Feds eyeing perjury charges in Gray investigation

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Local,Maryland,Virginia,Crime,Liz Farmer
The U.S. attorney's office is looking into allegations that two individuals at the center of the Gray administration hiring scandal lied to city officials about the administration's hiring process.

A special committee chaired by Ward 3 D.C. Councilwoman Mary Cheh investigated Mayor Vincent Gray's hiring practices earlier this year and in August recommended a separate investigation of Judy Banks -- Gray's interim director of human resources -- and former mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown. A spokeswoman for Cheh on Friday confirmed the U.S. attorney is "looking into the matter."

Banks still works for the city as Events DC's vice president of human resources and did not return a request for comment. Banks temporarily worked for the administration, and along with Gray's former chief of staff, Gerri Mason Hall, and campaign chairwoman Lorraine Green, was blamed in the council report for the "abuses and errors" in hiring during the administration's transition. Gray was sworn in as mayor on Jan. 2.

The report found discrepancies about how Brandon Webb, the son of another administration official, was hired for the D.C. fire department's community outreach. On Mar. 28, Banks testified under oath that Webb's hiring was initiated by Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe.

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  • Yet Webb and Ellerbe testified, and emails back up their testimony, that Webb was placed in the fire department by Banks herself.

    The council report recommended a criminal investigation on whether Banks perjured herself under oath.

    The report recommends the D.C. attorney general determine whether Brown made false statements on his job application for the District. On the form, Brown stated he didn't provide anything in exchange for employment. He testified under oath, however, that he provided information and assistance to the Gray campaign for a job.

    Brown declined to comment. He was hired as a $110,000-a-year accountant for a city agency but was fired after one month. He then came forward with his accusation that Gray campaign staffers gave him money from their coffers to stay in the race and continue his verbal attacks on then-Mayor Adrian Fenty.

    A grand jury probe began in April as part of a federal investigation started this year into the Gray campaign.

    lfarmer@washingtonexaminer.com

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