A subpoena received within the past seven days 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, according to four Metro officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the confidential matter.
The timing of the new subpoena suggested that it was related to the June 21 FBI search of Evans’s Georgetown home. That search came a day after The Washington Post published a confidential memo from the law firm hired by the Metro board to conduct the ethics investigation of Evans.
The 20-page memo said Evans knowingly violated numerous ethics rules, such as by using his position as chairman of the Metro board to help Colonial Parking, which was paying him $50,000 a year as a consultant.
The subpoenas added to Evans’s legal and political troubles. The D.C. Council has formally reprimanded him, and he is set to appear before it Tuesday to try to persuade it not to strip him of his powerful position as chairman of the finance committee.
In a flurry of other developments Thursday,Metro board member Paul Smedberg, who represents Virginia, was elected to succeed Evans as chairman. The board also blocked Evans ally Corbett Price from serving as a vice chairman.
Separately, the ethics committee recommended reforming its procedures for future investigations, after drawing criticism for its handling of the Evans probe.
One of the proposed reforms would increase the number of ethics committee members to five from four, to avoid 2-to-2 standoffs of the sort that hampered the Evans investigation. Another would require the committee to issue written reports of its findings.
In remarks summarizing his legacy after his 4½ -year stint on the board, all but one as chairman, Evans did not mention the ethics controversy that forced his departure. Instead, he offered a “Top 10” list of accomplishments, such as achieving dedicated funding for the agency and picking Paul J. Wiedefeld to be general manager.
Smedberg presented him with a plaque to thank him for his service.
A Metro official said the new subpoena sought information about the subjects of the ethics investigation. That probe focused on Evans’s dealings with Colonial, a digital sign firm and a business plan Evans used in seeking a job with a law firm.
Said another Metro official: “Apparently the [Justice Department] attorney, when they saw all the activity last week dealing with the law firm report, issued a second grand jury subpoena.”
The official said the subpoena was “pretty broad-based” and appeared to seek emails, memos and other communications between Evans and Metro vendors.
Evans, who has not been charged with a crime, and his lawyer did not respond to text messages and phone calls requesting comment.
The Washington Post reported in February that a federal grand jury had subpoenaed documents about Evans in September, about work he did that helped Digi Outdoor Media, the sign company. It was not previously known that Metro had received a subpoena as well in that period.
In addition to the subpoenas in the fall, the grand jury in March issued ones related to Evans and his consulting clients to the D.C. Council and the office of Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D).
Schulte Roth & Zabel, the outside law firm that investigated Evans for the Metro board, found he committed six violations related to Digi, but the ethics committee could not agree on any of them.
Altogether, the law firm identified 16 violations of the Metro ethics code and Metro Compact, its founding document. The ethics committee agreed only on one violation, of Evans’s failure to disclose a conflict of interest with Colonial Parking.
Evans hurt his credibility by repeatedly insisting that the ethics committee had cleared him entirely. His ally, Price, had continued to defend Evans and had also falsely claimed that the ethics committee had found no violations by Evans, even though Price was a member of the ethics committee.
Concern about Price’s misstatements led the board’s nominating committee to leave him off its slate of candidates for the top positions on the board, according to officials familiar with the matter.
In the committee’s initial discussions at a meeting on June 13, Price, who like Evans represents the District, had been slated to be a vice chairman of the board and a member of its executive committee. The board will instead fill those positions with whomever the D.C. Council picks to succeed Evans.
In the meantime, Tom Bulger, an alternate board member representing the District, will fill the spots on a temporary basis. It is unusual for an alternate, who only votes when a principal member is absent, to serve on the executive committee.
Price said after the meeting that he had not wanted to be a vice chairman and only agreed to do so temporarily until the D.C. Council selected Evans’s successor. Asked about other officials’ accounts that Bulger was taking his place temporarily because of concerns about his misstatements, Price said, “No one mentioned that to me.”
Smedberg, a former Alexandria City Council member, emerged weeks ago as the front-runner to succeed Evans as chairman. He is expected to take a much lower profile than the outspoken Evans and was described as a consensus-builder who would help calm the turmoil that the board has experienced with the Evans controversy.
Smedberg was approved by voice vote with no dissent. He said his priorities as chairman would be obtaining an extension of federal funding for Metro, approving the ethics committee’s proposed reforms, and “improving the rider experience and creating an ever better and safer and more reliable system.”
In another development, a majority of the four-member ethics committee urged changes in its investigative process. Three of the four members signed a letter calling for the committee to issue a written report of its findings in the future; Price did not sign.
No written report was released after the Evans probe, and initially the ethics committee said its results would not be made public. Ethics committee Chairman Clarence C. Crawford issued a four-page summary of the findings after the governors of Maryland and Virginia, and other officials of the two states, called for the results to be released.
The committee also said Metro should provide guidance for evaluating “apparent” conflicts of interest and fix a standard of evidence for finding violations.
A letter outlining the recommendations was signed by Crawford and ethics committee members Smedberg and David Horner, who represents the federal government. Price said he was not asked to sign it.
But an email sent Wednesday night to Price’s Metro email address asked him if he would sign the letter from the ethics committee recommending the changes. The email was sent by Crawford; it was obtained by The Washington Post.
Asked about it, Price said, “If they sent it to me, I did not receive it. . . . I’m not receiving the emails. They keep changing the passcode.”