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Sulaimon Brown Allegations - Fact or Fiction?

Barrington M. Salmon | 6/9/2011, 7:33 a.m.
Former District of Columbia mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown is sworn-in at a D.C. Council committee investigation hearing. Brown saidMayor Vincent Gray (D), paid him to discredit then-Mayor Adrian Fenty. / Photo by Khalid Naji-Allah.

Brown, the Center of a Media Circus

Sulaimon Brown finally appeared on Monday afternoon before D.C. council members trying to wrest answers from him about allega-tions he has leveled against Mayor Vincent C. Gray. But despite more than four hours of grandstanding and verbal jousting, it's still not clear how much of Brown's testimony is fact or fiction.

For the past few months, Brown's accusations have swirled around the Gray administration. Brown accuses administration officials of paying him off with money orders, cash and a job for engaging in a smear campaign against former Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.

With the spotlight squarely on him, Brown took the opportunity to declare, "The mayor is a crook," to members of the council commit-tee investigating corruption allegations in the Gray administration.

Monday afternoon was the first time that Brown, 40, appeared before the D.C. Council and under oath after stonewalling the legislative body for months.

Until his June 6 appearance, Brown had refused to show up. The D.C. Council eventually used D.C. Superior Court to prod him into providing testimony. And last week, Brown agreed to testify before the D.C. Council only after appearing before a judge.

Gray, 68, has declined to answer questions about the alleged improprieties because of ongoing investigations, and has attempted to steer public attention to District affairs, to no avail.

"There's no question we would rather focus our full attention on the future of the city," Gray said Tuesday, June 7, according to pub-lished reports.

But the queries and innuendo refuse to go away.

Five months into Gray's first term, his administration has been unable to find its footing. The allegations have sidetracked the new mayor, distracted the administration from focusing on problems confronting the city, and sparked investigations by the FBI, the D.C. Council, the U.S. attorney's office and a congressional committee.

Brown was hired and quickly dismissed from a $110,000-a-year job with the D.C. Department of Health Care Finance. He said he was fired for political reasons and accuses witnesses of perjuring themselves by saying he was released following complaints of poor job per-formance and sexual harassment.

He claims that campaign consultant Howard L. Brooks and Lorraine Green, chairwoman of Gray's campaign and transition teams, gave him payments. Gray, Brooks and Green have denied the allegations.

The unemployed auditor wore sunglasses for the entire proceeding, insulted numerous council members, withheld comment on some questions, evaded others and sometimes rattled on at length.Former District of Columbia mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown reviews his notes during his testimony before a D.C. Council committee investigating allegations as to whether Mayor Vincent Gray (D), paid him to discredit then-Mayor Adrian Fenty during the mayoral campaign and promised employment to Brown in exchanged for his support. The hearing took place on Monday, June 6 at the John A. Wilson Building in Northwest. / Photo by Khalid Naji-Allah

The combative hearing has done little to clear up who's telling the truth and who is lying, although Brown did produce and share with the media some money orders he said Gray officials passed to him.