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D.C. Council Member Michael Brown Addresses Missing Campaign Funds

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At-large D.C. Council member Michael Brown narrowly completed a ballot petition and now struggles to rebuild his campaign finances.
Mylon Medley
At-large D.C. Council member Michael Brown narrowly completed a ballot petition and now struggles to rebuild his campaign finances.

D.C. Council Member Michael Brown says more than $110,000 is missing from his campaign's bank account.

Brown faced reporters briefly Tuesday outside the Wilson Building — where he offered a few new details on the missing campaign funds.

"I want my supporters to understand the person who embezzled from the campaign had been working with me for more than half a decade," Brown said. "It was someone I had extreme confidence in. Clearly I was wrong to have trusted that person and I am deeply regretful."

Brown's amended campaign finance reports, released late Monday, show more than $110,000 in unexplained payments to Hakim Sutton, Brown's former campaign treasurer, who was fired after Brown discovered the theft.

Brown says he is confident the person responsible will be "arrested, prosecuted, and convicted"

The theft essentially wiped out all the money that Brown had raised for his campaign. He has since raised another $30,000, and he says he is confident the missing money will be recovered.

Sutton's attorney, J. Wyndal Gordon, said in a statement posted Wednesday on his Facebook page that "Brown knows for a fact that no money has been stolen.'' He says his client won't be made the "fall guy'' for Brown's misdeeds.

Brown, an at-large independent, is facing several challengers, including independent challenger David Grosso — who late yesterday released a statement blasting Brown for"being plagued with fiscal mismanagment issues his entire career." An audit of the council member's 2008 campaign found more than $150,000 in unreported expenditures, and Brown also pleaded guilty earlier in the late 1990s to a misdemeanor campaign finance violation.

Regarding the criticism from his opponents, Brown says its unfair to blame the victim and says he looks forward to engaging his opponents on the issues.

Brown revealed this week that more than $110,000 has gone missing from his campaign account. He says he was a victim of theft, and his campaign finance reports characterize the missing money as ``unexplained expenditures'' to his former campaign treasurer, Hakim Sutton. Police are investigating the matter, and Sutton has not been charged with a crime.

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