- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 29, 2012

While embattled D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray fights corruption allegations involving his 2010 mayoral campaign, his son, Carlos, has become entrenched in a party-boy lifestyle that apparently goes with his moonlighting job as a liquor “brand specialist” for top-shelf labels such as Ciroc vodka, Don Julio tequila and Nuvo sparkling vodka liqueur.

Carlos Gray was connected last week with the latest allegations of wrongdoing against his father when it was learned that the Gray campaign obtained confidential voter information about public-housing residents from the D.C. Housing Authority, where the younger Mr. Gray is employed.

Carlos Gray has a second job with MKTG Inc., an “integrated marketing communications agency” with offices in London, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The company’s clients include Nike Inc., Lexus, Levi Strauss & Co., Tiffany & Co. and Google Inc.

Whether it be with Brazilian supermodels, NFL stars, or celebrity rappers and disc jockeys, there is a strong suggestion that, in the words of one social networking website, the son of the D.C. mayor “knows how to party.”

While questions this week were about whether Carlos Gray had anything to do with the release of personal information from the housing authority on 6,000 public-housing residents to his father’s campaign, the elder Mr. Gray has been plagued from the beginning of his term by charges of nepotism, cronyism and campaign finance violations.

Yet in light of his son’s more socially active second job, a different set of questions arises about whether housing authority officials allow or even knew of such outside employment.

Housing authority spokeswoman Dena Michaelson said every employee is required to file a financial disclosure form when initially employed to reveal any conflict of interest, including outside work. Employees who can affect policy must complete that form annually.

In addition, she said, housing authority employees are prohibited from engaging in outside work that presents a conflict or the appearance of a conflict of interest. Employees who hold second jobs must notify their supervisors.

If the agency determines that such outside work interferes with performance or job requirements, the employee may be asked to terminate the second job in order to remain employed at the housing authority.

Ms. Michaelson said the younger Mr. Gray, who serves as a “business development and marketing coordinator in the office of capital programs,” reports to a deputy director. She said he informed his immediate supervisor of his second job and described it as part-time, and that it has not interfered with his housing authority responsibilities.

Carlos Gray was hired at the housing authority in January 2007, according to city records, and as of February 2011 was receiving an annual salary of $85,976. Ms. Michaelson would not confirm his current salary and denied that he is in “an administrative or management position.”

Describing himself on the networking site LinkedIn as a business development and marketing manager with the housing authority, he did not return calls for comment.

As a well-paid city employee, he likely could afford to buy plenty of adult beverages for events in September such as the “Wanamaker Wet Party,” a launch for Qream liqueur hosted by rap star Pharrell Williams or the “Guest of a Guest DC Re-Launch Party” at District Underground in Adams Morgan. But as a “brand rep” for top-shelf liquors, it is likely that he does not have to.

Photo captions on social networking, marketing and partying websites describe him as a “liquor brand specialist and son of Mayor Gray” and show him posing with event hosts or local celebrities such as singer Raheem DeVaughn, who was honored by the elder Mr. Gray last year with a key to the city.

“Mayor Vincent Gray’s son, who shares the same name as his father but goes by Carlos was spotted partying hard inside Ozio’s Martini and Cigar Lounge in Northwest D.C.,” reads the caption beneath a photo of the younger Mr. Gray, among fellow imbibers, on a website called the Fab Empire. The headline: “Mayor of D.C.’s Son Carlos Gray Knows How to Party.”

When he is not involved with capital projects for the housing authority or representing liquor brands and international marketing firms, the younger Mr. Gray sometimes can be found at the Stadium Club, a strip club in Northeast owned by a city developer who acquired the property from reformed drug kingpin Cornell Jones.

Mr. Jones is being sued by the city on allegations that he took money intended for a job training center for ex-offenders with HIV/AIDS before arranging for the transfer of a liquor license to that same property and using public funds to improve the dilapidated warehouse, then selling it for more than $2 million. He has denied those claims.

Numerous sources say the younger Mr. Gray has frequented the strip club and socializes with Mr. Jones, who club owners say maintains a regular presence and promotes business on certain nights. It is unclear whether the younger Mr. Gray’s second job overlaps with his social life at the Stadium Club.

The Washington Post reported last week that Carlos Gray served as one of two Gray for Mayor “team captains” for voter outreach in projects such as Benning Terrace, Stoddert Terrace, Garfield Terrace Family and Park Morton — where the Gray campaign reportedly targeted prospective voters through the use of confidential agency information.

The younger Mr. Gray has denied any knowledge of the public-housing database that fell into the hands of his father’s campaign, and Adrianne Todman, executive director of the housing authority, has said the agency will take “strong disciplinary action” against any involved employees and refer the matter to “appropriate authorities.”