Saturday, August 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown to pay $40,000-plus for ethics violations

City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and her campaign have been slapped with a $48,834 fine for a series of ethics violations.

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown to pay $40,000-plus for ethics violations

FILE Photo from May 2011: City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and her campaign have been slapped with a $40,584 fine for a series of ethics violations. ( Steven M. Falk / Staff Photographer  )
FILE Photo from May 2011: City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and her campaign have been slapped with a $40,584 fine for a series of ethics violations. ( Steven M. Falk / Staff Photographer ) Steven M. Falk

City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and her campaign have been slapped with a $48,834 fine for a series of ethics violations.

The Ethics Board announced today that Reynolds Brown made material misstatements and omissions in her campaign finance reports, accepted excess contributions, failed to properly deposit contributions, accepted prohibited gifts and failed to disclose transactions on 2010 and 2011 financial interest statements.

The 25-page report included details of Reynolds Brown’s financial woes in which she sought assistance from mentor Congressman Chaka Fattah to prevent her house from going into foreclosure in 2010. She needed $30,000 to save her home and by November was at least $3,000 short.  Chaka “Chip” Fattah Jr. gave the Councilwoman a $3,300 loan which she did not disclose on her 2010 financial interest statement. At the time Fattah Jr. was an employee of a for-profit charter school that received millions of dollars in contracts from the School District. The FBI is currently investigating Fattah Jr.’s finances.

Reynolds Brown was not taking calls on the agreement reached with the Ethics Board, but her office released this statement:

More coverage
 
Nutter seeks feedback from voters on Election Day experiences
 
City Council anxious to see AVI data

“I have cooperated fully with the Board of Ethics in an effort to clear up any oversight and/or omissions made by the Friends of Blondell Reynolds Brown so that my campaign may begin with a clean slate effective immediately and I can continue to focus on my constituents and the important legislative business of the City of Philadelphia. 

It is clear that there were a number of errors that occurred during the last campaign. I brought information to the Board of Ethics that resulted in this settlement.

I take full responsibility for the conduct of my campaign and have taken corrective steps to ensure that future reporting is clear and accurate. The persons responsible for these errors have been removed from any responsibilities regarding the Friends of Blondell Reynolds Brown and I have implemented strict guidelines and practices to ensure these errors will not be repeated.

I also must take full responsibility for an error in judgment regarding the repayment of a loan, through campaign funds, for a personal matter. I have subsequently made the Friends of Blondell Reynolds Brown whole through reimbursing that amount with my personal funds.  I deeply regret this decision, which I voluntarily brought to the attention of the Board of Ethics. Most important: I apologize to my supporters and my colleagues, whose trust I value deeply. I will do everything in my power to make amends.”

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
 Follow Chris on Twitter

Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
 Follow Jenny on Twitter.

Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
 Follow Sean on Twitter

Also on Philly.com
Stay Connected