Loose Lips

Former Parks Director Scolded by IG

Ximena Hartsock, the former acting director of the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation, lied on her I-9 form about her home address and improperly hired a close friend while "living rent-free" in the friend's basement, according to a new report from the Office of Inspector General.

Hartsock was at the epicenter of an ugly confirmation battle between former Mayor Adrian Fenty and the D.C. Council in 2009. Hartsock wasn't confirmed and went to go work in for City Administrator Neil Albert.

But before the confirmation showdown, the IG says Hartsock got a long-time friend, who works at DCPS, a $27-an-hour summer job with the parks department while living rent-free in that friend's basement. That's a big no-no, the IG says, and breaks all sorts of city personnel rules.

The IG's report says Hartsock incorrectly believed that she had to sell her Arlington condo and become a D.C. resident when she was appointed as acting director in April 2009 after Fenty mysteriously fired former Director Clark Ray. (Hartsock would have had 180 days to become a D.C. resident if she's been approved by the council, the IG says.)

The IG's report says the friend offered to let Hartsock live in her basement and the pair told investigators that they'd signed a lease saying Hartsock would pay $700 or $750 a month. But the IG apparently didn't mess around, and pulled both Hartsock and the friend's bank records, which showed no such monthly payments. Instead, Hartsock gave her friend a check for $4,200 in December, after the friend submitted a letter to the editor at the Washington Post defending Hartsock and mentioning that she was living in the basement. (LL tried to find the letter, but with no success.)

The IG says Hartsock committed four violations of the District Personnel Manual: 1) "Giving preferential treatment to any person." 2)  "Losing complete independence or impartiality." 3) "Affecting adversly the confidence of the public in the integrity of the government." 4) An employee shall not accept a gift from an employee receiveing less pay."

The IG says it went to the U.S. attorney's office to report that Hartsock made false statements on an April I-9 form she submitted saying she was living in the District when she was actually living in Virginia. The feds declined to pursue the case, the IG says.

The friend in this story also broke city rules by making "a donation as a gift to a superior," according to the IG.

Hartsock's Virginia phone listing is no longer working and LL couldn't find another way to reach her for comment. In the IG's report, Hartsock says that no one at the parks department actually worked for her "because she uses a team approach to management and considers herself to be part of the team."

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  • WhataJoke

    Alan,

    Here's a lead you need to investigate: Hartsock's friend was still on DCPS' payroll earning 80K a year while working at Dept of Recreation. In addition, Dr. Harstock was paying her $24 an hour as a DPR summer employee. Hartsock allowed her friend to double-dip at DC taxpayers' expense.

  • WhataJoke

    Sorry, meant to type $27 an hour, not $24!

  • Southeast Resident

    Where are all of the people usually sticking up for Fenty's folks saying there is no corruption? There must be an administrative or civil action that can be taken against this witch! You would think that the U.S. Attorney's Office would prosecute this matter! She ran off good Recreation Department employees to pack the employee rolls with her cronies and did not have the qualifications for the job coming over from Michelle Rhee's shop. If she is still around she needs to be dismissed!

  • Truth Hurts

    If she intentionally ripped off the city and lied on her employment documents, she ought to be prosecuted.

    @ ABM: blow me, prick. Unless, that is, you can get the Trout report released. Which, btw, is an investigation into alleged wrongdoing by Fenty and friends. And which, asshole, I've been waiting on for almost one year. Frucking hypocrite.

  • Adrian Bent-Me

    TH- thanks for the invitation, but I'll pass. You're not really my type, but I am flattered douche bag.

    Hopefully the new AG will pursue Friends of Fenty with the same zeal that Nickles did Team Thomas (which I'm absolutely glad that he did) and Don Peebles (this one seemed like a reach).

    The City is facing a half a billion dollar plus deficit and I doubt you can attribute all of it to Gray, though I'm sure you and your boyfriend Drez will try. Inflated contracts to Friends of Fenty contributed to this and there is no way to deny this. But, even if these assholes are taken away in chains, you and Drez would argue that it's all politically motivated and that they're innocent right... fucking hypocrites.

  • ward4 gets new council member

    WHEN WILL SHE BE SENTENCED????

  • abuzzn DC

    A day late and a dollar short by the IG. The IG knows which side his bread is buttered, but a "MAR" (Management Advisory Report) should have been issued to Fenty for immediate remedial action. Hartsocks golden parachute in Alberts office is no surprise with him having changed twisted DDOT's arm in road construction plans to better suit his property across from the new Library.

  • noodlez

    SCOLDED???? LOCK HER ASS UP!

    WE NEED TO SEND A MESSAGE TO ALL FAGGIE FENTY'S FELONIOUS FLUNKIES.

  • candycane1

    Prosecute and deport!

  • Terry Miller

    The current IG, IMHO, is a spineless jellyfish, who goes where ever the wind blows. I hope when this guy's term is up, Mayor Gray has the sense to appoint somebody with some backbone.

    The IG has suposedly been investigating alot of complaints about Fenty adminstration officials failure to become a resident of D.C., including high ranking officials in Fire and EMS. This is the first one I have heard that has been completed. The IG has sat on the rest of them. Maybe now the IG will have the guts to finish all these investigations against Fenty administration officials, now that he can do it at absolutely no risk to himself!

  • ME4DC

    Sorry folks....if she was BLACK....She would be LOCKED UP!

    Fenty and the rest of that adminstration needs to be LOCKED UP! Including Ms. Rhee!

  • Joe

    Is Ms. Hartsock's friend (Ms. Souza) still working for DCPS? Why didn't the IG disclose that Ms. Souza was getting paid by both DCPS and DPR at the same time?

  • Truth Hurts

    @A-BM: I'm guessing by comment #5 you still don't have the Trout report. You know, the one you keep summarizing. Like I said before: blow me bitch.

  • Adrian Bent-Me

    TH- I guess I can say the same about the report on Thomas right? It's all bullshit you douche. Hopefully, Gray will have the fortitude to go after them all with a legitimate investigation into all of these shady fucks. Not a simple settlement by the AG that washes the hands of Karim and Skinner, or the postponement of an investigation into Thomas. Something should happen and should happen the right way, with a thorough investigation. If you are too stupid to recognize that shady deals were cut for Friends of Fenty, then there isn't much I can do for you bitch. But don't pretend that you've got the moral high-ground here, calling for a critical examination of Thomas, when you can't ask for the same of the others. Ya Douche!

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