The federal raids earlier this month targeting businessman Jeffrey E. Thompson have, if nothing else, highlighted just how small this town can be.
Aside from the scads of business Thompson’s firms have done with the city government, he has at one point or another employed a number of ancillary political figures.
Athena Cross, former Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s sister-in-law, worked as an executive for Thompson’s Chartered Health Plan from 2008 until last year, according to an online profile.
Sulaimon Brown, the minor mayoral candidate who set all these investigatory wheels in motion, worked for Thompson’s accounting firm — Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio & Associates (TCBA) — for several years, according to a resume and job application.
And it turns out that Carlos Gray, son of Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), also worked for TCBA for a time — well before his dad entered electoral politics.
This is revealed in an e-mail, included in an old Post records request, that he sent to Gray for Mayor chairwoman Lorraine Green in December 2010, after his dad had secured victory.
In the e-mail, Carlos Gray passes on a cover letter and resume for “a former colleague of mine at Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio Accounting Firm, who also worked on the campaign as a volunteer/canvasser.”
The former colleague was “seeking employment within the Gray Administration where he can utilize his skills and experience in Accounting.” Green passed the e-mail on to mayoral chief-of-staff-in-waiting Gerri Mason Hall with an “fyi.” A look at city employment records shows the colleague appears not to have gotten a job.
Carlos Gray said he went to work at TCBA — one of the country’s largest minority-owned accounting and auditing firms — right out of college, around 1999 or so. He stayed, he said, for two or three years as part of a team of fellow youngsters who worked as consultants on various projects, such as “Y2K” work.
”It was basically my first real job experience out of college,” he said.
For those who might be thinking conspiratorially, Gray says to forget about it: “My dad nothing to do with it. There’s no funny business there. I worked there a couple years out of school and that’s it. ... . I don’t even know if my dad knew Jeff Thompson at the time.”
If those two did know each other, it probably wasn’t through politics: Vincent Gray the elder didn’t run for office till 2004.
The younger Gray, who is now an executive at the D.C. Housing Authority, said the experience was valuable, though he wasn’t exactly rubbing shoulders with Thompson. ”We were learning the business within the accounting firm,” he recalled. “The group of guys who I was there with, we all moved on. ... We were on a very low level. We were trained to do whatever project they needed us for.”
Gray said it was likely that he worked on D.C. government contracts, but could not be sure.
Years after he left, Brown would join the firm under similar circumstances — after earning a business degree from the University of the District of Columbia, Thompson’s alma mater. He made $40,000 a year, according to his job application, and worked on D.C. government projects that included the city’s annual financial audit, for which TCBA was a subcontractor for many years.