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Report: City May Have Violated Law With SUV Leases

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Several weeks after Kwame R. Brown was elected D.C. Council chairman in November, city officials were asked to order for him a "fully-loaded" Lincoln Navigator L.
Patrick Madden
Several weeks after Kwame R. Brown was elected D.C. Council chairman in November, city officials were asked to order for him a "fully-loaded" Lincoln Navigator L.

On the heels of a council investigation into the issue, Mayor Vincent Gray says he wants his own probe of city-leased vehicles.

Gray has tapped city administrator Allen Lew to follow-up on council member Tommy Wells' preliminary investigation, which found that Brown may have broken the law by requesting the fully-loaded SUV. The report cites a 2004 law banning city officials from leasing or purchasing SUVs and other vehicles that get less than 22 miles per gallon; the ban doesn't apply to certain public safety personnel.

Wells says he found at least 42 prohibited SUVs in use by city officials and ten of the vehicles were leased after the ban went into effect.

"I do believe it appears laws were broken," says Wells. "And we will have to make referrals to the attorney general as well as the inspector general to really make a final determination on that."

Wells will hold a hearing on the issue later this month and Lew says he will present his findings at the hearing.

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