The Metro Board is expected to publicly address the ethics scandal surrounding Chairman Jack Evans head-on for the first time Thursday, just before Evans wields the gavel for the last time and then resigns.
Evans, who is remaining on the D.C. Council, was found by the Metro Board’s Ethics Committee to have violated conflict-of-interest rules by helping a parking company that he had a paid consulting contract with. An outside law firm found additional violations, but the Ethics Committee did not act on those recommendations.
The Ethics Committee is scheduled to meet in open session Thursday morning to address the investigation, which was initially closed in May without any official public information about its findings. The full Metro Board never got a recommendation to discipline Evans.
Evans is expected to make his own statement calling for his side of the story to be heard, similar to what he told D.C. Council colleagues Tuesday.
After the Ethics Committee meets, the full Metro Board is expected to choose Virginia’s Paul Smedberg as its new chairman at a full board meeting, where there could be sharp rebukes of Evans in the public comment period.
Ethics Committee Chairman Clarence Crawford told WTOP last week he expects to suggest more transparency in future investigations and other improvements to the process that could be considered by the Ethics Committee in the future.
Crawford is also leaving the board after this meeting though, due to a change in Maryland law that requires the state’s transportation secretary (or his designee) to hold one of the state’s two voting board seats, so he will not be there to push any of the recommendations.
The committee is also due to approve the minutes of meetings where they heard details of the investigation, then reach an agreement with Evans, although they remain secret as part of a closed session.
Evans denied for weeks that the committee had formally found he violated the ethics rules, but an internal memo obtained last week detailed the deal he had reached: The committee would close its investigation if Evans updated his disclosure forms and agreed not to seek another term as Metro Board chairman.
After the details of the findings came out, Evans said last week he would resign from the Metro Board entirely at the end of Thursday’s board meetings.
The next day, Evans’ home was raided by federal investigators as part of their probe into accusations he used his public positions for personal gain.
After only reprimanding Evans earlier this year, the D.C. Council now plans a more complete investigation into Evans’ actions and is on track to remove him on July 9 as chairman of the Finance Committee. First, Evans gets his chance to defend himself to the D.C. Council on July 2.
Evans has more than a year left in his current term on the council.
D.C. alternates can fill Evans’ role on the Metro Board until the council appoints a replacement. Tom Bulger, a lobbyist who has worked in government on transportation projects, and District Department of Transportation Director Jeff Marootian are D.C.’s two alternates.
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