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Nut Job

Sulaimon Brown's crazy act means we may never get to the bottom of the mayor's hiring scandal.

It’s looking more and more like we may never know the truth behind an alleged pay-for-play scheme involving Mayor Vincent Gray. His accuser, Sulaimon Brown, all but nailed shut his own coffin when he testified before the DC Council.

Not only did he look crazy, he also lobbed insult after insult during a hearing looking into allegations he was paid-off and promised a job by the Gray campaign. Brown did provide some new information about the alleged scheme, but at this point it’s nearly impossible to tell just who is telling the truth.

The hearing couldn’t have gone better for Mayor Gray. The next day, he pounced on the opportunity at a press conference.

"I will leave for those in this room, and those who are watching, the opportunity to weigh and judge the credibility of what you heard and the motives of the individuals who are testifying," Gray told reporters.

In other words, Sulaimon Brown acted like a damn fool, and he did so for all to see.

Add to the mix the fact that Mary Cheh’s hearings have gone completely nowhere. A court order was the only way to get Brown to testify. Before that, former Gray Chief of Staff Lorraine Green refused to answer any tough questions. Both campaign consultant Howard Brooks and his son have pleaded the Fifth Amendment to avoid self-incrimination, and unfortunately, the Council has given Mayor Gray a free pass to avoid testifying.

Sulaimon Brown certainly testified, and then some. While some of his answers were spotty, he also provided details about conversations he claimed to have had with the mayor himself. He even directly implicated the mayor for ordering payments.

The Council has since ordered Sulaimon Brown to turn over money order documents he claims proves he was paid off. At this point, they may be the only factual links to Gray and his former campaign staff. That is if they are factual documents.

Sadly, the only thing we know for sure is that Mayor Vincent Gray signed off on giving Sulaimon Brown a high-paying job in his administration, which still begs the question as to why he would give a six-figure job to a former political rival if that former political rival didn’t do something for him first. Mayor Gray still won’t talk, at least not to the Council.

"My reputation, which I have built over the past 40 years, as you might imagine, is exceedingly important to me," Gray told reporters on Tuesday. He doesn’t seem to realize that his reputation is already tainted, whether the truth comes out or not.

It’s also hard to argue against Sulaimon Brown’s claims about the DC Council investigation being a complete sham. Then again, it takes one to know one.

Lawrence June 12, 2011 at 05:02 PM
Doug, I read your articles all the time and usually agree, but this time I do not agree with you. I watched the hearings and Sulaimon Brown did not come across as crazy or a nut job. Insults were first launched by David Cantania and followed up by other council members. This story about Brown has ran since the end of January and its now June. It was the first time Mr. brown has worn shades after countless interviews on TV and print media. In my opinion its a substance over form issue. In form he is different, but the substance of his argument that mayor Gray or his staff promised him a job seems pretty sound, because he did get the job and has money orders the Washington Post has linked to those close to gray.
Doug Parrish June 12, 2011 at 05:58 PM
Thanks for the comment, Lawrence. It was clear to me that neither Sulaimon nor the Council took the hearing seriously. All parties involved were in bad form. Until someone steps up and becomes a leader in this investigation, it's likely to be swept under the rug. It's a pretty sad showing of accountability on all fronts.
debbie June 12, 2011 at 10:05 PM
they're all crooks in my book.

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