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Brown: $114k stolen from campaign

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Local,DC,Alan Blinder

D.C. Councilman Michael Brown said late Monday that nearly $114,000 had disappeared from his campaign war chest, leaving his re-election effort badly trailing a top rival in the all-important scramble for cash.

Brown, who is seeking his second term as an at-large lawmaker, disclosed in June that his campaign suspected theft, but he had remained mum about the crime's scale.

"To my supporters and contributors: I am deeply sorry that this has happened and that it occurred under my leadership," Brown said in a statement just before midnight. "Since personally taking control of the campaign finances as treasurer, I have righted the ship."

Brown also scheduled a Tuesday afternoon news conference to discuss his campaign.

In an amended campaign finance report, Brown attributed 34 "unexplained expenses," totaling $113,950, to campaign treasurer Hakim Sutton. Brown removed Sutton, an enduring operative in city politics, as his treasurer in June and took on the role himself.

Brown's disclosure report showed that he had just shy of $18,000 in cash remaining as of Aug. 10. David Grosso, another independent seeking a council seat, reported a war chest worth more than three times that amount.

The alleged theft, which a police spokeswoman said recently is the subject of "a very active investigation," has been just one sideshow for Brown's campaign.

After a pair of challenges to Brown's qualifying petitions, campaign regulators voided more than 1,500 signatures. The final decision, issued Monday, left Brown with 3,166 signatures -- just 166 above the minimum he needed to appear on the ballot.

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

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