Who’s Next?

We are unique in Ward 5. We have one of the few proposed Wal-Marts. We have a street that is called the “Diamond in the District”. We have Catholic University.

…And, it seems, we have the most corruption.

According to the Washington Times, Robert V. Brannum, head of the Metropolitan Police Dept. 5th District Citizens Advisory Council (5DCAC), a political appointee of Mayor Gray, and an ally of Harry Thomas, Jr., has been accused of misusing the 5DCAC’s business checking account. The matter has been referred by the DC Auditor to the Inspector General’s office for investigation. It seems that a debit card was obtained (which is in violation of the group’s bylaws) and being unable to account for missing funds. Mr. Brannum is also the president of the DC Federation of Civic Associations and is Vice Chair of the Ward 5 Democrats, which he is currently running for Chair.

Another complaint filed, this time against ANC5B current Chair, Regina James, alleges that Ms. James used DC Government time and resources for and during her election and official duties for the ANC. The documents state that Ms. James used her DC government office phone number as her campaign phone number and has also used her DC government email to conduct official ANC business. The complaint was filed by a fellow ANC5B commissioner, Vaughn Bennett. Interestingly enough, Ms. James is attempting to remove Mr. Bennett from his position as Recording Secretary without announcing why although she claims she wants to bring transparency back to ANC5B.

Why transparency? Probably because the former Chair, William Shelton, has been accused of stealing nearly $30,000 from the ANC5B funds over the last 6-8 months. He has since resigned from the ANC. The other ANC members have a lot of public anger aimed at them for their failure to do their jobs and allowed Mr. Shelton to steal the money under their noses including the treasurer, who is still the treasurer of the ANC5B, who self-described her unknowing of the theft due to her not doing her job. Yet, Ms. James has yet to demand her resignation.

And the topper, as we all know, is the ongoing investigation into Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. I won’t dig up particulars as we are all aware of this one (just remember Hooters, an Audi, and missing money from a youth program). Mr. Thomas has claimed his innocence but has offered to pay back the nearly $300,000 that was missing because that is what innocent, public figures do. Offer to pay money back that they didn’t misuse.

So, who’s next, Ward 5? Tired of being the punching bag and laughing stock of the District? Ready to demand more from our elected officials? The blame for all of this is on ALL OF US! If we do nothing, it keeps happening and we, as residents, keep getting screwed. Wake up, Ward 5!

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8 thoughts on “Who’s Next?

    1. The meeting was postponed until tomorrow Wednesday the 21st. Same time (7 pm) same place as the last one (police station on Bladensburg Rd).

      Its easy enough to sit back and wait to join the masses, but if we all did that then nothing would get done. The more we wait for someone else to do something, the longer we continue to be abused. I’ll be at that meeting.

  1. If you want to vote in the election for President of Ward 5 Democrats (the office Robert Brannum is currently seeking) the election is next Monday and you only have to be a resident of Ward 5 and a registered Democrat to vote (you don’t have to be a member, you don’t have to pay dues, you don’t have to have attended any other Ward 5 Dems meetings).

    Robert Brannum is being challenged by at least two other people, so if you’re asking what we can do to send a message…..

    Meeting information:

    Ward 5 Democratic Party Officer Elections
    Monday, 26 September 2011
    Israel Baptist Church
    1251 Saratoga Avenue, NE
    (near 12th & Rhode Island Avenue, NE)
    6:30PM – 8:30PM

  2. I think you missed a Ward 5 scandal. Commissioner Silas Grant and Building Better Environments. When asked by the Washington Post, about the $45,000 Building Better Environments received, Grant claimed he had know knowledge of the situation. I guess this guy has a huge case of amnesia because he listed the organization in his bio for the American Democracy Institutes, Washington DC Leadership Forum. “Silas Grant, Jr. DC Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Silas is an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in Ward 5 in where he chairs the youth committee. He also serves as a co-chair for the Youth Committee of MPD’s 5th District Citizens’ Advisory Council. Professionally, Silas works in the Finance Department at the AARP. Silas is also an active member of the Edgewood Civic Assocation and volunteers with the Lifting As We Climb Foundation, Higher Education Lifts Potential (H.E.L.P.) and Building Better Environments, Inc.
    Currently, Silas is working on a transformation program for ex-offenders with drug distribution charges. Also, Silas is partnering with Building Better Environments, Inc. and Free Mind Communications to create a Media Literacy program at Shaed Elementary as well as a Transition Curriculum for the 5th and 6th grade students at the school. He hopes to find individuals who can identify funding and assist with sharpening the focus of the curriculum for the programs. He is interested in collaborating on projects that involve transforming the minds and activities of youth in the inner city.”

