CFO Hearing, Round 1
A D.C. Council panel's probe into Chief Financial Officer Nat Gandhi's tax office is on a five-hour pause while the Washington Nationals play the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round of the playoffs. When they return, Gandhi will have a chance to defend himself after taking some shots this morning from several councilmembers who say Gandhi is captain of the S.S. Dysfunction.
"What is going on in that office?" asked Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, who says it's clear that there is something "deeply wrong" within the bowls of the OCFO. Gandhi was reappointed to a third term this summer, which makes LL wonder if all this attention from the council comes a little too late; his office is currently the subject of two separate FBI probes.
One major issue: whether Gandhi tried to conceal internal reports showing continued security problems at the Office of Tax and Revenue after Hariette Walters got popped in 2007 for stealing $50 million there.
This morning's star witness was William DiVello, who up until last week headed Gandhi's internal affairs unit called the Office of Integrity and Oversight. DiVello abruptly quit last week after complaining that Gandhi and his staff were pressuring him to keep critical audits in draft form so that they wouldn't be available for public disclosure.
Gandhi's office has said that's not true, but we'll have to wait until 5 p.m. to get into the meat of that denial. Gandhi doesn't specifically address DiVello's allegations in his forthcoming testimony, a copy of which was provided to reporters by his spokesman. Though the CFO does say: "If I were interested in hiding problems, I would not have created the [OIO] and continued to use and support it."
In the meantime, Councilmember David Catania offers his own theory: that Gandhi's hope of being reappointed this summer would have been "devastated" by any reports showing disarray in the tax office post-Walters.
DiVello declined to comment on Catania's speculation. LL will update with what Gandhi has to say when the baseball game is over.
Screenshot via Channel 13