Vincent C. Gray

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Vincent C. Gray (born November 8, 1942)[1] is an United States politician. He is currently the seventh Mayor of the District of Columbia.[2] Prior to becoming mayor in January 2011, Gray served as Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia, and as Councilmember representing Ward 7. In the 1990s he also served as director of the DC Department of Human Services.

Election to Mayor in 2010

Gray, who is a Democrat, decided to challenge the encumbent Democratic Mayor Adrian Fenty in the September 14, 2010 Democratic Primary.[3] There were a number of other minor candidates including Sulaimon Brown. The candidates appeared in a number of debates that gave each of the candidates equal time, and Brown spent his time with personal attacks against Fenty questioning whether Fenty really loved his parents. Gray won the primary over Fenty, 54 to 44 percent.[4][5] Brown received around 200 votes.

As mayor, Gray appointed Brown as a special senior assistant in the Department of Health Care Finance for $110,000. The local media reported this decision as an example of cronyism. However, when the Washington City Paper linked Brown to a 1991 gun charge, a 1995 conviction for unlawful entry, and a 2007 restraining order against a 13-year-old girl,[6] Brown was fired and escorted by security from his office on the morning of February 24.[7] After being fired, Brown spoke to the media and explained that he had agreed with Gray to stay in the primary race and attack Fenty in exchange for a city job and cash payments received from Gray campaign aides Lorraine Green and Howard Brooks.[8] This led to investigations of cash contributions and disbursements by Gray's campaign. On Tuesday, July 10, 2010, Jeanne Clarke Harris, plead guilty to laundering campaign contributions from city contractor Jeffery E. Thompson through friends into the Gray campaign. The effort involved $653,000 in improperly reported donations. U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr said that the 2010 mayor's race was "compromised by backroom deals, secret payments and a flood of unreported cash."[9] Harris said that Thompson sought to hide his campaign contributions to Gray to avoid angering the Fenty administration that had awarded large contract to Thompson's firms.[9] Howard Brooks and Thomas W. Gore have previously plead guilty to charges surrounding the forwarding of Gray campaign cash to Brown.[9]

In response to the details revealed by Harris, three members of the DC City Council asked for Gray's resignation. Gray has said that he will not resign. Separately, Gray's campaign appeared to have violated a campaign finance law that required that all cash payments be limited to $50. The campaign routinely paid workers $100 per day in cash.[10]

References

  1. Voters Guide 2006 Supplement (PDF). The Washington Informer (2006-09-24).
  2. Nikita Stewart. "For Gray, a methodical path to the mayor's office", Washington Post, 2010-11-02. 
  3. "Gray to Challenge Fenty for Mayor", The Washington Times, March 31, 2010. 
  4. "How Adrian Fenty lost his reelection bid for D.C. mayor", The Washington Post, September 16, 2010. 
  5. "Gray defeats Fenty as voters choose conciliatory approach over brash tactics", The Washington Post, September 15, 2010. 
  6. Suderman, Alan. "The Bigger Scandal", Washington City Paper, February 23, 2011. Retrieved on July 11, 2012. 
  7. Stewart, Nikita. "Sulaimon Brown, aide to D.C. mayor, is fired after allegations of criminal record", The Washington Post, February 25, 2011. 
  8. Stewart, Nikita. "Brown shows money orders", Washington Post, June 5, 2011, p. C5. Retrieved on July 11, 2012. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Mike DeBonis and Nikita Stewart. "Gray's victory called tainted", July 11, 2012, p. A1. 
  10. "Sources: Laborer Pay Was Illegal", Express, July 13, 2012, p. 11. 
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