D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown was charged Wednesday with one count of bank fraud for lying on a loan application between 2005 and 2007, delivering a historic blow to a city government that has seen unprecedented legal woes and eroded the public’s trust.
A criminal information filed in U.S. District Court for the District states that Mr. Brown, who has seen mounting scrutiny over a federal probe into his 2008 re-election campaign, falsified documents in 2005 in order to inflate his income to qualify for loans on his Ward 7 Hillcrest neighborhood home and boat.
Mr. Brown overstated his income as an at-large D.C Council member by “tens of thousands of dollars” on the home equity loan he filed with Industrial Bank in September 2005, according to the information. The filing of a criminal information typically signals that a plea agreement is in the works.
Mr. Brown was not immediately available for comment, and his council office door remained locked at about 1 p.m. Wednesday. An aide said through the door they were engaged in a “staff meeting” and had no comment.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Brown appeared to be in good spirits, speaking with a reporter from The Washington Times in the hallway of the John A. Wilson Building and saying he was ready for a normal work day. He was dressed casually, in a blazer and jeans.
The development could throw a serious wrinkle into the future of the D.C. Council, which saw a former member, Harry Thomas Jr., resign from the Ward 5 seat in January and obtain a 38-month prison term for stealing more than $350,000 in public funds.
Mr. Brown said on Tuesday he had no plans to resign, moments after he guided the passage of the city’s fiscal 2013 budget. He said he did not believe he broke any laws during the 2008 campaign, but the recent news report suggests prosecutors are more interested in his personal finances.