Jack Evans to resign from Metro Board after ethics violation

Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans has released a letter outlining plans to resign from the board next week, now that he has acknowledged helping a parking company he was working for without disclosing the relationship.

Evans faced a flurry of new calls to leave the board earlier Thursday after a memo became public late Wednesday that detailed the deal that led to Evans agreeing not to seek another term as Metro Board chairman and to update years of disclosure forms after the Metro Board’s Ethics Committee found he violated conflict of interest rules.

An outside law firm’s review found multiple violations, but the committee only supported one of them. Still, Evans had denied any action had been taken at all until the memo became public.

The Metro Board did not have the power to remove Evans, even if members had wanted to. That decision would have been up to the D.C. Council. The council reprimanded Evans earlier this year but allowed him to continue on the Metro Board and as Finance Committee chair.

Evans remains under federal investigation tied to the accusations that he used his public positions on the council and at Metro for personal gain.

Metro’s investigation focused only on issues tied to Evans’ position on the Metro Board. That investigation found Evans had failed to disclose contracts worth several hundred thousand dollars, even as he tried to help those companies get business with Metro. 

In the case where the committee voted to find a violation, Evans urged Metro’s inspector general to open investigations into a competitor of Colonial Parking and Evans shared internal Metro information with Colonial Parking.

Inspector General Geoff Cherrington said he did review a previous investigation of the competitor, LAZ Parking, but found the previous investigation was sufficient and no new review was needed.

Evans’ term as board chairman was set to end next week. The board is expected to choose Virginia’s Paul Smedberg to replace him.

The D.C. Council can pick a new member to fill Evans regular seat on the Metro Board. For now, one of the city’s two alternates — Tom Bulger or District Department of Transportation Director Jeff Marootian — can fill his role at meetings after Evans formally resigns.

Virginia Reps. Gerry Connolly and Don Beyer, and D.C. Council member David Grosso, called Thursday for Evans to leave the Metro Board.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan had already made a similar call, describing Evans as corrupt.

D.C. Council member Elissa Silverman agreed with Grosso in a statement that Evans’ resignation from the Metro Board is the right thing to do, and that the D.C. Council needs to launch its own more complete investigation to determine whether Evans should remain on the Council.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Council Chairman Phil Mendelson had held off any calls for Evans to resign.

Evans told WTOP on Thursday that he plans to remain on the D.C. Council.

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