the people of the District of Columbia have complete trust in their government. The reported allegations of payments to Mr. Brown are reprehensible.”
Mayor Gray acknowledged that there have been early missteps in his new administration, but that he has taken and will continue to take steps to shore up the functions of his executive office. Last week, Gray ordered a top down review of all recent and future hires in the Excepted Service. The implementation of more extensive background checks will mirror the level of rigorous review that cabinet members undergo.
The Mayor also said that he learned from Wayne Turnage, Director of Health Care Finance, that he accepted the resignation of Talib Karim, Chief of Staff.
“I take full responsibility for the missteps in our first 60 days,” said Mayor Gray. “We’ve also hired some very good managers and have done some very good things. But we cannot solve our problems if people do not have trust in their government. I am focused on ensuring fiscal stability, quality education and jobs for D.C. residents. I do not want to spend time on distractions because we have a lot of work to do.”
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