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Posted at 10:09 AM ET, 08/08/2012

DeMorning Links: Deassessed in D.C.

District CFO Natwar Gandhi has previously expressed concern about burgeoning assessment appeals. So why has his tax office stopped fighting many of them? (Sarah L. Voisin - WASHINGTON POST)
Property taxes on downtown real estate comprise a major part of the city budget. So perhaps it’s worrisome that the city tax office has recently started revising property assessments for many of those buildings downward before even taking the disputes to a board specifically established to settle them. The Post’s Debbie Cenziper, Nikita Stewart and Ted Mellnik report that, just this year, $2.6 billion of assessed value has been removed from the rolls in this manner, costing the city nearly $50 million in revenue: “Tax office officials say they have embraced the settlements to save costs on tax appeal litigation. But the reductions have spurred anger and confusion among some tax office employees whose concerns have filtered out to internal auditors and the FBI, which has launched an investigation.” What’s especially curious is that Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi not so long ago lamented that assessment appeals were draining the city coffers and supported tightening the appeals process. Now his tax office is giving up tens of millions with nary a fight.

In other news:

Mayor Vincent Gray says billboard for gun lessons is “offensive” and “anti-safety” (WRC-TV)

Why the $7 billion Union Station plan might not think big enough (GGW)

What the federal government spends on our federal (and local) prosecutor: $72 million (Crime Scene)

Report: Recidivism rates for D.C. juveniles are not especially high (Legal Times)

School closing announcements will come by year’s end, council says in report (Examiner)

Obama campaign is reportedly steering clear of D.C. politicos — but when exactly would he be steering toward them? (WUSA-TV)

The D.C. attorney general should butt out of the Corcoran’s move decision (Post editorial)

L’Enfant Plaza escalator incident injures five (Dr. Gridlock)

Pay only the minimum Metro fare during service disruptions? Good luck with that. (WUSA-TV)

District slapped tax lien on Jeanne Clarke Harris’s company (WaTimes)

Some D.C. Web sites showed malware warning (WaTimes)

Tax revenue from D.C. real estate transactions is on the wane (@NeibsWBJ)

Here’s a new one: Snatching bikes from Metrobus racks (Post letter)

IG finds issues at Southeast homeless shelter (Examiner)

Election season is a nice time to own a TV station (City Desk)

D.C. man pleads guilty to victimizing elderly in burglaries (Crime Scene)

Crime is up (by 3 percent), and we need more cops, says Harry Jaffe (Examiner)

Sulaimon Brown makes an unfortunate comparison (Loose Lips)

Jack Evans wants land adjacent to West Heating Plant saved for park (G’town Dish)

D.C.’s leading man of meat (Post)

The Willard Hotel’s ups and downs and ups (Streets of Washington)

Shake Shack will occupy the old Zola space (Capital Business)

Bus lanes would make more sense on H and I streets NW than on 9th Street NW (GGW)

”Swagger-jacking” on U Street: The readers respond (The Root DC, PoP)

Dick Vitale has spoken: Let Strasburg pitch! (ESPN)

By  |  10:09 AM ET, 08/08/2012

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