February 7, 2013

Statement from D.C. Council member Jim Graham’s lawyer:

Statement from William W. Taylor, III

As we expected, the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability determined not to proceed against Councilmember Jim Graham.

It is disappointing and unfair, however, for the Board to purport to make “findings” which Mr. Graham has no opportunity to contest and had no notice would be at issue in this matter.

The purpose of this proceeding was to determine whether or not the Board would proceed to a formal investigation. It was not to determine whether Councilmember Graham had committed any ethical violations. The Board determined not to proceed. Therefore, under its own rules, the Board was not permitted or required to make “findings” about Councilmember Graham’s conduct.

The Board had not conducted a hearing in which any fact-finding could occur. Mr. Graham has not even seen the evidence upon which the so called Cadwalader Report relied. He has had no opportunity to question any witness or to present evidence. There is no question therefore that the Board did not and could not make factual findings about what he did or did not do or say or what his motives were. We respectfully think that it was unfair and unwise and are considering what options Mr. Graham has.

What is most appalling about the Board’s opinion is that it discusses allegations not even discussed in the Cadwalader Report – the document on which this investigation was supposed to be based, and the report to which Councilmember Graham was asked to respond. The notion that Councilmember Graham was motivated to include LaKritz Adler in the Florida Avenue Project because of campaign contributions appears nowhere in the Cadwalader Report. We were not asked to address it nor to our knowledge was there any evidence of it. It was fundamentally wrong, therefore, for the Board to base any “findings” on about a theory that was never before the Board and about which the Board never received any evidence.

We regret that the Board found it necessary or appropriate to make these observations in the course of dismissing the proceeding. We are now considering our legal options.

Read more on this topic:

News story: Jim Graham is scolded but penalized in ethics probe

William W. Taylor and Rachel F. Cotton: Scapegoating Jim Graham

Uncovering secrets about the Jim Graham probe