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January 22, 2014


Dear Icicles:

In the cold light of day, in the coldness of night, just remember the Cherry Blossom Festival is only eight weeks away. This cold spell is sure to break before then.

Gary Imhoff


Corruption and the 2014 Election
Dorothy Brizill,

In his formal remarks kicking off his reelection campaign at THEARC on January 11, Mayor Gray offered a tepid apology to District voters for the “shortcomings” in his 2010 mayoral campaign and asked for “forgiveness,” In a somewhat defiant stance, Gray went on to say, “It is time to turn the page. I know that some journalists and our opponents want you to focus on the past. I know that some reporters prefer a circus to a thoughtful discussion f issues.” Over the past two weeks, Gray and his campaign have consistently refused to answer specific questions regarding the 2010 shadow campaign, namely what he knew and when he knew it.

In the coming weeks prior to the April primary, and the few weeks prior to the opening of early voting on March 17, Gray’s effort to put the voters’ concerns regarding the 2010 campaign and corruption in the District government behind him may prove increasingly difficult because of renewed press and public focus on key individuals who were involved in that campaign who are scheduled to be sentenced or to have a status conference before federal judges at the US District courthouse: Vernon Hawkins on February 14; Eugenia (Jean) Clarke Harris on March 19; Lee Calhoun also on March 19; and Stanley Straughter also on March 19. Moreover, in the coming weeks, the issue of corruption in the District government will again be raised following the announcement on Friday that Neil Rodgers, an aide to former councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr., was indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with theft and fraud for his role in helping Thomas divert $100,000 in government grant funds from the Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation to pay for an inaugural ball sponsored by the DC Young Democrats at the Wilson Building in 2009. Rather than accept a plea agreement offered by the US Attorney’s office, Rodgers chose to take his case to a grand jury which was sworn in on November 9, 2012, which returned a bill of indictment. Rodgers is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday, January 24, at 9:15 a.m. Before Judge John D. Bates in Courtroom 3A, sixth floor of the US District courthouse. At that time, a trial schedule will be set. The trial is likely to commence during the course of the 2014 elections. Rodgers’ indictment will close out the US Attorney’s case regarding Thomas, since other individuals who were involved in the councilmember’s theft of government funds — Ayawna Webster, Millicent West, and Danita Doleman — have all pled guilty and will be sentenced in the coming months, again sometime during the course of the 2014 election.

Finally, Michael Brown, who pled guilty last year to accepting $55,000 in bribes from federal agents, is scheduled to be sentenced on April 28. His sentencing, although coming after the April 1 primary, will mark the third elected official in recent years who has been charged with malfeasance in office, and will again remind voters of the specter of corruption that appears to permeate the District government. Moreover, Brown’s solicitation of bribes and his efforts to influence the city’s Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) program has itself results in an ongoing federal investigation and probe into procurement and contracting practices by the District government which may itself result in guilty pleas and indictments during the coming year.


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