DC Councilmember Jack Evans (ward 2) not only allegedly tried to help companies paying him as a lobbyist while chair of the WMATA board, but also threatened two top WMATA staff members to try to keep it quiet, according to a bombshell revelation from Robert McCartney in the Washington Post.
McCartney also outlines how two members of the WMATA Board, from DC and the federal government, repeatedly tried to stop the ethics committee from telling the DC Council and the public about Evans’ ethics violation.
This is more evidence supporting our Editorial Board’s argument that Evans should resign. Further, we’re now calling for those two board members to step down or be removed, and for the DC Council to take stronger action against Evans.
McCartney reported threats and coverups
According to the article by McCartney, Evans “repeatedly berated Metro General Counsel Patricia Y. Lee and board corporate secretary Jennifer Green Ellison in the spring for their work on the inquiry, to the point that Metro officials were concerned the two might sue the agency for wrongful termination or creating a hostile work environment.”
Corbett Price, the other DC voting member of the WMATA board and David Horner of the federal government, repeatedly blocked public disclosure of Evans’ corruption, McCartney said. The other two members of the ethics committee, Clarence Crawford of Maryland and Paul Smedberg of Virginia, meanwhile, wanted to release the information.
Evans’ conduct is beyond the pale. Beyond that, having two members of the WMATA board try to cover up for a colleague to prevent the DC Council and public from knowing about and acting on the information is outrageous. WMATA has toiled for years to rebuild public trust after safety lapses and a lack of transparency by the agency and contempt for the public by the board.
That Evans would do this is further evidence of him being unfit not only to serve on the board but to be a public official in DC, and as we’ve already said, he should resign. But think this also demonstrates that Price and Horner need to resign or be removed by the officials who appointed them, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and US Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, respectively.
We also think this information should lead Phil Mendelson and the DC Council to take stronger action than they have thus far. Evans was able to cast the tie-breaking vote in July against a move by David Grosso (at-large) to remove Evans from all committees. This information should give wavering councilmembers no excuse not to take further action.
Ask officials to act
The influential Evans has thus far had many officials continue to shield him as evidence about corrupt behavior continues to pile up. Please sign our petition to Bowser and Chao asking them to remove Price and Horner from the board, and to the DC Council to ask them to take this issue more seriously than it has so far. Also, learn about the candidates vying to kick Evans off the council next year.