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Pride? Are DC political groups defending corrupt political leaders who fund them?

9 Jun

D.C. Mayor Gray calls Catania remarks ‘nonsense’

By Phil Reese on June 7, 2012 

Mayor Vincent Gray spoke at the Pride week LGBT town hall on Thursday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray took a shot at gay Council member David Catania during a Pride town hall event Thursday.
A day earlier, Catania said in a televised interview that Gray should resign if he fails to tell all he knows about allegations of improprieties in his 2010 mayoral campaign.
He told Fox 5 news, ”The time has come … for the mayor to provide answers to the questions that people have regarding his campaign or return as a private citizen and address those issues,” said Catania.
“I don’t want to respond to that kind of nonsense,” the mayor said when asked by the Blade’s Lou Chibbaro Jr. about Catania’s remarks. ”David Catania makes comments at times that are ridiculous.”
The reception and town hall, which took place at the Charles Sumner School in Washington, D.C., also saw the swearing in of members of the Mayor’s LGBT Advisory Committee. The event was sponsored by Capital Pride, the Washington Blade, the Victory Fund and the Crew Club.
“We want to get them sworn in tonight,” Mayor Gray said in announcing the new members of the committee after an introduction by the mayor’s GLBT liaison, Jeffrey Richardson. “Because we want them to take this seriously. This is serious work.”
“People can step back for a minute,” the mayor said in response to a question about the resignation and indictment of City Council Chair Kwame Brown. “The city is doing extremely well.”
The mayor said he was shocked and saddened by the resignation but said the scandal would not impact city services. He rattled off a list of accomplishments during his tenure as mayor, including posting a budget surplus, lower unemployment and a reduced number of homicides.
“We are a resilient city,” the mayor said, saying the District is adding 1,000 new residents each month. “Our city is in great shape.”
“I was stunned and I was sad to learn what was revealed,” the mayor said of the resignation of his longtime friend, but assured residents the city was on the right track.
The mayor also answered questions from the Blade about President Obama’s support of marriage equality as well as the impending Maryland referendum on same-sex marriage.
The mayor also spoke extensively of his pride over the District playing host to the International AIDS Conference, being held in the United States for the first time in two decades. He also said he was not prepared to make any statements about running for mayor again in 2014.
“We will be able to showcase what we are doing in the District of Columbia itself,” the mayor said, saying the conference will be an opportunity for AIDS/HIV researchers and advocates to advance the science of HIV prevention and care. “We are doing a lot.”
The comments came after a line of questioning about the rising HIV rates among gay men in the District of Columbia.
During an audience question and answer session immediately following the interview, trans advocate Ruby Corado thanked the mayor for his support.
“Since you’ve been mayor a lot of LGBT activists can sleep a little better,” said Corado, whose Casa Ruby recently opened catering to the Latino LGBT community. “As a trans activist, I certainly sleep a lot better.”
The members of the committee sworn in Thursday night are:
  • Andrew Barnett – Executive Director Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League
  • Gregory A. Cendana – Executive Director of Asian American Labor Alliance
  • Wesley D. Thomas – Dentist, U.S. Department of Defense & board member, Whitman-Walker Health
  • Brittany E. Walsh – Program Manager, LIFT-DC
  • Ryan C. Wilson – Trial Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division
  • Lester Johnson – President, Team DC Executive Council
  • Kareem Murphy – Partner, Ferguson Group & Member, Metropolitan Community Church Public Policy Team
  • Megan Wallace – Principal, Wallace Law, LLC,
  • Matthew Leblanc – Program Coordinator, LGBTQ Resource Center, Georgetown University
  • Savanna Wanzer – Founder of Capital Trans Pride 2007 & Board member Whitman Walker Health
  • Iden McCollum – Founder and Executive Director of the Ida Mae Campbell Foundation
  • Ronald L. Swanda – Aging Advocate
  • Dr. Imani Woody – Chair, SAGE Metro DC
  • Khadijah Tribble – Director of Operations for the Not-for-Profit Hospital Corporation’s Infectious Diseases Care Center & Principal, of Trifecta Consulting Group
  • Julius Agers – Two-Spirited American Indian and Transgender Advocate
  • Courtney Snowden – Principal, Raben Group
  • David Perez – President, Board of the Latino GLBT History Project & Director of Development for the League of United Latin American Citizens
  • June Crenshaw – Chair of the Board of Rainbow Response Coalition (RRC)
  • Barbara Ann Helmick – Deputy Chief of Staff for Citizen Outreach for The Public Interest Network (appointed as Vice Chair of Mayor’s GLBT Advisory Committee)
  • Earl Fowlkes – President/CEO of the International Federation of Black Prides (IFBP) – Appointed as Chair of Mayor’s GLBT Advisory Committee

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Will Mayor Vincent Gray be stepping down?

8 Jun
Will we be able to run a Libertarian for Mayor?

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown is charged with bank fraud and is making plans to resign

6 Jun

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown (D) was charged Wednesday with bank fraud, according to documents released this afternoon, and he has told other council members he plans to resign.
Brown has been the subject of a long-running corruption investigation.
Past coverage

Timeline: The investigation so far

Timeline: The investigation so far

Catch up on the state of the long-running federal investigation into Kwame Brown.

‘If you ever fall, you get back up’

‘If you ever fall, you get back up’

FROM ARCHVIES | Kwame Brown said he’s relying on father’s advice to stay upbeat amid federal probe.

Brown: ‘I’m not worried one bit’

Brown: ‘I’m not worried one bit’

FROM ARCHIVES | Chairman says he’s saying upbeat and putting in 15-hour days.
The charges were filed in the District’s federal court in a “criminal information,” a document that can only be filed with the defendant’s consent and signals a plea deal is near, the officials said. Brown did not immediately return phone calls. His attorney, Frederick D. Cooke Jr., did not respond to numerous phone calls and e-mails Wednesday. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Bill Miller, declined to comment.
Brown has apologized to the council and said he will be speaking to reporters in the next day or so to resign, according to three council members in the room, who spoke on condition of anonymity to allow Brown to make the announcement himself.
“He was very somber and you can tell this is just a weight,” one member said.
The three-page charging document says that Brown provided Industrial Bank of Washington “falsified documents” that overstated his income by “tens of thousands of dollars” to allow him to obtain a home equity loan and to purchase a boat. Prosecutors wrote that the two-year scam started in August 2005.
Bank fraud carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, but Brown is sure to be exposed to far more lenient punishment under federal sentencing guidelines.
The City Council met in an emergency session on Wednesday afternoon. The panel voted unanimously to close the meeting to press and public, saying they were meeting about a personnel matter. Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), the president pro tempore of the body, is overseeing the meeting. Brown was not in the room while reporters were in there.
Brown has sent texts to friends and associates indicating that he would resign, but the messages did not put a timetable on any possible resignation.
Still, it appeared the resignation would happen soon. Council members were talking openly about the possibility.
Council Member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) called Brown’s pending resignation “an opportunity, an opportunity for real change.”
Almost immediately after the news of the possibility of charges broke this morning, Brown staffers locked all the doors to the chairman’s wing of offices in the John A. Wilson Building.
From behind locked doors, Brown spokeswoman Karen Sibert told reporters Brown was having a staff meeting, which included the city council secretary and general counsel.
At one point, Brown approached the glass door and made joking hand signals and facial gestures with a reporter. But a few minutes later, Brown staffers could be seen hugging one another through the glass door.
Around 2 p.m., Brown summoned Cheh to his office. If Brown resigns, Cheh would become the temporary chairman and oversee the the naming of an interim chairman. The council would then select an interim chairman from among sitting at-large members.