Gerri Mason Hall, who was Gray’s chief of staff until her dismissal two weeks ago, instructed the Department of Health Care Finance on Jan. 31 to find a position to match Brown’s qualifications, the agency’s former chief of staff, Talib Karim, told the council.
“There was an auditor who she had identified for our agency,” Karim said, referring to Brown, who was later dismissed. “I was instructed to find a position for him.”
In his testimony before the Committee on Government Operations and the Environment, Karim said Brown was hired to work on a “special project” with the agency’s associate director for planning and policy. But after three weeks on the job, Karim said, agency leaders became concerned with Brown’s “poor performance and erratic behavior,” including “invading meetings he did not belong in.”
About the same time, Karim said, leaders started “receiving reports” that Brown was harassing female employees, including offering “a romantic gift to an intern with the agency.”
In an interview after his testimony, Karim alleged that Brown gave the intern a “love CD” on Valentine’s Day. Wayne Turnage, director of the health-care finance agency, told Brown on Feb. 24 that he was being fired.
Brown, who sat in the hearing room for part of the proceedings, declined to comment on Karim’s explanation of his termination.
“I won’t even dignify his comment with a response because it is off-base,” Brown said.
After Brown was fired, he alleged that Gray campaign officials last year had promised him a job if he stayed in the mayor’s race and continued his attacks former mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D). Brown said Lorraine Green, Gray’s campaign chairwoman, and campaign consultant Howard Brooks had given him cash payments during the campaign to continue his attacks on Fenty.
Gray (D), Green and Brooks have denied the allegations, and The Washington Post has not independently verified any payments.
The allegations came on the heels of reports that some top Gray administration officials had been awarded salaries that exceed limits set in the D.C. Code. The children of several top staffers and campaign officials — including Brooks, Green and Hall — were also were hired by the administration.
“This hearing is an attempt to get to the facts and lay them before the public and determine if laws were broken,” said D.C. Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3).