The Washington Post

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown faults report on wive’s credit card debts

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown said Thursday that the Washington City Paper had unfairly attacked his wife by reporting that she was being sued for failing to pay a credit card bill.

 The weekly paper reported in its Loose Lips column that American Express filed suit against Marcia Brown in April over an outstanding balance of $15,647.79.

During his 2010 campaign, reports surfaced of Kwame Brown’s financial troubles, which resulted in four lawsuits by credit card companies over more than $50,000 in unpaid bills. Brown (D) has since settled that debt and acknowledged that he had been living beyond his means.

 Within minutes of the City Paper story being published, Brown released a statement saying he was “deeply disappointed and concerned that the Washington City Paper has chosen to attack” his wife “in an effort to disparage” him.

“As an elected official, my life is an open book and is subject to examination and critique in a public forum,” Brown said. “However, my family’s private matters are just that, private.” 

 In its article, the City Paper reported that Brown had previously referred to his own financial issues as a family matter.

 Mike Madden, managing editor of the City Paper, said in an interview that editors “thought quite carefully” before publishing the story and   decided it  “was of public interest.” He said Kwame Brown’s statement “does not dispute any of the facts reported.”

“We don’t think this was an attack. We are reporting on a lawsuit that is a matter of public record,” Madden said. “We are not intending to disparage anyone. We thought this was of public interest.”

Tim Craig is The Post’s bureau chief in Pakistan. He has also covered conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and within the District of Columbia government.

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