Bowser pushes for Howard hospital vote despite ethics investigation

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser wants the city council to move forward with its second vote next month to approve funding for a new hospital at the center of an ethics investigation.

Bowser said during a news conference Monday that she plans to share findings from the Board of Ethics and Accountability’s investigation into a deal between the office of former City Administrator Rashad Young and Howard University.

Young’s office secured the hospital deal, and then, he abruptly left his job with the city for a position at Howard on Friday.

“We want to be fully transparent, and that’s why I think it’s important for BEGA to review all the issues around Rashad’s transition so everybody can be fully confident in this transition and that it was done according to our policies and procedures,” Bowser said.

The mayor said she learned of Young’s job at Howard weeks ago on July 31. Young worked in her administration for more than five years.

“We’ve enjoyed working with Rashad, and he has done an incredible job for us,” Bowser said. “We agreed it was time to draw a bright line between his old job and his new job.”

Despite the ethics investigation into the deal that secures $300 million in tax breaks and public funding for Howard University in delivering the new hospital, Bowser said she does not want the council to wait for the investigation’s results to move the project forward.

“The council should absolutely proceed,” she said when asked directly about the upcoming vote in September.

Securing hospital care for underserved areas of the city is a goal of Bowser’s administration. The mayor announced this spring there will be two new hospitals: one at St. Elizabeth’s in Ward 8 and a new Howard University Hospital located on Georgia Avenue in Ward 1.

“We worked very hard to propose to Howard what we thought would be a way for them to deliver a new hospital and for the District to be involved in getting that done,” Bowser said.

“That’s hugely important, even to the discussions we’re having today about how we can improve African American health in our city.”

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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