Second-highest ranking DC official resigns in disgrace

Melissa Quinn | Contributor

Kwame Brown, Washington, D.C’s city council chairman and a potential candidate for mayor, has been charged with bank fraud after his personal finances became the subject of scandal.

NBC Washington reports that Brown resigned after the charges were announced.

“Because of the great respect that I have for the institution that is the Council of the District of Columbia, I have chosen the only honorable course in submitting my resignation at this time,” Brown said in a statement. “I simply will not hold this body, and its important work hostage to the resolution of my personal indiscretions.”

D.C. prosecutors believe Brown secured a home equity loan and a $50,000 boat by overstating his income by tens of thousands of dollars.

In addition to charges surrounding Brown’s personal finances, federal authorities are looking into his campaign finances. The D.C. Campaign Finance Office audited the campaign’s records and found more than $270,000 in donations and expenditures had not been reported. It was also discovered that Brown passed $239,000 to a consulting firm run by his brother, Che. The campaign failed to register a bank account Che controlled that held $60,000.

As chairman of the council, Brown was the second-highest ranking official in the District of Columbia, overseeing the city’s finances and deciding what legislation was presented to the board. He was known to reward supporters with important leadership positions and punish those who crossed him, the Washington Post reports.

Brown was in line to succeed Mayor Vincent Gray if Gray abruptly left office. He is scheduled to attend a plea hearing Friday before a district judge.

According to the Post, bank fraud carries a prison sentence of at least 30 years, but Brown will face a lesser punishment under federal sentencing guidelines.

Brown is the latest in a series of D.C. politicians to be criminally charged for shady dealings.

In May Thomas W. Gore, assistant treasurer to Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray, was charged with three counts of aiding and abetting and one count of obstruction of justice. Gore allegedly made campaign contributions using another person’s name and destroyed a spiral notebook containing the recorded contributions.

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