Wednesday, June 25, 2008

IRS Employee Arrested in DC Tax Scam Scandal

This link to footage from local NBC television station, WRC shows the "perp walk" of Robert and Patricia Stephen, allegedly part of a ring that stole more than $20 million in DC property taxes. Ten people allegedly in the ring have been arrested so far--but to date DC's Chief Financial Officer, Natwar M. Gandhi, has neither resigned in disgrace nor been fired by DC's new Mayor, Adrian M. Fenty...

Ironically, Gandhi was 2007 Governing Magazine award-winner for "Public Official of the Year." Alan Greenblatt's blurb was headlined: "Natwar M. Gandhi: Fiscal Guardian." Here's what Greenblatt said:
Natwar Gandhi knows how to make red ink turn to black. This spring, he was approached by Amtrak, which hoped to lure him to erase an enormous deficit as he had already done as chief financial officer for Washington, D.C. City officials did everything they could think of to keep Gandhi in his current position, including boosting his salary by nearly $100,000. And this money maestro, who arrived in America from India 40 years ago with $7 in his pocket, chose to stay put.

What makes Gandhi worth such big bucks is the fact that he has come to embody fiscal rectititude in Washington, a city that a dozen years ago faced a $518 million deficit and came close to bankruptcy. "He is really an indispensable person for the District," says Mark Plotkin, a local radio commentator. "He has maintained fiscal integrity, and that wasn't the case for the District before."