I just read in the Washington Post that Michael Brown, a frequent guest on Fox News Channel, former Member of DC City Council and son of former Commerce Secretary Brown who was killed in a plane accident while serving as Commerce Secretary, pleaded guilty yesterday to bribery charges. I think this is very sad and disgraceful. I am disappointed. I like Michael and had hoped he would be a leader – not a crook. He has disgraced himself and worse, given up his chance to really help young people who looked up to him. When role models in the community commit crimes — it is not just the financial loss but so much more.
His lawyer said ‘like many people after the economy crashed, Michael had extreme financial pressures, and they caused him to make a very unwise decision…” NOTE TO HIS LAWYER – yes, many people had setbacks but did not steal or accept bribes.
And note the red ink below – one of the city government crooks stole from the youth who I had hoped Michael would inspire and be a giant role model.
Former D.C. Council member Brown pleads guilty to bribe charge
By Ann E. Marimow and Mike DeBonis, Published: June 10
He accepted $100 bills stuffed into a duffel bag alongside a Washington Nationals baseball cap. Another wad of cash came inside a Redskins coffee mug.
And detailed in Michael A. Brown’s guilty plea on bribery charges Monday was another revelation: evidence that the former D.C. Council member is cooperating with a broader investigation into a D.C. businessman connected to the secret financing of Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s 2010 campaign.
Brown, 48, admitted in federal court that he took $55,000 in cash from a company that he thought was trying to do business with the city government. In fact, the businessmen were undercover investigators with the FBI.
“Like many people after the economy crashed, Michael had extreme financial pressures, and they caused him to make a very unwise decision,” his attorney, Brian M. Heberlig, told reporters after Brown’s appearance at the U.S. District Court in Washington.
The prospect that Brown is cooperating in the larger investigation suggests that more charges against others are possible.
Brown’s connection to that investigation stems from a $20,000 contribution he received in his failed 2007 run for the D.C. Council. In his plea deal Monday, Brown acknowledged concealing the source of that contribution. The donor funneled the funds through public relations consultant Jeanne Clarke Harris, who in turn wired the money to Brown, who reported it as a personal contribution.
Harris pleaded guilty in July to orchestrating a scheme of illegal “straw” donations and an unreported “shadow campaign” of more than $600,000 benefiting Gray’s 2010 mayoral run, all financed by a co-conspirator unnamed in court documents.
Several people familiar with the investigation have identified the source of funds, including the donation to Brown, as businessman and major city contractor Jeffrey E. Thompson.
Ronald C. Machen Jr., the District’s U.S. attorney, said Brown will not be charged in connection with the campaign contribution. Prosecutors said Brown is cooperating, and they asked to push back his sentencing until October in light of that cooperation.
A 31-page court filing, meanwhile, described in detail Brown’s bribery scheme. He kept in constant touch with undercover agents who posed as businessmen seeking help becoming a “certified business enterprise” — a status that gives small, local or woman- or minority-owned contractors an advantage with city contracts.
According to court documents, the bribery scheme dates to conversations that began with an unnamed “Person A” prior to July. Brown asked the person to assist him in obtaining up to $75,000 from a government contractor in exchange for Brown’s help. That person arranged for Brown, then chairman of the D.C. Council’s Committee on Economic Development and Housing, to meet with one of the undercover agents.
In text messages, phone calls and five in-person meetings at D.C. restaurants including the Channel Inn and the Hamilton, Brown kept one of the undercover agents informed of his progress with the city’s bureaucracy. Brown also pressed the agent for partial payments, which he referred to as a “piece of the piece.”
On July 11, Brown received $15,000 in $100 bills stuffed in a duffel bag with two Washington Nationals T-shirts and a baseball cap. At another meeting, at the Channel Inn restaurant in August, an undercover agent handed over $10,000 in $100 bills placed inside a Redskins coffee mug. Brown left the restaurant with the mug and the cash, according to the court filing…
….Machen noted after the plea hearing that Brown embarked on his illegal scheme after two of his D.C. Council colleagues had pleaded guilty to serious federal crimes. Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5) admitted in January 2012 to stealing $353,000 from city-funded youth programs, and former chairman Kwame R. Brown (D) pleaded guilty last June to a felony bank fraud charge.,,,