Page 4 of 4   <      

Former mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown says he struck a job deal with Vincent Gray campaign

During the 2010 D.C. mayoral campaign, candidate Sulaimon Brown was a frequent and harsh critic of incumbent Adrian M. Fenty. He often urged voters to support Vincent C. Gray instead.

On Saturday, Gray said he found Brown's comments "offensive."

'Has our friendship ended?'

As the Democratic primary neared and polls showed Gray with a solid lead, Brown said he felt Gray and the others on his campaign distancing themselves. In October, Brown's calls to and from cell numbers for Gray, Green and Brooks dropped precipitously, according to the records. "I gave up," he said.

After the election, Brown said he had his eye on a paid position with Gray's transition team, but he said he was never offered that type of job. Instead, he was one of hundreds of volunteers and worked on the economic development committee.

That frustrated Brown, and he called Gray, Green and Brooks more often, according to the phone records. The records show he called Brooks's number Nov. 15 in a call that lasted 12 minutes. On Nov. 29, he called Green's number in a call that lasted 11 minutes.

On the same day, he expressed frustration in several text messages to Gray's number. "I was hoping for a paid transition position with responsibilities, not a volunteer role. I think I've earned it. . . . Also, what exactly is my job going to be in Janurary? . . . My position is simple. Do we still have an agreement and will it be honored? My brotber and I are counting on you to keep your word . . ."

Brown worried that Green and Gray were backing out of their deal, according to an interview with Brown and text messages that he provided to The Post. "If I sound upset. I am. Because without me. All of us would be packing our bags right now. My effort on the campaign made the difference between winning and loosing," he wrote on Nov. 29. "I was clear from the beginning what I wanted, which is not much for what I put in."

Brown received this response from Gray's phone number: "I find this unbelievable!!! This is an outrageous insult and I resent you sending me something as inflammatory and off-base as this."

But Brown dug in. The next day, he sent Gray more messages: "Lorain told me I was not part of your campaign. Imagine that. . . . That was an insult. . . . I resent the whole conversation with her and after what I've done for you. That was outrageous. . . . Good luck!"

After that, Brown received this response from Gray's cell: "Your position is an outrage. I am not even in office yet. The things you said are outrageous and there is no excuse for that. You know as well as I do that . . . we did not renege on any commitments to you. You know and we know what agreements had been reached. And none has been breached."

Gray told The Post that he was referring to the job interview, not the promise of a position in his administration.

On Dec. 18, Brown asked in a message to Gray's number: "Has our friendship ended?"

He received this response from Gray's number: "I have told you and Lorraine has told you we intend to carry out our commitment. Yet, nothing we say ever seems enough."

Brown's phone records show he reached out to Brooks, Green and Gray on Jan. 6 through 8.

E-mails show that by Jan. 10, Brown was exchanging e-mails with the Gray administration about a potential job with the Office of Inspector General. But that job was already filled.

Gray said the Inspector General's Office is an independent agency, and he said that supports his position that he promised Brown only an interview.

By Jan. 31, Brown had a job as a special assistant in the Department of Health Care Finance. In an e-mail to a member of Gray's staff, he wrote: ". . . Today went well, I attended the orientation session at 441 4th st. I'm so grateful and appreciative of your efforts in making this happen. If you need anything, please don't hesitate to reach out. I got your back! Thank you. Regards, Sulaimon."

But Brown's tenure was short-lived. In the same week that a City Paper story questioned the Gray administration's decision to hire Brown because of past legal troubles - including a 1991 gun charge that was later dropped and a 1995 guilty plea to an unlawful entry charge that he said involved a dispute over trespassing - he was dismissed.

On Feb. 24, one day after Gray defended Brown's hiring, Wayne Turnage, director of health care finance, told Brown that he wasn't a "good fit" for the agency.

Staff writers Tim Craig and Mike DeBonis and staff researcher Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this story.

<             4

© 2011 The Washington Post Company