Post Story Brings Evans Controversy to a Head

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Council member Jack Evans at Dec. 20 opening of Wawa in Georgetown. Photo by Patrick G. Ryan.

Ward 2’s Jack Evans, the longest serving member of the District Council, is facing a controversy that has been brewing for a number of months. It came to a head with a front-page story by Steve Thompson published in the Washington Post on Friday, Dec. 21.

The story says that Evans, as part of dealings with a company called Digi Outdoor Media, a digital sign company headed by founder Donald E. MacCord, promoted emergency legislation in 2016 that would have helped Digi in its pursuit of its business goals in the District.

Evans’s newly created consulting firm NSE received 200,000 shares of Digi stock before he proposed legislation to the Council that would have helped the company. Evans said he returned the stock immediately after it was received. He also dropped the legislation when it was clear that it would not pass, according to the Post.

In a holiday fraught with big national news from the Trump administration, including a partial government shutdown, reaction to the Post story — which was rich in details, including the contents of emails sent by MacCord — has been so far relatively muted, with promises of further investigation. On Dec. 22, the Post reported that Council member David Grosso (I-At Large), called for a special committee to investigate the ties between Evans and Digi.

While Evans was quoted in the Post as saying in a text message that he returned the “stock certificate — as soon as it was received,” he has issued no further statements. Attempts by The Georgetowner to elicit comments by email today, Dec. 24, have not been answered.

Evans won his first term and seat on the Council in a special election in 1991. Ward 2 comprises Georgetown as well as the rapidly changing downtown area and neighborhoods such as Dupont and Shaw. Currently chair of the Metro board and the Council’s Committee on Finance and Revenue, Evans has run for mayor twice, both times unsuccessfully.

Most members of the Council have not taken any official stand on the story, appearing to want to wait for the results of an ongoing ethics investigation by the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability on the Evans-Digi interactions.

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