- The Washington Times
Monday, September 16, 2019

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said Monday that the investigation into council member Jack Evans won’t be complete for another month because some witnesses have refused to comply with subpoenas.

“It is my intent that the investigation be completed as quickly as possible,” Mr. Mendelson said at a press briefing. “I am quite disturbed at the lack of cooperation.”

Of the six people who were served subpoenas, several of whom are clients of Mr. Evans‘ consulting firm, only one has cooperated in the council’s investigation, said Mr. Mendelson, at-large Democrat. He added that Mr. Evans has not been subpoenaed, has been interviewed twice and appears to be cooperating.

The chairman in July hired the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers to investigate whether Mr. Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, violated the council’s code of conduct by using his position to benefit himself or clients of his firm, NSE Consulting.

The law firm originally had been scheduled to deliver its report to city lawmakers on Tuesday.

Instead, Mr. Mendelson said the council on Tuesday will pass a resolution that authorizes the filing of a D.C. Superior Court petition to compel witnesses to comply with their subpoenas or else be held in contempt of court.

Mr. Mendelson said the council’s investigation does not interfere with that of the U.S. attorney for the District because it focuses solely on council conduct. He said there is no reason for witnesses not to cooperate with the council’s probe. The investigation, he said, should be complete by mid-October, when the report also will be made public.

The chairman said he will announce at the Oct. 9 legislative meeting which council members will serve on the ad hoc committee to review the investigation’s findings. Mr. Evans will be able respond to the investigation, he added.

The extension of the investigation does not affect the $250,000 contract with O’Melveny & Myers to conduct the probe, Mr. Mendelson said.

“If I were to have said to the law firm that is doing the investigation that it is OK to issue the report by what you’ve got, I am sure that any conclusions in that investigation will be criticized and rightfully so,” he said. “Because the questions need to be answered or it needs to be clear that there aren’t answers.”

Mr. Evans declined a request for comment.

Before its summer recess, the council stripped Mr. Evans of his chairmanship of the Finance and Revenue Committee, after having reprimanded him over the findings of an investigation by the Metro Board of Directors.

Mr. Evans earlier had resigned his chairmanship of the Metro Board and as one of its D.C. representatives after the transit agency found that he had failed to disclose his business relationship with companies seeking to do contract work with Metro.

The District’s longest-serving lawmaker, Mr. Evans is facing a grassroots effort to recall him and several challengers for his seat in next year’s Democratic primary.

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