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Arlington's Christian Dorsey addresses controversy after resigning from the Metro Board

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Arlington County board member Christian Dorsey is speaking out about the ethics violation that led to his resignation from the Metro board. He stepped down from that position on Thursday. On Friday, he sat down with ABC7 to talk about the controversy.

"I'm embarrassed certainly, and disappointed," Dorsey said. "It was an administrative oversight, and something the Metro ethics committee decided to reprimand me for, which I accepted."

It started when Dorsey didn't properly notify Metro about a $10,000 campaign donation he'd received from the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents about 13,000 Metro employees and is the transit agency's largest labor union.

"There's nothing wrong with that as a campaign contribution, it was what I failed to do in terms of disclosing that to Metro," said Dorsey.

He says the failure to properly disclose the campaign contribution was an administrative oversight, but maintains it never compromised his judgement while serving on the Metro board. But in November, he promised Metro that he would return the money to the union.

That still hasn't happened, and it's ultimately what made him decide to step down from the Metro board this week.

"It's just simply been difficult to raise the money to fully repay the contribution," he said. "I'm in the process and will actually repay it soon."

On Thursday, Metro released the following statement in regards to Dorsey's resignation:

"While the Board was prepared to act to resolve this matter, we understand that Mr. Dorsey will be replaced by his appointing authority. This resolves the matter considered by the Ethics Committee earlier today. We look forward to working with Virginia’s alternate, Mr. Letourneau, and with Mr. Dorsey’s permanent successor once appointed."

On Friday, a Metro spokesperson reiterated to ABC7 that Dorsey's resignation meant Metro would no longer require him to return the $10,000 campaign contribution to the Amalgamated Transit Union.

Despite that, Dorsey says he still plans to repay the union.

"Because that is what I agreed to do, and that's something I'm going to follow through in doing. It's not a matter of being unwilling, it's just needing more time to do it. So I'm going to fulfill that promise regardless of how it impacts Metro. It's something I feel is the right thing to do," he said.

As for his role on the Arlington County Board, Dorsey plans has no plans to step down. ABC7 asked Dorsey what he would say to his constituents who may be concerned by the fact that he violated Metro's ethics policy.

"I recognize that anytime any kind of negative news is brought to the public, there are going to be questions and people are going to be concerned, and I'm sorry for that. But it does provide me of an opportunity to remind people of the value that I think I've brought and that other people have said I've brought, and to continue to do the good work so that hopefully, with the passage of some time, people are able to put this in the proper perspective," Dorsey said. "I would just encourage people to look at my record of service and make decisions for themselves."

Current Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey also reacted to the controversy on Friday.

"What Christian did is deeply disappointing to me, obviously, and I'm planning to talk to him about that," she said. "But I continue to think he is a very valuable member of the Arlington County Board and valuable to this region as well. People make mistakes. This was a real error in judgement."

Dorsey has served on the Metro board for the last four years. He says he'd already been planning to step aside this year.

"My decision to step down from the Metro board obviously was hastened by the news this week, but had been part of the plan since the end of the year. I've been on the Metro board for four years and was looking to have someone else from Northern Virginia step up," he said.

The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission is responsible for appointing Metro board members from Virginia. The commission is expected to choose Dorsey's permanent replacement at it's next meeting in March.

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