Kwame Brown Forced to Resign
Barrington M. Salmon | 6/11/2012, 9:37 p.m.
As he addressed the media after a court appearance, perhaps the enormity of his circumstances finally broke through Kwame R. Brown's customary bravado.
As he made a public statement last Friday following one of two court appearances to answer to a felony and a misdemeanor charge, Brown, choked up, his voice broke and he paused twice as he expressed regret for his actions.
"I want to apologize from the bottom of my heart to all those I have let down, the people of this great city," Brown said as he paused, his head bowed. "... my neighbors and friends, the mayor, my council colleagues, government officials and employees of the government who work so hard to serve our city."
"[To] my wife of 18 years, my children, mom, dad. I sincerely regret the pain that this has caused each of you. My mother and father they raised me never to be in a situation like this..."
Financial improprieties, unwise choices and poor judgment brought down the city's second most powerful elected official. From the time Brown threw his hat in the political ring, his finances were fodder for the media. He was at one point said to be $700,000 in debt and owed money on credit cards and other bills.
Brown, 41, resigned on June 8, after federal prosecutors made public a plea agreement where he admitted submitting false information to secure a $166,000 home equity loan, as well as a $55,000 loan he used to buy a powerboat. The feds also accused Brown of inflating his income by "tens of thousands of dollars" in activities that began in 2005. Brown received both loans from Industrial Bank.
In the second case, Brown, former chairman of the D.C. Council, pleaded guilty to violating a District campaign law that bars candidates from paying campaign employees more than $50. Brown - who acknowledged aiding and abetting a relative to pay $1,500 to a campaign worker during the 2008 campaign -faces up to six months in jail.
Brown was elected as an at-large member of the District of Columbia Council in 2004, and took office in January 2005. He was re-elected in 2008, and then, in 2010, he was elected chairman. He took office in January 2011.
"For the second time this year, a member of the D.C. Council has pled guilty to a felony offense and been forced to resign," said U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen. "While sitting on the Council, Kwame Brown repeatedly falsified and forged documents to deceive the bank into giving him money, even faxing one of the fraudulent documents from his Council office. Brown also gave a family member free license to make illegal and untraceable cash expenditures from his 2008 campaign in violation of D.C. law."
"The people of the District of Columbia deserve better from their elected officials. Today's pleas take us one step closer to a culture of integrity and accountability that will not tolerate politicians engaging in dishonesty and self-dealing."
As part of the plea agreement, he agreed to resign immediately from the council and cooperate with the authorities.