Capitol Inquiry managed the background checks. Cummins communicated directly with Green, who also headed the Gray transition team. Capitol Inquiry investigated Brown in January, shortly before he was hired by the administration. The background check detected some of Brown’s past legal and financial troubles before he was hired.
In testimony before the D.C. Council this summer, Green acknowledged that she met with Brown at Union Station in 2010, when he claims she handed him an envelope containing about $750 in cash. Green has disputed Brown’s account. She denies that any payment was made and says she only talked to him about consideration for a job. Brown says that Brooks delivered payments later in the campaign.
The Post reported in March on an exchange of text messages in November 2010 between Brown and Gray about an “agreement.” The mayor said any agreement referred only to a job interview.
Campaign volunteers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they fear retaliation, told The Post that the campaign invited Brown to some Gray political events. At one of those events, a fundraiser at the Eatonville restaurant, Brown said Gray told him that Brooks has “something for you,” according to his testimony in June before the D.C. Council. Brown says that Brooks delivered another payment at the event.
Photos of the event place Brown, Brooks, Green and Gray at Eatonville, but Gray has denied such an exchange took place.
Several sources also said the federal investigators are trying to determine who signed money-order donations to the Gray and Brown campaigns in apparent violation of campaign rules.
The Post reported in July that Gray’s campaign had accepted cash contributions above the $24.99 legal limit as well as money-order contributions purportedly from people who have denied contributing to the campaign. Since then, The Post has found that the campaign documented in finance reports more than 100 cash contributions of $25 or more. Interviews with some contributors also showed that the Gray campaign had turned cash into money orders, often in violation of city laws that prohibit doing so.
The sources said the FBI has confirmed that signatures on some money orders were forged. Also of interest to investigators are some money orders that allegedly were signed by the same person and others that are numbered in sequence, which indicates that they were purchased at the same place and time, one source said.
Brown’s campaign received hundreds of dollars in money-order donations allegedly signed by people with ties to Howard Brooks, including son Peyton, Peyton’s girlfriend and a cousin by marriage. The money orders credited to Peyton Brooks were purchased at Safeway and are sequential.
The records also show that on June 1, 2010, the campaign received one $2,000 money order from Howard Brooks and another from Leroy Ellis. Ellis, a friend of Brooks’s, was hired as a $125,000 city employee after Gray took office. Ellis was recently laid off because of budget cuts, according to the administration, and did not respond to calls or an e-mail seeking comment.
Campaign finances were handled by Thomas W. Gore, a longtime friend of Gray’s, and Reuben O. Charles II, who quickly rose through the campaign ranks because of his fundraising abilities.
Gore worked closely with Brooks, Gerri Mason Hall, a campaign consultant who became Gray’s first chief of staff, said in testimony before the D.C. Council.
Two campaign staff members said that Gore was aware of questionable cash donations to the campaign. One source said he told volunteers and staff members, including Brooks, to return them. Other sources previously said he had distributed the campaign finance rules to campaign workers. According to several sources, Gore has been interviewed by federal investigators.
Gore’s attorney, Frederick Cooke Jr., declined to comment. Charles did not respond to calls seeking comment.
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