During his deposition, George was also questioned about Orlando Allen, whom George said he had known since his high school days in New Jersey. In March 2009, Allen was hired as a temporary appraisal technician in the tax office, records show.
Allen’s position was cut in November 2009. About that time, he created a company that began to manage Najjar’s mall, records and interviews show.
Phone numbers for Allen were either disconnected or did not receive messages. He was one of 11 people indicted in New Jersey in July in an unrelated case of an alleged $15 million mortgage fraud, federal court records show. He has pleaded not guilty. Nace Naumoski and Shailesh Deshpande, listed as Allen’s attorneys in the case, did not return calls.
George said in his deposition that he is no longer friends with Allen or Najjar.
In the end, George’s contract with the county was terminated in April 2010, personnel records show. George had refused a request for his resignation, claiming that he was targeted because he is black. George also alleged that he was terminated because he had flagged improper reductions in property values by others in the office. He filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the county in August 2010, saying he “performed his responsibilities fully and exemplary” and “was given accolades from his performance by County personnel and the public.”
George later dropped his lawsuit.
During his deposition in the appraisers’ lawsuit, George said he no longer believed that he had been discriminated against. He said he did not enter into any settlements with the county. He eventually got an assessment job in another county in Georgia before moving to the District late last year.
The female appraisers filed the federal discrimination lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Georgia in December 2010 — a year before George was hired to serve as the District’s chief appraiser.
Details about George’s involvement in the case probably would not have shown up through a simple Web search. The case is publicly accessible in federal court records, but because George was not a named defendant, his connection to the case would not be easy to find.
Both Manning, the former chief appraiser, and Huff, the head of the county assessors board, said they were familiar with the suit. Huff said he was not contacted by anyone in the District before George’s hiring. Manning said he received several calls from people in the District, including one in recent weeks. He said he referred callers to the county’s human resources office.
Manning said he did not believe that George had an improper agenda but rather a gruff management style. “He was accused of, I want to say, strong-arming,” Manning said. “There were a number of internal complaints.”
Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.