More than a year after he was sworn into office, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray has released a detailed accounting of who contributed to his transition and how the money was spent, including more than $100,000 to two men at the center of some of the mayor’s campaign and hiring controversies.
The audit, conducted at Gray’s request by Benjamin Associates, shows that the DC One City Fund collected almost $1 million to pay for the mayor’s inauguration and staff costs after the November 2010 general election.
Most of the money, about $714,000, went to pay vendors who helped produce Gray’s inaugural ball at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center after he was sworn in Jan. 2, 2011.
The fund paid Charles’s Citadel Partners firm $70,000 for work between November 2010 and February 2011, the audit said. Charles was a Gray fundraiser during the campaign when he was battered by a series of news media reports about liens and judgments filed against him outside of the District. Many appeared to be related to his business career.
Gray’s transition also made eight payments to Brooks that totaled $34,500.
Former mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown alleges that Brooks gave him payments during the primary campaign to stay in the race and disparage then-Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) on behalf of Gray. Brooks has denied he did anything illegal. Gray, who has denied any wrongdoing, has said he did not have a close relationship with Brooks and did not know about any alleged payments.
Brooks’s income from the transition is in addition to the $44,000 he earned from the Gray campaign after Gray’s win in the September 2010 Democratic primary.
His transition payments stopped after a $5,000 payment on March 2, 2011. Charles also received a $32,500 bonus from the campaign.
The U.S. attorney’s office is investigating Brown’s allegations, which he has said included a promise of a city job. Sources with knowledge of the probe have told The Washington Post that investigators appear to be focusing on Brooks and possibly others in the Gray campaign.
Glenn Ivey, Brooks’s attorney, declined to comment. Charles was unavailable for comment Friday.
In late March, as Charles and Gray struggled with the news reports about Gray administration hiring practices, Charles released a summary of transition expenses to The Post. The document cited $34,500 in expenses for “professional staff support” but did not specify who received the payments.
Pedro Ribeiro, Gray’s communications director, said the release of the audit follows through on the mayor’s promise to be transparent. After winning the general election, Gray announced that he would not accept public money for his transition. Instead, he said, he would raise private money and cap donations at $50,000.
“The report is consistent with what the mayor had repeatedly said about his transition fund and also says he’s committed to transparency and openness about the fund, including releasing the names of the donors,” Ribeiro said.
With inaugural and transition accounts not subject to D.C. campaign finance law, the audit offers a window into the unregulated amounts of money that city leaders can accept for the funds.
The largest contribution, $50,000, came from a company controlled by Washington Capitals and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis. Gray also received $25,000 from Franklin L. Haney Jr., a developer who has pushed to build on city-owned land on the former D.C. General Hospital campus.
Two colleges also donated to Gray’s transition, the audit said. The One City Fund received $25,000 from Howard University and $5,000 from Georgetown University.
At least one donation appears to have come from a foreign government. According to the audit, Gray accepted $10,000 from the Embassy of Qatar.
At the time, a Qatari state investment fund was preparing to announce a $700 million investment in the CityCenterDC project on the site of the former convention center.
Gray also received $1,500 from Ivanhoe Donaldson, the former deputy mayor in Marion Barry’s administration.
Staff writer Mike DeBonis contributed to this report.