The chronicles of the past week can't omit the big DC tax department scandal, in which it is alleged that the supervisor of the property tax rebate program plus several henchpersons and assorted relatives and friends made off with (in the latest guesstimate) more than $31 million in DC funds. It's the biggest crime of its kind in DC history. The funds made their way into the defendants' bank accounts by way of property tax rebates to phony companies (the DC program for rebating property taxes having been personally designed by the supervisor). Less than $10 million has been accounted for. A raid on the accused supervisor's home revealed a treasure trove including a mink coat, designer purses, something like 68 pairs of shoes, a Mercedes in the garage, and fancy sterling and Faberge items that my mother would call "knick knacks"--but that's all small potatoes compared with the total haul. The woman's purchases at the local Saks 5th Avenue were something like $1.4 million on an annual salary of $81,000, but nobody noticed anything odd about that. Not in this town.
As a resident of this area for more than 10 years, I can't say I'm surprised. Not to point any fingers or anything, but dealing with the people in the DC government, including and especially the property tax department, hasn't always been an edifying experience. Back in the day, if you had to call someone with a question about your property tax, you'd get a loooooong voice mail reply asking you to call back and leave your name, number, and a brief description of your problem. Then the spiel would end with an unctious "Have a blessed day!"
I always felt that if they really wanted to us to have a blessed day, they would have answered the phones.
Anyway, that was how it was until Anthony Williams became mayor. Under Mayor Williams, the DC government employees began to answer their phones in person. Progress!!
Mayor Williams is gone, however, and his successor, Adrian Fenty, has to tame the wild beast of local government.
Maybe Mayor Fenty can get them to keep on answering the phones and stop stealing us blind!!
Slow and steady wins the race here in DC.