Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans forcefully defended himself Tuesday amid allegations of ethics violations, while not addressing an independent law firm’s findings regarding conflicts of interest and attempts to use public office for his own financial gain.
Evans, who is also a member of the D.C. Council, was surrounded by reporters while sitting on the dais before a regularly scheduled meeting. He made his first comments after a letter from the Metro Board’s ethics committee chair Clarence Crawford to Maryland’s and Virginia’s governors outlined a series of violations of Metro’s ethics rules.
In addition to ticking off dozens of violation allegations, Crawford said the four-person committee — made up of one member from the District, Maryland, Virginia and the federal government — had achieved the majority needed to cite Evans on one violation, a conflict of interest related to his work on behalf of a parking company.
Yet, the committee didn’t officially vote to sanction Evans — a point Evans made five times within a two-minute gaggle with reporters: “The ethics committee at Metro found no violations of ethics rules on my behalf,” Evans repeated.
“And I’m pleased with that result,” Evans added once.
Seated near Evans on the dais, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said it was “curious” that a letter sent from Crawford — whose term as one of Maryland’s representatives on the board ends later this month — was circulated.
“Maybe the (letter) didn’t accurately reflect what was decided at the committee — I don’t know,” said Mendelson.
“There seems to be a little bit of a ‘he said, she said,’ with regards to the ethics investigation,” Mendelson said. “I would like to see the written report from the law firm.”
Crawford’s letter to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said the ethics committee determined Evans would no longer be board chairman, “consistent with [the] conclusions” of the committee’s findings.
Evans disputed he was stepping down because of the investigation.
“I informed Clarence last year that I would only be serving one more year, and I think if you talk to Clarence, he could confirm that,” Evans said. Referring to whether his ceding the chairman position was linked to the investigation, “Everybody has their own view on things, so I’m not going to dispute that.”