Catania: Past Week In DC Government 'A Doozy'

11:49 PM, Feb 25, 2011   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- It's been a whirlwind week in DC government filled with theatrics and controversy. First, there were the extravagant car leases, then questions surrounding hirings by Mayor Vince Gray.  Thursday, an employee was led out of the office by police amid accusations that the firing was politically motivated.

9NEWS NOW's Delia Goncalves was there when the drama unfolded Thursday and returned Friday to put it all in perspective.

"We need to release ourselves from so much needless drama," said DC Councilman David Catania.

Catania says mistakes will happen in any new administration. He said, "This week was a doozy."

That starting on Sunday, when Council Chair Kwame Brown showed us the interior of his second Lincoln Navigator, the leased luxury vehicle that cost taxpayers nearly $2,000 a month.

"As far as I'm concerned, both vehicles can go back," said Mayor Vince Gray.

Then, there were questions of cronyism surrounding the hiring of Gray supporter Sulaimon Brown when the City Paper dug up his alleged criminal past. The very next day, Sulaimon Brown was led out of the Office of Health Care Finance by police.

Brown said, "It's really hard to swallow for some political bull***."

Brown barged into a news conference Thursday with his former boss and the mayor. There, he dropped a bombshell.

"Catania wanted me gone and he threatened the director," stated Brown.

Friday, the mayor refused to talk about Sulaimon Brown's accusation, but Councilman Catania did.

"His behavior yesterday may be illustrative as to why he lost his job," said Catania.

Brown alleged Catania was going to block the confirmation of the healthcare finance director, which Catania raised and the director denied at his long scheduled confirmation hearing.

Catania says it's time for city leaders to put the drama behind them and get back to the people's work. But perhaps not quite yet: we're learning that Councilwoman Mary Cheh wants to look into Gray's payment of staffers and if their salaries are commensurate with their experience.

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