WASHINGTON — The D.C. Council unanimously voted to recommend Jack Evans be expelled for ethical violations.
Tuesday's vote is the first step for expulsion. The Washington Post reports that the council will reconvene to cast a formal vote to remove Evans. Evans has served on the council for 27 years and currently represents Ward 2.
The private law firm of O’Melveny & Myers previously released a 97-page report outlining an alleged 11 ethical violations concerning the longest-serving council member.
The report alleges ethical violations dating back to 2014.
"Mr. Evans was paid quote-unquote large sums of money to be available to clients and take actions benefiting them," Councilmember Mary Cheh said.
In 2016, Evans started his own consulting company, NSE Consulting, which Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said he was running out of his council office.
Chairman Mendelson released a statement Tuesday night regarding his support in removing Evans from the Council, stating he had " to put principle above friendship and partisanship."
"The foundation of good government is trust. We have lost that. It will take time to rebuild," Mendelson said. "But it won't be rebuilt if the Council’s reaction to this scandal is merely a censure vote. The trust won’t be rebuilt as long as Mr. Evans remains on the Council. While the issue of one person’s behavior is important, concern about the status of our institution is more critical."
O’Melveny & Myers found that Evans was paid over $400,000 by clients who hired him for consulting work. But according to the report, Evans did little or no documented work.
When asked if he broke any ethics rules, Evans responded, "No. I'm going to release a 40-page response."
Evans did release a lengthy response to the report, addressing many of the allegations, and claiming the report's conclusions are wrong, misapply the law and/or make up new requirements.He states any errors on his part were minor oversights, corrected immediately upon discovery.
Here are the 11 alleged incidents of ethics violations:
1. In 2015, Evans, on three occasions, took official actions to influence or attempt to influence support for the Pepco-Exelon merger while negotiating for employment (and later after gaining employment) with the law firm Manatt, who actively represented Pepco and Exelon in connection with the merger.
2. In August 2016, shortly after the two Digi entities entered into service agreements with NSE, Evans’ staff (with Evans’ knowledge) contacted WMATA to help Digi arrange special after-hours access to the Metro Center station to facilitate Digi’s overnight construction of digital signs after the District government ordered Digi to halt its operations.
3. In November and December 2016, while Squash on Fire and EastBanc, Inc. were NSE clients, Evans twice voted in favor of the West End Parcels Development Omnibus Amendment Act of 2016, which included funds to maintain buildings associated with, or nearby to, the Squash on Fire facility.
4. In early 2017, while EastBanc Technologies was an NSE client, Evans and his staff arranged a meeting between EastBanc Technologies and senior officials at the Office of the Chief Technology Officer, where they could pitch software initiatives that might lead to city contracts.
5. In early 2017, while EastBanc was an NSE client, Evans and his staff, arranged a meeting between Anthony Lanier, President of EastBanc, and Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, to discuss a potential development project in Ward 5.
6. In March 2017, while Willco was an NSE client, Evans introduced the Relieve High Unemployment Tax Incentives Act of 2017, which included financial incentives for film, television and digital media production facilities that Willco was actively developing.
7. In March 2017, while Willco was an NSE client, Evans and his staff arranged a meeting for Jason Goldblatt, Willco’s President and CEO, and Councilmember McDuffie’s office to discuss Willco’s proposal for a public-private partnership for a sound studio facility in Ward 5.
8. In May 2017, while Willco was an NSE client, Evans and his staff provided assistance to Willco in trying to influence the District Department of Transportation to stop work on a curb installation that would prevent Willco from gaining access to a public alley.
9. In May and June 2017, at a time when Forge (a holding company for Colonial Parking, Inc.) was an NSE client, Evans took official actions through the Finance and Revenue Committee and through votes on the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Act of 2017 to preserve the commercial lot parking tax rate at 18%.
10. In June 2017, while Willco was an NSE client, Evans, at the request of Jason Goldblatt, spoke with a senior official in the Mayor’s office to determine the validity of a rumor about the government not renewing a lease on a Willco property.
11. In June 2017, while Willco was an NSE client, Evans and his staff, at the request of Willco executive Gary Cohen, provided assistance to Willco in obtaining an expedited plumbing permit for a Willco development project.
"I think we're all entitled to be disgusted by what we read in that report," Cheh said.