Politics

Council Members Push for Evans’ Resignation

Nine of the 13 members of the D.C. Council want their Ward 2 colleague Jack Evans to resign from the District’s legislative body because of numerous ethical violations in a council-mandated report.

The 97-page report, conducted by the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers, concluded that Evans, who has served on the council since 1991, violated the body’s ethics rules at least 11 times in the past five years. The report said Evans committed these violations acting in his capacity as a legislator on behalf of current or prospective clients of his private consulting business or law firm.

The report also said Evans received hundreds of thousands of dollars for his services.

For the majority of the council, the actions stated in the report convinced them that Evans needs to resign.

“I am profoundly disappointed in Council member Evans,” said Council member Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5), adding that he spoke with Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) and Evans “about this very serious issue.”

“In our conversation, I told Council member Evans that, in the best interest of the District, he should resign from the council,” McDuffie said. “The O’Melveny report reveals a pattern of unethical conduct by Council member Evans, and why his actions have irreparably breached the public trust.”

Councilman Brandon Todd (D-Ward 4), in a move that surprised many, also requested that Evans resign. Todd and Evans have been allies on the council since the former won a special election in 2015 to replace Muriel Bowser, now the District mayor, in Ward 4.

In a tweet, Todd said “the findings within the report are troubling. It is clear that Mr. Evans should resign.”

Council member Trayon White (D-Ward 8) thinks Evans should go, too.

“Jack and I spoke and we do not agree,” White said. “His responses don’t make sense. What he should do is his choice, and I told him to he should resign and focus on his family who solely depend on him.”

Council members Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1), Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), Robert White (D-At Large), Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) and David Grosso (I-At Large) have also urged Evans to step aside.

Evans has indicated he will not resign from the council and his attorneys have responded with its own report saying that while the embattled legislator could have done a better job with disclosure, no corruption took place.

Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) has not asked for Evans resignation but stated that the O’Melveny report’s findings troubled her.

Council member Anita Bonds (D-At Large) said on the Nov. 8 episode of “The KoJo Nnamdi Show” on WAMU-FM that she has spoken with Evans about resigning but hasn’t definitely called for him to quit, nor has Mendelson publicly requested Evans vacate his seat.

Council member Vincent Gray (D-Ward 7) refrained from calling Evans to resign and said his colleague should “consider what is best for the residents of Ward 2, his family and himself.”

“I firmly believe in due process and can appreciate better than most what it feels like not to be afforded that,” said Gray, who endured his own scandal regarding his successful 2010 mayoral campaign that ultimately helped sink his reelection bid.

Gray said the ad hoc committee charged with investigating Evans — composed of all council members except Evans — had not met since the O’Melveny’s report release last week and it seemed unfair to Evans to call for him to quit when the matter had not been discussed.

Gray said Evans should be given the right of due process and that the facts of the situation should be brought out before any council member comments on the embattled legislator’s future.

“I do not believe it is appropriate to be publicly weighing in with personal conclusions about an ongoing disciplinary process for which we need to examine the facts on a fair and impartial basis,” Gray said. “I believe everyone should be afforded due process and this very serious and difficult undertaking by the council needs to conclude with a fair and just result for Council member Evans, which will preserve and restore public trust in the institution of the Council of the District of Columbia.”

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