(WJLA) - The Ethics Board has charged Chief Judge Mary Oates Walker with hiring her outside business partner Kiyo Oden Tyson as her General Counsel, and then steering Tyson's husband towards a $43,000 contract to move the agency without a bid and lying about it to the board.
On Thursday, Walker was officially charged with 19 counts of wrongdoing -- but her attorney says the claims aren't true, blaming the situation on politics:
"At the end of the day when this all comes out, the real wrongdoers and those engaged in backroom politics are going to be exposed," says defense attorney James Hibey. "She did not lie, she did not obstruct any investigation, and she did not give preferential treatment to anyone."
In a story first reported by ABC7's I-Team, this is the latest in a battle between the Chief Judge - appointed by former Mayor Adrian Fenty - and most of the 24 administrative law judges under her who see her as a tyrant and have signed petitions against her.
They are now trying to unionize in order to call for her complete termination. Termination procedures have since been brought up against Walker.
Administrative Hearings is the agency that decides disputes with the D.C. government, short of going to court. The D.C. Inspector looked into the allegations about the Chief Judge and dropped the matter, but the Ethics Board picked it back up and is now charging Walker and her counsel in depositions, in which they claim the judge "made material misrepresentations."
"This is an outrage that she would be in a Washington D.C. building until these charges have been answered," says Union member Paul Shearon. "I would like to commend the Mayor for taking this action...and taking it as rapidly as he has."