“The events of the last week, so to speak, have been very inflammatory, and when the actual facts are heard by everyone, I believe that will change everyone’s mind,” Evans said. “It is only fair, and it only gives me due process to be able to tell my side of my story and answer any questions anyone might have.”
Evans declined to answer questions from reporters.
The D.C. Council is preparing to launch an internal investigation into Evans and remove him as chairman of the Committee on Finance and Revenue. After Evans’s comments, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) agreed to allow Evans to present his arguments at a public meeting next Tuesday.
“Justice usually involves hearing both sides,” Mendelson said in an interview. “He believes his side is persuasive, and he wants to be heard. That’s fair.”
The council is set to vote on July 9 to strip Evans of his committee chairmanship, a move Evans described as “premature” before he can explain himself.
“I believe that if my colleagues hear my side of the story, and I respond to all of your questions, you will not take any action at this time,” Evans said.
Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), who last week said she felt betrayed by Evans and described the allegations in the law firm report as “straight-up corruption,” said Tuesday she is hoping Evans is right.
“The truth is, I’m rooting for him,” Cheh said in an interview. “I’m hoping that he can make a case for himself that counters what looks like a fairly devastating report from the law firm.”
The ethics scandal swirling around Evans for more than a year escalated in recent days.
Federal investigators on Friday searched Evans’s Georgetown townhouse months after issuing subpoenas to the city government seeking a host of documents about Evans and his private consulting clients.
A day earlier, Evans resigned as chairman of the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority board after The Washington Post published a 20-page confidential memo from a law firm hired by Metro. The investigators found that Evans improperly used his position on the Metro board to help his consulting clients.
Evans, his attorney and Corbett Price, the District’s other representative to the Metro board, all falsely said the Metro ethics committee found no ethics violations.
While the committee did not agree with all the findings of the law firm that investigated Evans, it did find a conflict of interest relating to his work for a parking company.
According to the confidential memo, Evans failed to disclose he was receiving $50,000 a year from Colonial Parking as he was “waging a campaign” against a competitor, LAZ Parking, by repeatedly directing Metro’s inspector general to investigate LAZ Parking, among other actions.
The law firm interviewed Evans for seven hours as part of its investigation.
On Tuesday, Evans said the firm’s report had “mistakes on its face” and “many problems.”
“First and foremost, until last Thursday, I had never seen this document before, nor had any members of the Metro board ethics committee. That’s because it was drafted 13 days after the investigation was closed,” Evans said, reading from a printed statement.
He also criticized investigators for not contacting Colonial Parking.
Metro launched its ethics probe in March after The Post published emails in which Evans offered to use his influence and connections as a public official to help prospective employers. The council reprimanded Evans over the emails but declined to launch its own investigation.
Mendelson now plans to hire a law firm to assist in a coming probe of Evans and to make its findings public.
Evans, who was first elected in 1991, also faces a potential recall election and has drawn several challengers in the 2020 primary.