    Post Excerpt:
    One of them was Beacon House, which received $25,000 that Deputy Director Gerry Kittner said supported tutoring and mentoring programs.

    “I went to Thomas’s staff and said, ‘What’s the story? Can we get some of this money?’ ” Kittner said. “We did a work plan, but it wasn’t competitive. . . . I felt like this was money that was out there, and we were a worthy recipient.”

    Some of the recipients had ties to Thomas, such as the Cabel Foundation, whose advisory council includes Neil Rodgers, one of Thomas’s clerks; the foundation’s director, Ervin C. Owens, said Rodgers didn’t help him apply for the grant. Anthony “Coach Tony” Jones of the Falconsedge Male Task Force, an after-school sports and counseling program that received $40,000, said he and Thomas’s father are old friends.

    Several of the organizations that received money from the Ward 5 grant could not be found or have failed to file required tax forms. Okera K. Stewart, director of Capitol Educational Support, which received $20,000 for its summer camp, said the organization fell behind on its paperwork but was in compliance when it received the grant. Building Better Environments, which received $45,000, had no tax filing, and the only agent listed on public records, Silas Grant Jr., said he never heard of the organization. Grant, who did not return calls for comment, is vice chairman of one of Ward 5’s Advisory Neighborhood Commissions.

    Something has to change in Ward 5!

  3. Mr Brannum has been posting a rebuttal:

    20 September 2011

    Mr. Ed Kelly

    Editor

    The Washington Times

    Dear Mr. Kelly:

    Today, The Washington Times published a story under the headline “Auditor
    seeks D.C. Inspector General’s probe of Citizens’ Advisory Council chair.”

    This is a fact time-line:

    1. On 12 September 2011, the 5th District Citizens’ Advisory Council,
    Inc. Executive Committee was informed of an “unknown” complaint filed
    against the 5th District Citizens’ Advisory Council, Inc. with the D.C.
    Auditor.

    2. On 12 September 2011, an e-mail was sent to the D.C. Auditor
    indicating the 5th District Citizens’ Advisory Council, Inc. had not
    received any communications from the Office of the D.C. Auditor regarding
    any complaint filed against the 5th District Citizens’ Advisory Council and
    requesting copies of the complaint and any other documents related to the
    complaint.

    3. On 13 September 2011, the D.C. Auditor in an e-mail response stated:

    “The Office of the D.C. Auditor received a complaint regarding the 5D
    Citizens’ Advisory Council. On August 1, 2011, we referred the matter to
    the District of Columbia Inspector General for review.”

    4. On 20 September 2011, an e-mail was sent from the Chairman of the 5th
    District Citizens’ Advisory Council, Inc. to the D.C. Inspector General
    requesting the 5th District Citizens’ Advisory Council, Inc. to be advised
    immediately of any requested, pending, or active investigation of the 5D
    Citizens’ Advisory Council by the D.C. Office of the Inspector General.

    5. On 20 September 2011, the D.C. Inspector General in an e-mail response
    advised the Chairman of the 5th District Citizens’ Advisory Council, Inc.,
    “.this office neither confirms or denies investigations, nor discusses
    on-going investigatory matters with the public.” “This office does not share
    such information during the pendency of matters.” 

    Other than the e-mail responses, neither the D.C. Auditor nor the D.C.
    Inspector General has contacted or informed the 5th District Citizens’
    Advisory Council, Inc. of any possible, pending, active investigations or
    communicated with the 5th District Citizens’ Advisory Council in any manner.

    The 5th District Citizens’ Advisory Council, Inc. has not seen nor received
    a copy of the reported complaint originally filed with the D.C. Auditor.
    Also, the 5th District Citizens’ Advisory Council, Inc. does not receive any
    District or federal funds. 

    The reported allegations/charges are politically motivated, wholly
    unsubstantiated, maliciously false, and callously reported intentionally
    designed to embarrass, to humiliate officers of the 5th District Citizens’
    Advisory Council, Inc., and to misrepresent the truth to misinform the
    public. Your reporter clearly demonstrated a reckless disregard for the
    facts and clearly did not challenge or question the personal and political
    motives of the complainant. The publishing of this story reveals a desire
    for sensationalism and a reporting double standard against the effort for
    journalism verification and reporting excellence.

