WI Online Editor
The saga surrounding unethical behavior among District of Columbia City Council members continues.
In the latest of a series of alleged wrongdoings aligned with the Council, Ted Loza, former chief-of-staff to Ward 1 Councilman Jim Graham, is seen on a recently-released FBI surveillance tape pocketing a bribe from a cab company owner.
Loza, who reportedly accepted payoffs in 2008 to help steer taxi cab legislation through the Council, faces 14 months in prison on federal corruption charges.
On the tape that was shown during local broadcast news reports, Loza is seen stuffing a wad of cash into his pants pocket nand saying, "I need it, that’s why I take it." He then accepted an envelope containing a reported $2,600 in cash that was intended for Graham.
Reports state that although the veteran councilman returned the money, he has come under fire for not reporting the incident. "My parents taught me the difference between right and wrong,"Graham told the Washington Informer, adding that within 60 seconds of receiving it, he had given it back. "I did nothing wrong."
Meanwhile, Graham’s drama comes in the wake of a several incidences of unethical conduct that have plagued members of the 13-member Council over the past six months.
They include allegations that Mayor Vincent Gray rewarded campaign supporter Sulaimon Brown with money and a high-paying city job in exchange for vilifying then-Mayor Adrian Fenty during last fall’s mayoral race.
In addition, Chairman Kwame Brown is being taken to task for specifically stating his choice surrrounding at least two high-priced city-issued SUVs; and Ward 5 Councilman Harry Thomas Jr. is being accused by the city attorney of diverting more than $300,000 of taxpayer money to his personal use.
Thomas, who has stepped down from his influential post as chairman of the Council’s Economic Development Committee, is also being sued by the city for some $1 million in damages.