The star witness planned for the council's hearing today on the taxi industry was a no-show.
To the consternation of council members on the dais, the Fenty administration declined to make D.C. Taxicab Commission Chairman Leon J. Swain Jr. available this afternoon because of his role in an ongoing federal investigation.
Thirty-nine people have been indicted on charges that they tried to bribe Swain, who was working undercover for the FBI.
"It would be inappropriate at this time for Mr. Swain to appear," Attorney General Peter Nickles wrote in a letter to council member Michael A. Brown (I-At Large), after meeting with him.
Instead, the administration sent to the hearing commissioner Scott Kubly, who read a prepared statement, struggled to answer some basic questions and informed members he was unavailable to stay for the duration of the meeting.
"If Nickles is going to send you down here, I'm going to insist you stay here as long as necessary," council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) said to vigorous applause from the audience of cab drivers.
Kubly agreed to stay.
-- Ann E. Marimow