Sulaimon Brown said he is not going to testify Thursday at the D.C. Council hearing on hiring practices of Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s administration.
Brown, a former opponent of Gray in the mayoral race, was hired and then dismissed from an $110,000-a-year special assistant job in the Department of Health Care Finance.
After he was dismissed, Brown told The Washington Post that he had been promised a city job and given payments to verbally attack then-Mayor Adrian M. Fenty last year. The Washington Post has not been able to independently verify payments.
Brown, who has agreed to interviews with federal authorities and a congressional committee, called the council hearing “a witch hunt” and said there are too many conflicts of interest.
Brown was on the witness list for Thursday but confirmed to The Post by phone that he was bowing out.
“It makes no sense for me or anybody to testify,” he said.
He said council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) is a political ally of the mayor, and he said he once approached Cheh about an internship for his friend in her office. He said council member David A. Catania (I-At Large) told Wayne Turnage, director of Health Care Finance, that Brown’s hiring would be discussed at his confirmation hearing, which Brown said he believes was a factor in his termination. Catania has previously denied having any influence on Brown’s termination.
Brown, an unemployed auditor, has a lengthy history of run-ins with law enforcement, including charges of attempted murder, for which he was found not guilty. Brown’s past would likely be questioned at the hearing. Council members have questioned the administration’s vetting process.
Brown is the second witness to be a no-show Thursday. Howard Brooks, a campaign consultant to Gray who Brown alleges gave him payments, told the committee through his attorney that he would not testify at this time because he is being interviewed by the U.S. attorney’s office, according to Cheh.
Cheh said she would begin to use subpoena power to get the testimony of remaining witnesses.