Gerri Mason Hall told the D.C. Council she now regrets the decision to hire her son into the Gray Administration.
The two big controversies -- questions of nepotism and the allegations from Sulaimon Brown that he was compensated for his support of Gray during his campaign -- took center stage at Thursday's hearing. The woman key to both scandals, former Gray chief of staff Gerri Mason Hall, spoke publicly for the first time since her firing.
"With the clarity of hindsight, I realize I made mistakes and exercised poor judgment and I greatly regret it," Hall says.
Hall testified that she didn't think the hiring of her son, which was first reported by WAMU, posed a problem at the time.
That didn't sit well with Council Member David Catania, who sharply questioned Hall.
"You had to have known what you were doing was wrong," Catania said during the hearing. "And to say you regret it...You regret being caught because you knew it was wrong when you did it, and you did it anyway. Isn't that correct?"
"That is not," Hall said.
Catania pressed on during the exchange. "You thought it was right?" he asked.
Hall insisted that she "did not think it was a violation."
Later, the hearing featured more conflicting testimony about how another official's child was hired.
During her testimony, Hall also shed some light on the issue of Sulaimon Brown, who has accused the Gray campaign of paying him and promising a job for help during the race. Hall testified that campaign chair Lorraine Green asked her in December to reach out to Mayor Gray about a position for Brown, but Hall says she never did. She claims that she alone made the decision to hire Brown into the city's Medicaid agency.
Brown showed up for the hearing but decided shortly after arriving that he wouldn't participate.
"That's illegal what they are doing and I am not going to participate in it and they can't force me to participate in it," he told reporters outside the hearing.
Another witness, the man who Brown claims paid him envelopes of cash, also failed to show.
Council staff members tried to deliver a subpoena to Brown to come back, but Brown was too quick and left before they could serve him.
Below, check out our video of Brown's statement outside the hearing.
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