A federal grand jury investigating D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) has issued subpoenas for testimony and documents related to a recent separate inquiry in which a Metro committee found that Evans committed ethical misconduct when he was chairman of the transit agency’s board of directors.
The two subpoenas, issued July 3, are the first publicly known instance of federal authorities seeking witness testimony in an investigation that appears to be focused on Evans’s private consulting work for companies doing business, or hoping to do business, with the D.C. government and Metro.
In identically worded memos to Metro, board member David Horner and former member Clarence C. Crawford each said he had received a “subpoena to testify as a witness and to produce documents in connection with the criminal investigation” of Evans. The two served on the board’s ethics committee during a confidential investigation of Evans that ended in May, after which Evans resigned from the board.
Neither Horner nor Crawford responded to messages Thursday seeking comment on specifically what information the grand jury had requested. Board member Corbett A. Price and the board’s new chairman, Paul C. Smedberg, also served on the ethics committee that investigated Evans. Price declined to say whether he had received a subpoena. Smedberg said he had not received one.
Evans, a fixture in city politics since his 1991 election to the D.C. Council and a longtime ally of the business community, formed the consulting company NSE in 2016. Among his clients were companies with business interests before the council, the transit agency and other public entities. Evans also cited his influence on the council and Metro in soliciting jobs with big D.C. law firms, according to documents reviewed by The Washington Post.
Since the fall, a grand jury has issued several subpoenas to governmental entities as it seeks documents related to Evans and his private clients. Metro has received two grand jury subpoenas as part of the federal investigation into Evans. A subpoena received last month asked for materials beyond those sought in the fall, when the U.S. attorney’s office first asked the transit agency for documents about Evans.
His attorney, Mark Tuohey, did not respond to an inquiry Thursday about the new subpoenas.
Evans, whose Georgetown home was searched by the FBI on June 21, recently told his council colleagues that his actions were “not becoming,” but that many of the allegations of ethical misconduct were exaggerated.
Evans’s home was searched a day after The Washington Post published a confidential memo from the law firm hired by the Metro board to conduct its ethics investigation.
In seeking documents and testimony from Horner and Crawford, authorities could be trying to clarify confusion surrounding the Metro ethics probe, which began in March and concluded May 7. In their memos to Metro, each man said, “The subpoena appears to relate to my recent service on the Board Ethics Committee and the Ethics Committee’s investigation” of Evans.
The full records of the ethics inquiry have not been made public.
Crawford, in a written summary last month, told the governors of Maryland and Virginia that a law firm hired by the committee found that Evans committed 16 ethics violations involving personal business activities.
The law firm, Schulte Roth and Zabel, said Evans used his Metro board position to undermine the interests of one company, Laz Parking, without disclosing that he had a $50,000 consulting deal with rival Colonial Parking, according to Crawford.
The firm also said Evans, in seeking a private job, submitted a business plan that would have involved him leveraging his Metro position to the benefit of his prospective employer, according to Crawford.
Despite the law firm’s findings, Crawford told the governors, the four-member ethics committee could not reach a consensus on most of the alleged transgressions. He said the committee sustained only one allegation by a majority vote, citing Evans for an ethics violation in the matter involving Colonial Parking.
After Crawford’s summary was made public, Evans and his lawyer, backed by Price, said Crawford’s account was false. They said the ethics panel had not sustained any of the charges by a majority vote. Horner, however, supported Crawford’s version.
Later, a legal memo by Metro’s general counsel was made public showing that Crawford’s summary was correct. Evans then acknowledged that Crawford’s account was accurate, and, within days, he resigned from the Metro board.
Meanwhile, the D.C. Council on Tuesday stripped Evans of his chairmanship of the Finance and Revenue Committee and voted to hire a law firm to investigate his business dealings as they relate to the council.