New year to begin with old business for those deciding fate of DC Council’s Jack Evans

D.C. Council member Jack Evans listens to a question during a news conference at WMATA headquarters, on Tuesday, March 15, 2016, in Washington. (AP/Evan Vucci)
D.C. Council member Jack Evans’ future on the council will be the focus of a public hearing planned for Jan. 7. That’s when he will face the colleagues who voted unanimously to have him expelled for ethics and District code violations.

Council Chair Phil Mendelson outlined Tuesday the specific procedures for moving the expulsion process forward.

The full council will consider the investigatory ad hoc committee’s recommendation to expel its longest-serving member after a public hearing. The committee that voted to oust Evans consisted of every member of the council.

“This hearing will be a quasi-judicial proceeding,” Mendelson said. “The chairman and Councilman Evans will make opening statements. Mr. Evans or his representative will make his case.”

Evans has recused himself from the Jan. 7 meeting.

Although it’s a “public” hearing, only witnesses who have direct knowledge of the facts or situations relevant to the specific charges being considered will be questioned by council members and Evans’ representative.

Evans declined to participate when invited to attend and speak before the ad hoc committee meetings. At the time, Council member Charles Allen noted that Evans likely didn’t want to be on the record under oath on matters still the subject of ongoing federal investigations.

Council member David Grosso raised the question of whether witnesses will be put under oath during the Jan. 7 hearing.

“I can ask, but it will not be a requirement. Our rules do not provide for that,” Mendelson said.

When the committee was considering the findings of an investigation done on its behalf that noted more than a dozen ethics and D.C. code of conduct violations, Evans’ lawyer said the accusations were “nowhere near as serious” as his critics had charged.

Evans currently is the subject of a recall petition being considered by the D.C. Board of Elections. Evans’ lawyer has asked that the petition to be “struck in its entirety as inherently and irretrievably corrupted.”

In August, Evans was fined by the D.C. Board of Ethics and Government Accountability after the board said he used his office for personal gain.

In June, Evans stepped down from the Metro Board, where he had served as chairman, after a Metro 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.

Before the D.C. Council broke for the summer, it disbanded its Committee on Finance and Revenue. Evans was the committee’s chairman, so the move essentially stripped him of that position.

WTOP’s Rick Massimo, Mike Murillo and Max Smith contributed to this report.

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Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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