Loose Lips

Loose Lips Daily: Careful What You Wish For Edition

A deliberative roundup of one city's local politics. Send your tips, releases, stories, events, etc. to lips@washingtoncitypaper.com. And get LL Daily sent straight to your inbox every morning!


Good morning sweet readers! The deer by LL's house seem more annoyed than frightened when LL's dog chases them. Stuck up deer. News time:

Careful What You Wish For Edition: The District government has dropped the hammer on about 90 city employees who have allegedly been taking in both a paycheck and unemployment, the Post was first to report. Said employees were suspended Monday and now face the prospect of losing their jobs (in which case they actually will be eligible for unemployment) and facing prosecution. About 40 more former city employees are accused of the same, not very elegant scheme. "'By holding people accountable, that sends a clear message we’re not tolerating this behavior,'” said Lisa Mallory, director of the D.C. Department of Employment Services, which administers the jobless benefits program." Mallory said the some employees improperly received more than $20,000 while for others it was a few hundred bucks. Food for thought: if city employees get caught stealing a few hundred in unemployment pay, they rightfully get in trouble. But if upper level employees improperly received a full pension and a full salary and don't tell anyone about it, they get raises. Guess you gotta pick the right double dip.

AFTER THE JUMP: Scales of Justice; Goodbye Lotto Contract?; Gray v. Brown...

Scales of Justice: Speaking of potentially unequal punishments, Abdul Kamus, a key figure in the cash cab investigation that brought down Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham's former chief of staff Ted Loza, was sentenced to a year in prison, the AP reports. Court records show that Kamus was the point person for the Ethiopian cab interests who wanted to carve out a giant slice of the D.C. taxi industry and wanted the District, specifically Graham, to help. After the feds popped him, Kamus cooperated and helped get Loza on tape taking cash. Kamus also helped set up meetings between an undercover FBI agent named "Pete" and Graham and Loza, court records show. That Kamus is getting a year in prison while Loza, who had a position of public trust, got off with only eight* months, seems a bit unfair, if you ask LL.

Goodbye Lotto Contract?: Twitter is reporting this morning that 1) Councilmembers Michael Brown and David Catania got into a heated argument at the council breakfast and 2) the council may repeal the entire lottery contract. If that's true, then LL assumes we're in for another round of frantic lobbying by the city's politically plugged-in looking to make a killing as the lottery's local partner. Oh boy.

Gray v. Brown: The Post reports that the once rosy relationship between Mayor Vince Gray and Council Chairman Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown "appeared to reach a new low" yesterday. What's at issue? The same thing that ruins every happy marriage: money. Brown says the Gray administration, with CFO Nat Gandhi's help, hid $42 million from the council. "It’s a slap in the face to this legislative body," says Brown. Gray's budget man Eric Goulet it's nothing of the sort, just a "simple drafting error."

In Other News:

  • The trial of Sulaimon Brown, delayed.
  • Fire department spokesman says protests were racist.

Gray sked: State of the District speech, 7 p.m., Sixth and I Historic Synagogue

Council sked: Legislative meeting at 10 a.m.

*This post updated Loza's sentencing. He was sentenced to eight months, not four.

  • skinsfan83

    One City should be an HBO series. That would be crazy!!

  • unfair is right

    seriously, kamus' lawyer should be disbarred. what a rotten deal. he works undercover for the fbi and then receives a longer prison term than higher ups who were arguably committing more serious crimes? unreal.

  • CoolidgeGrad

    I think it would be terrible if these dc employees that stole money from the citizens of the District would now be eligible for unemployment when their charge would be fraud against DOES/unemployment. How long has this been going on, and what did the new director know and when did she know it? Let's not forget, she was there. I guess she was busy undermining the director at DOES she replaced. This is just tooooooo crazy.

  • Kevin

    Count me as skeptical that the current Council would do a better job of awarding the ENTIRE lottery contract if it is rebid. Do we really want to go through another 2-3 years of lobbying, horse-trading and questionable ethical behavior?

  • Truth hurts

    Employees fired for the cause are not entitled to unemployment benefits

  • drez

    Agree with unfair is right on Kamus.
    Gray and Brown seem to be in the midst of a simmering undeclared war. The sniping about the Brown staffer who was double dipping, the tiff over the funding, etc.
    It's almost as if the last elections didn't restore respect and comity between the executive and the council.

  • BurnIn

    Jim Graham should be in jail, that's who should be in jail.
    Graham and Loza, at Graham's behest, nurtured a culture of pay to play and the little folks trapped between the rock and the hard place pay on both ends.

    Nothing gets by Graham if there isn't a pay off somewhere and as the lottery contract business the Post is so hot over
    shows he actively inculcates himself into situations so that he can get a pay off.

    It is long past time to investigate all the dirty business that is Jim Graham from looting the Whitman Walker Clinic to looting the city. Graham is by far the most corrupt person in public life in DC.

  • NE John

    Jim Graham should be in jail and forced to serve Ted Loza's sexual needs for the rest of his life. Hell is hell, and it's a bitch too.

  • Holdadice

    @NE J #8: Wouldn't that mimic Aesop's Fable about B'rer Rabbit and the briar patch? Also, 'tis often said, "One man's Hell is another man's Heaven."

    SNOWBALLS?? ....Nahh!!

  • Typical DC BS

    Jim Graham is just smarter than HTJ at covering his tracks and a little less greedy. Everybody but his idiotic constituents know he should not be reelected. Would love to see him next being hounded by the US Attorney General.