Gray on Sulaimon: "Have you been to Eatonville?"

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Mayor Vincent C. Gray on Wednesday flatly rejected key points of testimony from a minor 2010 mayoral candidate who says he was paid by Mr. Gray and his team to bash the incumbent, Adrian M. Fenty, on the campaign trail.

The witness, Sulaimon Brown, told the D.C. Committee on Government Operations and the Environment that he met Mr. Gray and a campaign consultant, Howard Brooks, outside the Eatonville restaurant on 14th Street in Northwest to accept one such payment in early August.

“There’s no truth to it,” Mr. Gray said in response to a question at his weekly press briefing. “I mean the logic of it doesn’t even hold — Have you been to Eatonville?”

“To step outside and have a conversation like this, whispering, it’s preposterous,” Mr. Gray continued. “And there were other preposterous statements that were made as well.”

Mr. Gray reminded people that he called for the investigation into questions surrounding the hiring practices of his transition team, who provided jobs to apparent campaign allies and children of some city officials.

Mr. Brown wore sunglasses during his highly anticipated appearance before the committee on Monday, at times interrupting and taunting council members.

Mr. Gray pointed to these qualities to poke holes in Mr. Brown’s credibility.

“The testimony itself and the appearance of the witness were prima facie evidence to me,” he said, garnering laughter in the press briefing room.

A reporter noted those very qualities raise the question of why he was hired in the first place to a $110,000-a-year job in the D.C. Department of Healthcare Finance, before his sudden firing mere weeks later.

Mr. Gray said Mr. Brown boasted a resume with several auditing positions, yet he has gotten to know Mr. Brown better through his actions since the firing.

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