February 5, 2013

I read with interest the Jan. 27 Local Opinions commentary, “Scapegoating Jim Graham,” written by Mr. Graham’s lawyers William W. Taylor and Rachel F. Cotton. Their purpose was clearly to obfuscate the facts and make D.C. Council member Graham (D-Ward 1) appear to be a victim. But Mr. Graham is no scapegoat. He is a politician who does business with eyes wide open, yet he turns a blind eye when convenient.

The lawyers argued that Mr. Graham was acting in the public interest when he sought to have the development firm tied to the “unqualified” Warren Williams removed from a lucrative Metro project. But where was his concern about Mr. Williams a year later, when his Warrenton Group was chosen as one of the developers of the $130 million Park Morton public housing project?

And where was Mr. Graham’s concern when his chief of staff attempted to deliver to him an envelope stuffed with money? Mr. Graham refused the money, but as a public official, didn’t he have a responsibility to do more, such as report the attempt?

Where was the concern when he appointed a person involved in questions about the D.C. lottery contract to serve as his 2010 campaign chair?

To use the words of his lawyers, Mr. Graham’s constituents should absolutely cry out in anger at what are blatant refusals to put their interests and the well-being of the city first. So, too, should the city’s Board of Ethics and Government Accountability.

Bryan Weaver, Washington

The writer ran against Jim Graham in the 2010 Democratic primary for the Ward 1 D.C. Council seat.