TODAY IS JULY 26, 2011 — DAY 193 OF THE GRAY ADMINISTRATION
FLASH -- @HTinWDC (Harriet Tregoning): “Ok, it finally happened. Hit by a red-light running car on my bike. I am okay, but Brompton...not so rideable.”
D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown has a good, solid piece of advice for his colleague Harry Thomas Jr. -- that he should “consider seriously doing what is best for his family and his constituents” in the wake of his $300,000 settlement with the city. Unfortunately, what is best for his family (having a breadwinner with a $120,000 paycheck) and what is best for his constituents (having a legislator free of taint and chairing a council committee) seem to be at odds, and Brown makes no attempt to reconcile them. For the record, he is “disappointed with the entire situation,” according to the statement he issued. Mayor Vincent Gray, for his part, said this morning that he would “let justice run its course” rather than weigh in on Thomas’ future. But on Monday night, council members Tommy Wells joined David Catania and Mary Cheh in calling outright for Thomas’ resignation. Meanwhile, lawyer/lobbyist John Ray tells the Examiner’s Freeman Klopott that lawyer/lobbyist Fred Cooke is setting up a legal defense fund for Thomas, some sort of blind trust. Dorothy Brizill notes that this stinks: “People aren’t going to be donating money to Thomas’ legal defense fund because they like his mama. They’re going to donate money because there’s a quid-pro-quo.” Also Loose Lips, WAMU, WUSA, WJLA, and WaTimes (in which Tom Howell Jr. I believe becomes the first to note the procedures for a special election).
AFTER THE JUMP — Rokey Suleman resigns BOEE post -- IG among Court of Appeals applicants -- former cop gets seven months for burglary role
*** MAIN COURSE ***
‘THE UNREAL SOMETIMES RULE THE DAY’ -- Enlightening dispatch from Reginald Johnson, Examiner.com’s “DC Ex-Offender Re-Entry Examiner,” who quotes one D’Andre Williams on the Thomas matter: “‘If that was me. ... I’d be doing five to ten. I should know,’ he said laughing, “because I did four years in federal prison for that very thing.’ Williams lives off of Stanton Road, SE, and in the late 90s he was arrested and convicted for money laundering and embezzlement or several thousand dollars. He did his time and was released back to the District in 1999. ‘I was lucky to get the kinda time I got. Harry Thomas just promising to pay back $300,000.00 and not have any criminal investigation or arrest made is stupid, but hey to all y’all that don’t know…welcome to Washington, DC, where the unreal sometimes rule the day.’”
WHERE’S THE OUTRAGE? -- The Georgetown Dish’s Beth Solomon weighs in: “The settlement itself opens a new cauldron of trouble, allowing off-the-books political donations that don’t involve public reporting requirements and are -- get this -- essentially unlimited. Although most of our top elected officials have not decried this obvious invitation to pay-to-play, it’s a movie District residents have seen before. ... Welcome to our political parallel universe: there is almost more D.C. government opprobrium around here for failing to pay a parking ticket on time. ... It is now time for city leaders, including the Mayor and the Council Chair, to call Thomas in and ask him to at least step aside, if not resign. The Thomas Mess is, as far as we know, much worse than ethical lapses Mayor Gray and Chairman Brown are accused of and it is their job now to lead the city out of the ethical hole we are falling into.”
ROKEY OUT — Rokey W. Suleman II, who ably led the Board of Elections and Ethics through the unprecedented simultaneous implementation of early voting, same-day registration, new voting equipment and more, has resigned as executive director unexpectedly and inexplicably. Board chair Togo West said in a statement only that he was “grateful for [Suleman]’s contributions of innovation and energy” and that a nationwide search was underway to find a director by Labor Day. Paul Stenbjorn, the board’s current chief technology officer, will fill in as executive director. Spokeswoman Alysoun McLaughlin notes to Alan Suderman that “it’s a stressful field.” And oversight chair Muriel Bowser tells Klopott she had no idea it was coming. Also DCist.
*** SMALL PLATES ***
D.C. Court of Appeals applicants include Solicitor General Todd Kim, D.C. Appleseed chief Walter Smith and Inspector General Charles Willoughby (Legal Times)
”A Northeast Washington woman says her car was booted, towed away and auctioned off, while she was in the hospital” (WUSA)
Harry Jaffe: For real job training, check out 14th Street’s AYT auto repair institute (Examiner)
Former D.C. cop sentenced to seven months for role in burglary (Post)
How Washingtonian surveys the local political landscape (Yfrog)
Washington homes buck national housing price decline (Post)
*** ON THE MENU ***
Gray dedicates Ninth Street Bridge, 11 a.m., Ninth Street and New York Avenue NE; swears in members of boards and commissions, 6:30 p.m. in JAWB G-9.