I and other journalists have written about the suspicion that Graham had done such a thing, only to experience Graham’s expressions of denial and great indignation, as well as his whining to our editors.
Contrast the Metro-ordered investigation with the timid lottery probe conducted by D.C. Inspector General Charles J. Willoughby. Graham dazzled the IG investigators with his fancy footwork and got whitewashed for his trouble.
After reading Metro’s report, Willoughby should resign in shame.
Contrast, too, the Metro investigation that “questioned thirteen current and former Metro Board members, six current and former Metro employees, and fourteen other involved persons, in some instances under oath and using a court reporter,” with the laughable event called a public hearing that was staged this week by the D.C. Council’s Finance and Revenue Committee.
The purpose was to examine the city’s troubled property-tax appraisal program.
Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi and his tax-office crew sat it out while citizens and council members vented about property-tax appraisals. Then Gandhi et al. took the witness seats and denied everything, secure in the knowledge that committee Chairman Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and business leaders had their backs and that all would be well once the hearing adjourned.
It was a joke.
The start time for the city’s first major league postseason baseball game since 1933 was 1 p.m. Wednesday. So Evans fashioned a solution: Begin the hearing at 9 a.m., recess at noon and resume after the game.
The morning session packed in several witnesses, including William J. DiVello, former internal affairs chief of the CFO’s office, who resigned last week after a feud with officials over releasing an audit.
Except for DiVello, the morning’s public witnesses seemed to get the bum’s rush, as if they were shabbily dressed customers at a snooty art auction.
Everyone got to see and hear DiVello and — after the game — more public witnesses, and then, around 10 p.m., Gandhi and his crew.
The public witnesses were fillers: folks invited to testify to ensure that all political bases were covered. An activist here, a distraught homeowner there, a pro-Gandhi business supporter, a few Gandhi critics. A little of this, a little of that and, voila, a public hearing.
It was an opportunity for council members to vent after several critical Post articles about Gandhi’s tax office and property tax settlements. And it was a chance for Gandhi to dispute all charges.