Confirmation hearing for D.C. convention authority nominee postponed
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
D.C. Council member Jack Evans "indefinitely" postponed Tuesday the confirmation hearing for Lorraine Green as chairman of the Washington Convention and Sports Authority, pending the investigation into allegations by former mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown that she paid him to help keep his campaign afloat last summer.
Brown, a 40-year-old auditor, made the claims in an interview with The Washington Post after he was fired from his job as $110,000-a-year special assistant at the Department of Health Care Finance.
Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) had nominated Green, chairman of his mayoral campaign and transition, to head the authority that owns and manages the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and RFK Stadium. It also owns Nationals Park.
Green's confirmation hearing had been scheduled for next Wednesday, but Evans (D-Ward 2) delayed it in the wake of Brown's accusations. "It's being postponed indefinitely until the matter gets resolved one way or the other," he said. "It definitely will not be next week."
Green, who announced Friday that she is retiring from her position as an Amtrak executive April 1, did not return an e-mail and a call seeking comment.
Meanwhile, the Office of the Attorney General said Tuesday that it will not directly investigate Brown's allegations, as Gray requested Sunday. Instead, the office said in a statement that it will guide probes launched by the Office of the Inspector General and the Office of Campaign Finance "to avoid duplication of efforts and in an attempt to assure that the matters are investigated promptly and thoroughly."
Several council members said they wanted a different office to investigate because Interim Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan was appointed by Gray.
"We will work to ensure that these investigative agencies have full and prompt access to D.C. government records, as well as to personnel with knowledge of these matters," the statement read.
Meanwhile, Brown said he met with staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Tuesday. According to a congressional source who was not authorized to speak publicly about the meeting, the committee reached out to Brown to determine whether he has concerns about how the District is investigating his claims.
Brown, a former police officer at the University of the District of Columbia, was fired from his post at the Department of Health Care Finance on Feb. 24 after media reports of legal troubles. Security escorted him out, and hours later he crashed a news briefing Gray called to address the dismissal.
Brown alleges that he received payments from Green and Howard L. Brooks, who was paid $44,000 for his work as a consultant for the Gray campaign. Both Green and Brooks have denied that they paid Brown, and The Post could not independently verify any payments.
Brown also alleges that Gray and Green promised him a job in return for bashing then-Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) on the campaign trail. Green and Gray have denied the allegation.
The Post found that Brown exchanged several calls to the phone numbers of Green and Brooks over the summer. Brown sent text messages to Gray demanding that he and Green stick to what Brown said was an agreement for a job. Gray texted Brown that "agreements" had not been "breached," but the mayor said he was referring to a job interview he promised Brown and that that promise was not made in return for bashing Fenty.
Green has called Brown's claims "ridiculous" and a "smear campaign."
Brown is on paid administrative leave until March 11, but he said he is fighting the city's position that he will not be paid a severance.