WASHINGTON -- Three members of the District of Columbia Council on Wednesday called on Mayor Vincent Gray to resign, a day after a public relations consultant pleaded guilty to illegally steering more than $650,000 to benefit Gray's 2010 campaign.
In an interview with WRC-TV/NBC4, David Catania (I-At-Large) said Gray should step aside:
"Whether Vince knew or not, the legitimacy of the election was called into question by all this illegal money," Catania told NBC4's Tom Sherwood.
"Gray should not be the beneficiary of that illegality," Catania said. "He needs to think about the best interest of the city."
Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), in an interview with WTTG-TV/Fox 5, joined Catania's call for the mayor to resign.
Later, Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), who is seen as a possible future mayoral candidate, also called on Gray to step aside.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Gray said he had no intentions of resigning.
According to Washington City Paper, Catania said that it doesn't matter if Gray, who has not been charged with a crime, didn't know about the misconduct happening during his 2010 campaign. Now that three campaign aides have pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the federal investigation into the mayoral race, Gray cannot govern effectively. "The mayor has been reduced to a joke. He is a laugh line," Catania said, according to City Paper. "He is an embarrassment."
Cheh's statement, via Washington Business Journal:
Today, I join Councilmember Catania in calling on Mayor Gray to resign. Whether or not he knew of the massive election fraud that was taking place in his name, he is responsible for it. I cannot overemphasize the sadness that accompanies this action on my part. I came to know Vincent Gray as Chairman of the Council, and during the four years that we served together, I did not know of a single person with more integrity and commitment to the people of the District of Columbia. Indeed, that is why I endorsed him when he ran for Mayor. But the facts cannot be ignored and what has happened since has caused incalculable harm to the District. I believe that he would do a great public service if he would step aside now.
A spokesman for the mayor, Pedro Ribeiro, bit back at the mayor's critics, telling WTOP-FM:
"This is the kind of irresponsible talk we've come to expect from Councilmember Catania."
And, "It's disappointing however that a constitutional scholar of Cheh's caliber would call for a resignation before investigation is complete," Ribeiro added.
This post has been updated to add details about Bowser's call for the mayor to resign and comments from the mayor's spokesman.