Evans, a Ward 2 Democrat, has not returned calls since the expulsion vote. He came to a Committee on Transportation and Environment hearing Wednesday where the only other lawmaker present was Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), who called for the vote to recommend expelling him.
Evans appeared to present a bill regarding the licensing of sidewalk cafes, and he described the bill reading from a sheet of paper provided to him by a staffer. There were no witnesses to testify, and Evans left shortly after presenting the legislation.
Another person who spoke to Evans on Tuesday, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the discussion, said the lawmaker recognized that his nearly three-decade career on the council was over but was not prepared to resign.
The council voted 12 to 0 on Tuesday to recommend expulsion for Evans, a step it has never before taken. The action sets in motion a process that requires the council to hold a hearing and invite Evans to testify before it can take a formal vote to expel him. That could happen as early as Dec. 17.
Mendelson acknowledged that Tuesday’s phone call was not the first time he broached the subject of resignation with Evans. He said that on Sept. 6 he had urged the city’s longest-serving lawmaker to step down — while an internal investigation into his conduct was underway.
The investigation by a law firm hired by the council, which looked at his actions over the past five years, found Evans repeatedly used his office on behalf of private clients who paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars, failing to recognize the conflicts and never properly disclosing the payments.
Council members, who are paid roughly $140,000 salaries, are allowed to hold outside employment, and Evans worked for several local law firms before opening a consulting business in 2016.
Aside from Cheh, who teaches at George Washington University law school, Evans has been the only other current member with outside employment.
The nexus between his public service and private employment attracted the interest of federal investigators as early as September 2018. A federal grand jury issued subpoenas to the council, city administrator and office of Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) for documents related to Evans’s business dealings, and FBI agents searched his Georgetown home in June. He has denied wrongdoing and has not been charged with a crime.
After The Washington Post reported in March that Evans had used his government email to solicit employment from law firms — offering to use his influence and connections as a lawmaker and as chairman of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority — Metro hired a law firm to investigate his activities.
The Metro probe found he violated that agency’s ethics code, and he stepped down in June from the board.
The D.C. Council hired its own investigators in July who concluded that by November that Evans had failed to disclose his consulting clients and repeatedly used his office to assist his clients with matters before city government. The firm also found Evans struggled to explain what, if any, services he provided for $400,000 in consulting payments over the past five years.
That report prompted nine council members to urge Evans to resign, but he refused to step down.
A recent Washington Post poll found that Evans’s approval rating plunged to 4 percent and that a majority of Washingtonians believed he should resign.
On Tuesday, one lawmaker after another said Evans had violated the public’s trust and was no longer fit to serve. No one came to his defense. All 12 of his colleagues voted to recommend expulsion.
Lawyers representing Evans also said last week that he should not be expelled because he did not intend to break ethics rules and that his fate should be decided by voters when he is up for reelection next year.
Meanwhile, Evans also faces a potential recall election. He is challenging the validity of signatures collected by activists on a recall petition; a decision by the city’s election board is pending. Evans has not yet filed the paperwork to run for reelection, although six other Democrats have said they intend to compete for the party’s nomination in a primary next June.