    This complainant has repeatedly brought these allegations to open and public
    meetings of the 5th District Citizens’ Advisory Council, Inc. and to
    meetings of the Executive Committee of the 5th District Citizens’ Advisory
    Council, Inc. The complainant’s allegations have been discussed and
    discredited. That the Washington Times newspaper has decided to print them
    may continue to give the complainant’s allegations merit-less life-support,
    but will not offer them any heightened credibility. 

    If the purpose of the story is to break the spirit of the 5th District
    Citizens’ Advisory Council, Inc., to buckle the will of the officers of the
    5th District Citizens’ Advisory Council, Inc., or to have the Chairman of
    the 5th District Citizens’ Advisory Council, Inc., kneel and bend over in
    the face of a personal vendetta and media assault, this newspaper has wasted
    its ink and its time. The Washington Times has not marked the 5th District
    Citizens’ Advisory Council, Inc., as “next” in Ward 5 exposed for possible
    corruption.

    The Washington Times is demanded to retract the story completely, to
    apologize to the 5th District Citizens’ Advisory Council, Inc., the Chairman
    of the 5th District Citizens’ Advisory Council, Inc., the officers and
    employees of the 5th District Metropolitan Police Department, and to its
    readers.

    The mission of the 5th District Citizens’ Advisory Council, Inc. is to
    support the 5th District Metropolitan Police Department as a public liaison
    to the Metropolitan Police Department on public safety issues. Through its
    community service projects and activities, the 5th District Citizens’
    Advisory Council, Inc. supports community programs for young people in 5D
    service area, local and District-wide National Night Out events, and each
    year honors the heroic service and outstanding accomplishments of the 5D law
    enforcement officers and civilian employees.

    The officers and members of the 5th District Citizens’ Advisory Council,
    Inc. are proud of our community service and record of accomplishments. The
    5th District Citizens’ Advisory Council, Inc. will continue to work in
    partnership within the 5D community and with the Metropolitan Police
    Department in honoring the work of its residents and law enforcement
    officers. The Washington Times and other reporters have always been
    welcomed to attend any meeting or public event sponsored by the 5th District
    Citizens’ Advisory Council, Inc., in support young people and the
    Metropolitan Police Department. 

    The next meeting of the 5th District Citizens’ Advisory Council, Inc. is
    Thursday, 22 September 2011, 7:00pm, 5D Headquarters, 1805 Bladensburg Road,
    NE. The Agenda items include CSX Railroad and Home Emergency Preparedness.
    You are invited to attend.

    Additionally, on Thursday, 27 October 2011, starting at 6:30pm, the 5th
    District Citizens’ Advisory Council, Inc., will host its 33rd Annual Awards
    Gala to honor law enforcement officers and civilian employees of 5D. This
    annual event will be held at the Washington Navy Yard Catering and
    Conference Center. The Mistress of Ceremonies is scheduled to be one of The
    Washington Times finest, Ms. Deborah Simmons. Tickets are $40.00 and $400.00
    per table, please let me know how many tickets and or tables to reserve. The
    Washington Times is also invited to become a corporate sponsor. This level
    of corporate support would help to increase the positive visibility of The
    Washington Times in the 5D community. You can make your check out to
    “5DCAC”. We would enjoy having The Washington Times join us.

    Robert Vinson Brannum 

    Chairman

    5th District Citizens’ Advisory Council, Inc.

  4. I am Silas Grant, Jr., ANC 5C09 representative. In response to the allegations made here in this forum and by Washington Post journalist Isaac Arnsdorf, let me emphatically state that I was never contacted by Mr. Isaac Arnsdorf for his story about Ward 5 non-profits and the funding that they received. Any quotes/statements made in the above mentioned article were not made by me.

    I am proud of the work that I have done with in my Ward 5 single member district, with BBE, and other non-profit organziations. I have no executive or financial authority with BBE and at no point in time was I responsible for the filing of any required tax documents. Although I regret that inaccurate information has been circulated about my involvement, I will continue to work with BBE and other organziations who have a sincere concern and reputable track record of improving the lives of young people in our community.

    Silas Grant Jr.

    1. As far as I am concerned, anyone who sat by and let the corruption happen without notifying the inspector general or other authorities is just as guilty as those who are guilty of the actual misdeeds committed. If you want to further distance yourself from those who are accused of wrongdoing, I invite you to ask for their resignation.

    2. If you are a representative of the community, you are involved. I find it funny that you people who are chosen to represent a community always try to back out of something that you feel you weren’t directly related to. If you represent US then do something about it. That would be a great way for the people to actually have confidence in your above comment.

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