With his testimony before the D.C. Council looming, former mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown made available copies of five money-order contributions he said he received from Howard L. Brooks, a campaign consultant to Mayor Vincent C. Gray.
The money orders — made out to “Sulaimon Brown for Mayor” — total more than $600 and allegedly are a portion of payments Brown claims he received from Brooks and Lorraine A. Green, chairman of Gray’s campaign, to disparage then-Mayor Adrian M. Fenty during last year’s elections. Brown, a long-shot candidate in last year’s race, alleges he was also promised a city job if Gray won.
Brown made the documents available to The Washington Post after the newspaper found that Brown campaign records possibly listed three friends or relatives of the Brooks family as alleged contributors. Brown said the money orders contained signatures and addresses that his campaign tried to decipher when it recorded the contributions, but campaign finance reports show misspelled names and incomplete addresses.
After researching the documents, The Post found the following apparent links: a $225 donation from Brooks’s son, Peyton; $100 from Litonya Livingston, who said she is Peyton’s girlfriend; and $335 from Aundrea Naylor, a cousin to Howard Brooks’s wife.
Livingston, of Silver Spring, denied the contribution, adding that she did not know why her name and address were listed on Brown’s campaign records.
“I have nothing to do with this,” she said in an interview Friday.
Naylor has called her apparent contribution to Brown’s campaign “bogus” and said she did not know how her name appeared in his report. She did not return a call or an e-mail last week.
Troy W. Poole, Peyton Brooks’s attorney, did not return a call for comment. Glenn F. Ivey, Howard Brooks’s attorney, said only, “Because there is an ongoing investigation, I can’t comment on the specifics at this time.”
Howard Brooks, Green and Gray have denied Brown’s claims, which have spawned several investigations, including by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Brown — who said he does not know Peyton Brooks, Livingston or Naylor — said Friday that he was contacted last week by FBI investigators probing the contributions.
A D.C. Council committee, investigating hiring practices by the mayor’s administration, expects to hear from Brown on Monday, but Howard and Peyton Brooks have informed the council that, if called to testify, they will assert their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
In January, the Gray administration hired Brown as a $110,000-a-year special assistant in the Department of Health Care Finance. He was later dismissed and, shortly after, made his allegations in a Post story. The Post has not been able to independently verify any payments.
The younger Brooks also was hired — as a $110,000-a-year special assistant in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. In the wake of allegations of nepotism against the administration, he was one of four children of members of the Gray campaign or administration to resign their city jobs.
In an interview Friday, Naylor’s sister, Ingrid Herndon, acknowledged that the FBI also called her last week and inquired about campaign contributions.
Herndon, of Highland Beach, said she has not spoken to Howard Brooks since 2009. She said that she donated $1,000 to the Gray campaign but that her sister did not contribute to Brown’s campaign.
“I know she didn’t give to Sulaimon Brown,” Herndon said of Naylor. “I don’t know what Howard was doing. He never talked to me about it.”
Brown said he deposited the money orders into his “Sulaimon Brown for Mayor” account at Bank of America. He provided a faxed copy of what appeared to be a deposit slip from July 2, 2010, the same date shown for the three contributions on his campaign finance report. The Post was not able to immediately authenticate the signatures on the money orders.
Three MoneyGram money orders purchased on June 28 from Safeway — one for $25 and two for $100 each — have a signature that appear to contain “P. Mike” and then a last name that appears to begin with “Br.” Peyton Brooks’s middle name is Michael, and city government sources say he is known as Mike. A Silver Spring address of a home he purchased in 2005 appears on the money order.
On Brown's campaign finance report, a contributor with a similar address is listed as "Mike Browish."
A signature that appears to contain Naylor’s name is on a $335 Global Express money order purchased June 24 from Family Foods Market, a convenience store near Gray’s Ward 4 headquarters and the home of Brown’s mother. On Brown’s campaign finance report, Naylor is listed as “Aulias Naylor” with a misspelled Annapolis address.
A $100 Western Union money order purchased from a 7-Eleven appears to contain Livingston’s name and her family’s Silver Spring address.
On the campaign finance report, she is listed as “Latonya Livingston” with an address similar to the one on the money order.
When initially interviewed about his allegations in early March, Brown recalled that Green introduced him to Howard Brooks in July and that she allegedly said Brooks would deliver payments. Brown now says he may have met Brooks earlier in the summer.
But he insisted that the five money orders were already filled out when he received them.
“I got them from Howard Brooks,” he said.
Brown said he recently found the copies of the money orders in preparation for Monday’s hearing, adding that he also received some that were blank. He would not disclose what he did with them.
He said he and his campaign treasurer made copies of every money order and check deposited into his campaign account. The treasurer could not be reached for comment.