Corbett Price resigned Friday as the District’s second voting Metro board representative, following growing demands for his ouster over his attempts to conceal an ethics violation by D.C. Council member and former Metro board chairman Jack Evans.
In a letter to Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), Price cited an upcoming surgical procedure and a “personal family matter” as reasons for stepping down.
“My past level of commitment and dedication to the WMATA Board and the wonderful organization it represents cannot be sustained, so I have made the only appropriate decision,” wrote Price.
Price resigned two days after the Metro board’s ethics committee met privately to consider an investigation of his conduct, and that of ethics committee member David Horner, during the Evans probe, according to two individuals familiar with the meeting who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the confidential nature of the discussion.
The committee did not take action Wednesday, the individuals said, but appears to have been prepared to do so if Price had not resigned. It was unclear whether the committee will now investigate Horner, who represents the federal government on the Metro board.
A spokesman for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said Friday that Hogan is “not satisfied that we have gotten to the bottom” of corruption at Metro and will continue to push for “investigations and audits.”
Price, a health-care executive and one of Bowser’s political donors, was appointed by the mayor to the regional transit board in 2015. The D.C. Council approved him for a second term earlier this year.
Price came under fire for his role in the Metro ethics probe into Evans, a Democrat who represents Ward 2 on the D.C. Council.
An investigation by the transit agency found that Evans had failed to disclose a conflict of interest arising from his private consulting work for Colonial Parking, the District’s largest parking company that was secretly paying his consulting firm $50,000 per year.
Records of the probe obtained by The Washington Post said that both Evans and Price — in addition to falsely stating that Evans was cleared of wrongdoing — badgered Metro’s general counsel and maneuvered in other ways to prevent the findings from becoming public.
The Metro board launched an ethics inquiry into Evans after The Post reported how he touted his position on the D.C. Council and on the Metro board while soliciting private employment from law firms that represent companies with business interests in the city. Evans is the target of a separate federal investigation into the intersection of his private employment and official actions.
Evans resigned from the board in June after the ethics violation became public. Price survived a vote by the D.C. Council to remove him from the board.
Council member Elissa Silverman (I-At Large), who led the attempt to boot Price from the board, said his departure will help restore the city’s standing at the transit agency.
“Given other Metro board members expressed concerns about his credibility, it was in the best interest of the District for him to resign and to have a voting member who can work well with our regional partners,” said Silverman, who was joined by Brianne K. Nadeau (D-Ward 1), David Grosso (I-At Large) and Robert C. White Jr. (D-At Large) in the failed effort to oust Price in July.
They were opposed by Evans, Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), Brandon T. Todd (D-Ward 4), Kenyan R. McDuffie (D-Ward 5), Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), Vincent C. Gray (D-Ward 7), Anita Bonds (D-At Large) and Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D).
However, several of the lawmakers who voted against removing Price from the board — including Cheh and Allen — have turned on him in recent weeks.
Mendelson said he told the mayor this week “that support for [Price] is diminishing in the council.”
Price has said the criticism of him would deter others from civic engagement.
“I can understand why we cannot get corporate leaders to serve on these boards of the city because of this foolishness and nonsense,” Price said in an interview earlier this month.
Throughout the saga, the mayor has repeatedly defended Price. She praised him after his resignation.
“From his efforts to secure a fair dedicated funding agreement to his work to create structures that allow for greater efficiency, Corbett has played a critical role in building a more stable and financially sound WMATA — a system that is able to focus their attention on safety, reliability, and capacity,” Bowser said in a statement.
Price, his relatives and his companies gave more than $35,000 to Bowser’s 2014 mayoral campaign and inaugural committee, records show.
A consulting firm owned by Price’s wife managed the District’s struggling public hospital United Medical Center between 2016 and 2018. The Council voted not to extend the contract after Post stories on the hospital’s financial problems and fatal lapses in patient care.