Did Tony Cheng bribe the unbribeable?

Tony Cheng's namesake restaurants on H Street NW have been popular venues for political events for decades. (Mike DeBonis/The Washington Post) Tony Cheng’s namesake restaurants on H Street NW have been popular venues for political events for decades. (Mike DeBonis/The Washington Post)

Tony Cheng is many things: restaurateur, family man, political donor, pear farmer, aspiring medical marijuana entrepreneur. But if a federal indictment returned Tuesday is any indication, he is not a great consumer of local news. In the course of trying to enter the taxi business, a grand jury has found, Cheng and his son paid bribes in early 2011 to then Taxi Commission Chairman Leon Swain Jr. to secure then-impossible-to-get licenses. Now that name might be familiar now, as it would have been back in 2011: Swain was then less than two years removed from playing a key role as an FBI informant in a previous bribery probe that netted a D.C. Council staff member. Swain’s role was well established: This reporter called him a “whistleblower hero” in 2009, and Swain himself went on TV cameras later that year to pronounce himself unbribeable. Apparently Cheng, whose lawyer vows to fight the charges, did not get the memo. More from Loose LipsWAMU-FMWaTimesDCistWJLA-TV and AP.

In other news:

Oh, and it appears boxing gym proprietor Keely Thompson will plead guilty today to misspending city funds (Loose Lips)

Tax cuts contemplated alongside $50 million in new spending in latest budget draft (Post)

Marion Barry and David Catania say they’ll offer amendment to spend $43M more on schools funding (Post)

One way to provide working class tax relief: Raise the standard deduction and personal exemption on D.C. income tax (DCFPI)

Heller case was decided five years ago; other D.C. gun cases are making their way through the courts (WAMU-FM)

A delegate says she’ll give away all of her Jeffrey Thompson money, and it isn’t Eleanor Holmes Norton (AP)

Providence Hospital lays off 40, citing Chartered Health Plan collapse as factor (WBJ)

Nat Gandhi projects tapering of city’s population growth based on nothing in particular (Housing Complex)

Speed camera revenue projected to drop, due to lower fines and higher speed limits (WRC-TV)

D.C. Circuit punts on anti-SLAPP law (Legal Times)

Alleged Petworth stabber will remain held (Post)

What happened at Barry Farm redevelopment meeting? Unclear, since DCHA banned reporters (HuffPo)

DCHA takes early step toward redevelopment of Greenleaf homes (Housing Complex)

JBG rekindles plan to build luxe condos at Wardman Park (WBJ)

Another symbol snub for the District: Library of Congress’s stained glass windows (Post letter)

Assault of drag performer at 14th Street Manny & Olga’s goes viral on WorldStarHipHop.com (Metro WeeklyBlade)

Watch D.C. food truck documentary on Maryland Public Television tonight (WBJ)

Finally, halting progress on Rock Creek Park trail repaving (WABA)

And Metropolitan Branch Trail could be complete by 2017 (WAMU-FM)

Vincent Gray is a “disrupter” (National Real Estate Investor)

Someone crashed sedan into Central Michel Richard (Post)

Uniontown Bar & Grill’s replacement is now “coming soon” (CHotR)

Rusty’s doing fine, thanks for asking (Post)

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.

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Mike DeBonis · June 25, 2013