According to The Washington Post, Washington D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown has found himself on the wrong side of public perception over his choice of a taxpayer-provided vehicle: a fully loaded Lincoln Navigator L.
Evidently ordered on Brown’s request before his January 2 inauguration, the rig carries an incredible $1,900 per month lease payment. That’s pretty spendy for a government facing a $400 million shortfall.
But it gets even worse…
Brown reportedly requested a fully loaded Navigator L (which is the long-wheelbase version, about 24 inches longer than the standard Navigator) in solid black along with a black interior. When that vehicle came delivered with a gray interior, he wouldn’t accept it and demanded another. As a result, the good tax-paying residents of Washington D.C. currently pay to lease two Navigator L models at $1,900 per month each.
Brown, presumably under intense pressure, says he never intended for the vehicle to be a fully loaded luxury SUV and that he merely requested a black-on-black model. But The Washington Post reports that emails acquired via the Freedom of Information Act show that the fully loaded vehicle was leased per Brown’s request.
And why not? Rather than play the ignorance card here, Brown should own up and admit that no one orders a Navigator L without expecting a hefty dose of luxury. And when it’s free, who can blame him? I’d certainly do the same thing, and I’d imagine a good majority of you would, too.
There are a couple of problems with this situation, but neither is with the specific vehicle choice.
The first problem is that Brown didn’t accept the Navigator with the gray interior. He says he wanted black because cars with black interiors have better resale values, but it’s pretty clear that saving money on the car isn’t his first priority. He should have just accepted the car that was delivered and changed cars when the lease was up.
The second problem is with whoever negotiated those lease payments. Seriously, $1,900 per month could have have financed a Maserati. A quick visit to the Lincoln Navigator online configurator shows a fully loaded Navigator L lease payment of $982 per month.
Who’s the schmuck who signed on the $1,900 line? Twice? That’s the guy who should be fired.
Do you have a problem with government officials driving luxury vehicles for free?