ON MAY 29, 2008, D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) met with representatives of a District business who were pressing their bid for the city’s lottery contract. Allegations have emerged, most recently in a report by D.C. Inspector General Charles J. Willoughby, that the council member offered to drop his opposition to the group’s bid if one of its members would agree to withdraw from a separate real estate deal with Metro, on whose board Mr. Graham sat. As this page reported Wednesday, Mr. Graham flatly denied that he ever made such an offer.
Since then, we have obtained a series of e-mails that raise further questions. The e-mails were written in the days leading up to and following Mr. Graham’s meeting with representatives of W2I, a joint venture between a local group involving businessman Warren Williams Jr. and Greek gaming giant Intralot that was seeking the $38 million lottery contract. The e-mails show that the lottery seekers were concerned about what they viewed as an inappropriate, if not illegal, demand from Mr. Graham. The e-mails also show them addressing questions, allegedly raised by Mr. Graham in the May 29 meeting, about whether Mr. Williams’s family had made campaign contributions to Mr. Graham’s 2006 primary challenger and if they or a friend of Mr. Williams had been involved with a racially charged poster targeting Mr. Graham.