COUNCILWOMAN Blondell Reynolds Brown's former campaign manager, John McDaniel, was canned from his job at Philadelphia International Airport on Tuesday, a day after the city Ethics Board revealed that Brown and McDaniel had committed numerous campaign-finance and ethics violations while she was running for a fourth term.
Mayor Nutter said that he decided to fire McDaniel - whom he'd recommended last year for the $87,125-a-year job as the airport's director of volunteer programming - after reading the board's report and consulting with high-ranking administration officials.
"I have known John McDaniel for a long time, and certainly I'm deeply disappointed by his actions and admissions as outlined in the Ethics Board report," Nutter said in a statement.
McDaniel, a paid consultant on Nutter's 2011 re-election campaign, was forced out of a Street administration post in 2005 for violating a city charter ban on political activity. He'd previously been accused of stealing $13,000 from a nonprofit.
Brown's settlement agreement with the Ethics Board requires her and her campaign to pay $48,834 in fines and repayments and to submit to board oversight. She admitted to dozens of omissions and misstatements in her financial reporting, as well as to depositing political contributions into her personal account.
The report also describes how Brown directed McDaniel to use campaign funds to repay a $3,300 personal loan that she had received from Chaka "Chip" Fattah Jr., the son of the congressman. McDaniel disguised the payment by making it appear as if the money had gone to a printing firm.
"I'm not a lawyer, but it would seem that the district attorney is the right person to be looking at this," said Zack Stalberg, head of the Committee of Seventy watchdog group. "Some of this stuff is pretty squirrely."
A spokeswoman for District Attorney Seth Williams declined to comment. Sources have told the Daily News that the FBI, which is investigating Fattah Jr.'s finances, has also inquired about Brown and McDaniel.
Brown, an at-large Democrat who has been mentioned as a possible 2015 mayoral candidate, stonewalled reporters in City Hall on Tuesday, refusing to answer questions about the ethics violations. But Council President Darrell Clarke and majority leader Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. both said that they support keeping Brown in her leadership post.
"I am glad Councilwoman Reynolds Brown is taking full responsibility for the conduct of her campaign," Clarke said in a statement. "I have always had great confidence in her as a Council colleague, and I continue to have confidence in her abilities as a legislator and as majority whip."
- Staff writer Chris Brennan
contributed to this report.