Brooks, son won’t testify at council hearing

April 26, 2011

Howard Brooks, the campaign consultant to Mayor Vincent C. Gray accused of giving payments to former mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown, has told a D.C. Council committee through his attorney that he will not answer questions during a hearing scheduled for Friday, according to a council memo released Tuesday night.

In the memo, Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) told council members the Committee on Government Operations and the Environment will have to decide whether to go to Superior Court to try to compel the testimony of Brooks and his son, Peyton Brooks, who also has informed the committee he plans to assert his Fifth Amendment privilege.

However, both would not be called to testify on Friday because it would lead to them embarrassing themselves before the media, the memo read.

Brown said the senior Brooks and Gray campaign chairwoman Lorraine Green gave him payments to remain in last year’s mayoral race and continue his attacks on former mayor Adrian M. Fenty. Brown claims he was also promised a job with the Gray administration. He received a $110,000-a-year position with the Department of Health Care Finance but was later fired.

Gray, Brooks and Green have denied the allegations, and The Washington Post has been unable to independently verify any payments.

Meanwhile, Cheh wrote in the memo that both Brown and Cherita Whiting, a Gray supporter who also received a job but later resigned, appear to be avoiding service of subpoenas requesting that they testify.

It’s too late to serve them so that they appear on Friday, when former interim human services director Judy Banks and Nicholas Hall, son of Gray’s former chief of staff Gerri Mason Hall, are scheduled to testify.

According to the memo, Green has agreed to testify May 13. The committee will try to reach Brown and Whiting again to compel them to testify the same day, according to the memo.

However, on Tuesday night Whiting disputed Cheh’s memo.

“Nobody is avoiding them,” she said.

She said she and her attorney, A. Scott Bolden, have been working with Cheh’s office on dates, and that she understood she would not be served with a subpoena because she volunteered to appear before the committee.

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