PAYOFF INDICTMENT Traffic Firm Officer Accused

Of Giving City Official Money The former vice president of a traffic engineering firm was charged yesterday with paying an illegal gratuity to a D.C. official who oversaw a $12.9 million contract with the executive's company.

In an indictment handed up by a federal grand jury in the District, Kenneth Keitt is accused of paying a District employee $6,900 in 2001.

The official, Wilhelm DerMinassian, pleaded guilty earlier to federal charges of defrauding the D.C. government and receiving an illegal gratuity. DerMinassian, who was an associate director of the D.C. Department of Transportation from 2000 to 2003, oversaw traffic services. He was accused of receiving gifts from Keitt and another traffic engineering company, Dunn Engineering Associates, which has pleaded guilty in the case.

Keitt worked for DMJM+Harris Inc., which received a contract with the city in 2000. DerMinassian had the power to cancel the contract and was in a position to urge the city to give the company additional business, prosecutors said. Keitt provided the $6,900 to curry favor, the indictment alleges. DerMinassian was sentenced to 30 days in jail and ordered to pay $100,000 in fines and restitution.

-- Henri E. CauvinMISSING PERSON Police Ask for Help in Finding

NE Man Last Seen Thursday D.C. police are looking for a Washington man who has been missing since Thursday.

Harvey Belt, 65, of the 4000 block of Minnesota Avenue NE was last seen about 4:30 p.m. leaving Greater Southeast Community Hospital. Police said he is dark-complexioned, black, 5 feet 4 and 135 pounds and was last see in a light gray coat, dark gray sweater, fatigue pants and tan boots.

-- Keith AlexanderCHARTER SCHOOLSFenty Selection Set to Join Review Board MondayMayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) has appointed Ariana Quiñones-Miranda to the D.C. Public Charter School Board, the seven-member panel that reviews District charter schools.

She is the advocacy and policy director of Fight for Children, a District nonprofit group. The appointment leaves one vacancy on the board.

-- Theola Labbé AMERICAN UNIVERSITYFinancial Scandal Prompts Federal Tax Examination The Internal Revenue Service is looking at three years of American University tax returns, prompted by a spending scandal that led to the ouster of President Benjamin A. Ladner, officials said yesterday.

Interim President Cornelius Kerwin said the IRS was scrutinizing records from tax years 2004 through 2006.

-- Valerie Strauss