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Angry council members tired of drama as Kwame charged again

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Local,DC,Liz Farmer,Alan Blinder

As news of another charge against former D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown rippled through city hall one day after he resigned in disgrace, his former colleagues said they're shell-shocked and done with the drama that has rocked the Wilson Building this year.

"I'm angry. I'm furious. Those people -- Harry "Tommy" Thomas [Jr.], Kwame -- their behavior has disgraced the District of Columbia," the council's acting chairwoman, Mary Cheh of Ward 3, said Thursday.

It has been an unprecedented year for the city in which two lawmakers have resigned in the face of federal charges. In January, Thomas became the first council member of the Home Rule era to resign when he abruptly left office before pleading guilty to stealing more than $353,000 in city funds.

Five months later, Brown's resignation came hours after prosecutors charged him with bank fraud for lying about his income on a loan application.

Several lawmakers said Thursday they plan on supporting at-large Councilman Phil Mendelson next week when lawmakers pick an interim chairman to serve until the city can hold a special election.

In an interview with The Washington Examiner, Mendelson said he was eager for the council to return to a normal state and to rebuild public trust by quietly doing the city's business.

"The business of government is we spend within our means, that the average citizen can go to the DMV ... without waiting four hours in line," Mendelson said. "There isn't a lot of drama about stuff that can really make a difference, and yet it really makes a difference."

But Wednesday's chaotic scenes -- news of the charge against Brown, a swarm of reporters outside Brown's office suite, a closed-door meeting with lawmakers and the chairman's resignation -- didn't signal an end to the drama that surrounded the Brown affair.

Prosecutors on Thursday filed a second charge against Brown, a misdemeanor count of breaking the District's campaign finance laws. Authorities said that Brown had a relative open a "side account" to pay for campaign activities off-book.

The bank fraud charge and the misdemeanor count were both filed using documents that signal a guilty plea is imminent, and Brown is due to appear in court on Friday.

Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans said he didn't think Brown's anticipated guilty pleas would end the saga.

"I don't think it's over with the chairman," Evans said. "I don't think we know everything yet."

lfarmer@washingtonexaminer.com 

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

Kwame Brown - Stamped Information - Superior Court

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