D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown: 'Fully loaded' SUV puts DC Council Chairman Kwame Brown On The Spot
Recently elected D.C. council chairman Kwame Brown has many of his constituents upset over a costly SUV he leased just before his January 2 inauguration.
According to a story published by The Washington Post, Brown, who was elected in November, had officials lease him a "fully loaded" Lincoln Navigator L with a DVD entertainment system, power moon roof and polished aluminum wheels.
In the report, Brown requested that it had to be black - all black, inside and out - and it had to arrive in time for his inauguration.
Many taxpayers are angered for having to foot the bill of a luxury vehicle (which costs $1,900-a-month in lease payments) when the District is projecting a $400 million budget deficit.
Brown denies knowing the monthly price tag of the SUV or that he was specifically chose the luxury package with all the frills.
"If I had known that this truck was $1,900 a month, I would have never, ever, ever have accepted it," he says.
The Post's investigation, however, reveals through e-mails that Brown did indeed request the luxury SUV specifically and the District even was stuck paying for two Lincoln Navigator L's after the first arrived with a gray interior and Brown insisted on the black-on-black color scheme.
"It shows his set of priorities, and it's totally ridiculous to anyone who pays D.C. taxes when they hear this type of story," says Paul D. Craney executive director of the D.C. Republican Committee.
In addition to Brown's two Navigators, the District is already reportedly leasing a pair of luxury vehicles for Mayor Vincent C. Gray.
Some public outcry has even called for Brown to give up the vehicles. But according to chairman, who says he accepts “full responsibility” for the debacle, they are unable to break the lease on the vehicles. He admits the situation has brought a lot of negative attention to his newly acquired position.
"Believe me,” he says. “I want nothing more [than] to be out of this particular truck.”