Gandhi has assiduously courted the favor of the influential and powerful. (Linda Davidson — The Washington Post)

In his Saturday column, Colby King considers the mystique of Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi. Is he the indispensable man, constantly holding our wayward politicos back from the brink of fiscal ruin? Or is the truth more complicated, obscured by Gandhi’s talent for polishing his own apple over breakfasts at Old Ebbitt Grill and lunches at the Metropolitan Club? “’Tis fair to say, no District official — elected or appointed — spends more time tending to his own esteem,” Colby writes, adding: “He is flying high on other folks’ coattails. Want to seek the truth about Nat Gandhi? Review his management track record. Now that is a real tale.” Meanwhile, Debbie Cenziper and Nikita Stewart examine newly released audits of the city tax office, one of which identified weaknesses that could be exploited by a malevolent employee. While the audits were made public only after the agency’s internal watchdog quit, complaining about secrecy, Gandhi spokesman David Umansky said that if Gandhi hadn’t established the oversight office, “many of these things would not have been found. We’re being tarred for doing a good thing.”

In other news:

Jeffrey Thompson’s days owning a health-care company are numbered (PostWBJExaminerLoose Lips)

On Michael Brown’s D.C. Council record (Post)

School closing announcement could come in early November, according to Phil Mendelson’s hearing schedule (D.C. Schools Insider)

At DYRS, an unusual exodus of high-ranking officials (WaTimes)

UDC dinged for $530,000 in federal false claims case over grant (Post)

Ethics board needs to address unanswered questions in Jim Graham investigation — “the credibility of [the] new panel will be at stake” (Post editorial)

Five years after demotion, Robin Hoey is commanding an MPD district again (WaTimes)

Family Research Council guard will get medal from Mayor Vincent Gray today (AP)

The south Dupont Metro escalators are open (PostWaTimesWTOP)

Virginia economic development exec: “Fairfax County is now the downtown. D.C. just became our suburb.” (Capital Business)

Clergy make the case for spending the surplus (Post op-ed)

Howard students are faced with sometime violent street crime (Post)

Burglar assaults Georgetown students (AP)

South Capitol Street shootings figure who cooperated with police gets off a little easier (Post)

Will toughened child abuse reporting standards overwhelm social workers? (Examiner)

Tommy Wells has nice things to say about A.J. Cooper (D.C. Wire)

Yes, Vickey Wilcher did work for the Vincent Orange campaign (Loose Lips)

Church parking: Still a problem! (Examiner)

Twelve percent of surveyed D.C. business owners say ethics is on their minds in presidential race (Examiner)

Mary Brooks Beatty wishes the Post wouldn’t have endorsed former Democrats (Post letter)

Deborah Simmons wants the mayor to do more about school truancy (WaTimes)

Harry Jaffe wishes the council candidates would talk about crime more (Washingtonian)

So why not elect a cop, like Leon Swain says? (D.C. Wire)

Ron Moten boasts about late-night Twitter fight with Yvette Alexander (WTTG-TV)

D.C. is relatively affordable. Relatively. (Housing ComplexSlateStreetsblog)

Read the charter amendments voters will see on Nov. 6 (WTOP)

Serious prison terms for men who violently robbed elderly D.C. residents (Post)

Council members raise cash for Maryland gay marriage vote (Vote for 6)

Georgetown carry-out trademark war (Young & Hungry)

Can Bozzuto make Tenleytown Safeway deal work? (Capital Business)

Man’s oxygen-tank fueled immolation was not a malfunction, investigators say (Crime Scene)

Rhode Island Avenue NE gets some retail therapy (UrbanTurf)

It’s tree-planting season (WJLA-TV)

Sculptor’s schedule in holding up MLK Memorial fix (WaTimes)

Juvenile justice in attractive series of graphs (DCLY)

A Capital Weather Gangster gave Mary Cheh a preview of how bad this winter will be (Post video)

New and easy ways to check if your favorite eatery is a sordid vermin pit (DCist)

WNEW-AM is foundering (WBJ)

Because when you think Georgetown, you think bowling (DCist)

Tom Sherwood, in two dimensions (@mikemartinezdc)

“Teddy Roosevelt cheated and now the Nats are cursed.” (Post letter)