- The Washington Times - Monday, July 8, 2019

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson on Monday said that the general counsel will choose by the end of the week a law firm to investigate council member Jack Evans for possible violations of the code of conduct.

Meanwhile, the council is set to vote Tuesday on whether to remove Mr. Evans as chairman of the Finance and Revenue Committee. Mr. Mendelson said city lawmakers also will determine how the committee’s responsibilities will be delegated and learn more about the scope of the investigation.

“I, in no way, feel bound by the limitations Mr. Evans put on himself when he spoke to council last week,” Mr. Mendelson, at-large Democrat, said during a press conference.

Mr. Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, has been the focus of scrutiny and criticism for several months over accusations that he leveraged his position as the city’s longest-serving lawmaker and as the chairman of the Metro Board of Directors drum up new clients for his consulting firm and benefit current clients.

Last week, Mr. Evans shared with fellow lawmakers his side of the scandal and asked them to wait for the investigation before they revoke his chairmanship. But he only answered questions about the Metro ethics investigation of his activities, leaving several council members frustrated and doubtful of his integrity.

Mr. Mendelson said that after the law firm has begun its investigation, lawmakers will appoint an ad hoc committee to review its findings and make recommendations to the full council. The council chairman said that appointing the law firm before creating the committee will allow the investigation to get underway more quickly.

The law firm will be able to uncover new information better than an ad hoc committee because its privilege power will allow it to collect more documents, Mr. Mendelson said Monday.

The council will fill the D.C. vacancy on the Metro Board, created by Mr. Evans‘ resignation, when lawmakers return from their summer recess in September, Mr. Mendelson said.

In the meantime, the District will be represented by one of its alternate members on the Metro Board — Tom Bulger, president of the Government Relations Inc. lobbying firm.

Council member Elissa Silverman, at-large independent, introduced emergency legislation to remove Corbett Price as a D.C. representative on the Metro Board.

“Members of the public must be able to rely on the veracity of statements made by public officials, especially when those statements are related to public investigations,” Ms. Silverman’s resolution states.

Mr. Price, chairman and CEO of the financial advisory firm Quantix Health Capital, asserted that Metro’s ethics committee had cleared Mr. Evans of all violations. The ethics panel, on which Mr. Price served, actually found that Mr. Evans had failed to disclose his business relationship with Colonial Parking, which had paid his consulting firm $50,000 a year.

Mr. Evans previously denied the ethics violation because he believed he had “cured the violation” when he refiled his disclosure form, and Mr. Price reiterated that version of events.

Mr. Mendelson said he does not support the Silverman resolution because it does not include a plan of succession, among other reasons.

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