Metro report finds wrongdoing by DC Councilmember Jim Graham - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Metro report finds wrongdoing by DC Councilmember Jim Graham

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D.C. Councilmember Jim Graham D.C. Councilmember Jim Graham

The board that oversees Metro on Thursday released a report which sharply criticizes former board member Jim Graham for mixing city business with Metro business.

After three hours in a closed-door executive session, the WMATA board voted unanimously to publicly release a 62-page report that accuses Graham of "undermining the integrity" of the process of developing land once owned by the transit system.

The land sits just south of Florida Avenue at 8th Street in Northwest D.C. In addition to his seat on the Metro Board, Graham was (and still is) a D.C. Councilmember. The report accuses Graham of trying to dissuade a potential Metro land developer by offering a potentially lucrative deal involving D.C. business.

Bradley Bondi, an attorney with Cadwalader, Wickersham and Taft, told reporters, "Councilmember Graham, indeed, told Warren Williams (of Banneker Ventures) that he would consider supporting the bid of Williams' company for the D.C. lottery contract if Williams were to withdraw his bid for the Florida Avenue project."

Bondi led the investigation which produced the report.

The document concludes Jim Graham's conduct "undermined the integrity of the joint development process."

Asked about the promised lottery deal, Jim Graham offered this answer:

"I don't have any recollection of that, but if it happened ... it was something I said in a very offhand manner that people kind of glommed onto and carried to the extreme that it was carried to."

And asked about mixing Metro business with city business, Graham defends his actions: "Nobody was giving me any money, I wasn't committing any crime, I wasn't doing nothing except wanting the best thing for Ward One. This project is in Ward One."

Councilman Graham pointed out the 62-page report does not conclude that any criminal conduct was involved in his actions on the Metro board.

But the attorney who investigated the former Metro board member did confirm to reporters that at least one law enforcement agency has asked for a copy of the report.

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