Former Council member Vincent Orange has lost one of his chief fundraisers in his campaign to lead the D.C. Council. The resignation of finance chairman George Lowe, who cited the "negative tenor of this campaign," is the second departure by a top Orange aide.
Linda Mercado Greene, who was Orange's spokeswoman, resigned from the campaign last month because of her personal history with Orange's chief Democratic rival, council member Kwame Brown.
In an e-mail to Orange and other top advisers last week, Lowe wrote that he has "given this a significant amount of thought ... and continue to arrive at the same conclusion and that is that I no longer feel comfortable with the negative tenor of this campaign and will not be a part of such."
Lowe's message came two days after the Orange campaign sent a message to supporters questioning Brown's credibility to represent the council on Wall Street in light of his personal financial troubles.
The e-mail was subtitled, "Brown Mired in Lawsuits and Debt" and followed media reports that showed that Brown has been sued by three credit-card issuers for nonpayment of more than $55,000. A subsequent Post story found that Brown's personal debt -- in part from the purchase of a boat -- exceeds $700,000
Orange said Wednesday that his message was "absolutely not negative. Our campaign is factual."
"It's clear that I will make changes to the council and I will be looking at the committees and making us more efficient and more effective," he said.
When asked about the fiscal condition of his campaign, Orange downplayed the departure, saying that the money raised was through a "committee effort" and that the campaign was moving "full-speed ahead."
Orange's campaign co-chairman, former council member Kevin Chavous, also wrote letters this week to the Greater Washington Board of Trade and the political committee of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, asking leaders to reconsider their endorsements of Brown in the wake of the revelations about his finances.
Jim Dinegar, president of the Board of Trade, said the reports were troubling and that he had requested a meeting to discuss the findings with Brown. Dinegar said he was convinced by Brown's candor and acceptance of responsibility to stick with the endorsement.
"It is disappointing. We're not pleased, but we maintain our current endorsement," Dinegar said. "If there are other pieces of information, as he told us there would not be, we reserve the right revisit our decision."