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Council Tackles Nepotism, Sulaimon Brown In Day 1 Of Gray Hiring Probe

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Sulaimon Brown, the former mayoral candidate who claims the Gray campaign paid him and offered a job, surprised everyone Monday by showing up at the start of the hearing.

While his allegations are one of the things the council is probing, he was not one of the scheduled witnesses.

"I came here because I am not running from anyone," Brown says.

But Brown soon left, after receiving a letter from the council to come back next month to testify.

Asked if he'll come back, he responded: "Why don't you get the mayor to come down here, and then I will consider it."

The hearing then delved into Brown's hiring and firing, revealing that he was let go for harassing female employees at the agency where he was working.

The other major personnel scandal, the question of nepotism, was also probed.

As WAMU first reported, the children of several key staffers and consultants landed city jobs.

"The impressions and perceptions are clear: there is a political caste system in this city and that in an effort to get a job in this administration, you need to know someone," Council Member David Catania says.

Interim HR Director Judy Banks testified that the son of Gray's then-chief of staff Gerri Mason Hall was hired by the city's Parks and Recreation Department without an interview and that his hiring and even salary was set up by Hall.

When Banks was asked by Catania if it would be considered nepotism if she did something similar with a child of her own, Banks said yes.

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