Profile of Lorraine Green, D.C. Mayor Gray’s Campaign Chairwoman
(Washington Post) — The day after Vincent C. Gray won the District’s mayoral Democratic primary last year, campaign chairwoman Lorraine Green took over. In the next few months, protege Gerri Mason Hall became the mayor’s chief of staff, making $200,000 a year — exceeding the city’s salary cap. Green’s daughter was hired as a senior communications manager in the city’s film office. A former business associate and campaign consultant, Howard Brooks, was paid $44,000 in campaign fees. Green and Brooks were involved in a failed bid to operate the city’s computerized lottery.
Green was, by all accounts, the most influential person around the mayor, but if Sulaimon Brown is to be believed, her powerhouse role might have begun months earlier, with a phone call. To hear Brown tell it, he called her June 24 to ask for help. He was challenging Gray in the Democratic primary, making a name for himself attacking Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and running out of money. Brown said Green told him to meet her at her office in Union Station, where she worked as Amtrak’s vice president for human resources. It was then, Brown said, that Green gave him the first of several payments.
Gray, Green and Brooks have disputed Brown’s allegations, and The Washington Post has not been able to independently verify any payments. What is not disputed is Green’s close and long friendship with Gray, which began when they were employed by the District and gives her direct access to the mayor. Twenty years later, she is at the center of Gray’s tumultuous first three months in office, swirling in criticism of cronyism and nepotism — including the hiring of children of campaign staffers and salaries that exceed city limits — while his administration is responding to inquiries from federal authorities and the D.C. Council.