So, the biggest corruption scandal in city history was even worse than what was originally announced. The 16 million dollars that was stolen has since doubled. $31,700,000.00 has been stolen in a scam that stretches back to Saint Natwar Gandhi's tenure as Deputy Chief Financial Officer for Tax and Revenue.
To get an idea of the scale of this scam, think of this: Of all the real estate tax refunds issued by the city in the past three years, over half of them were phony. Why did it take a bank teller in Bowie to notice something so obvious?
Chief Financial Officer Gandhi asked for the resignation of the people who signed or failed to notice the phony refund checks when news of the scandal broke. It turns out that this operation has been going since at least 1999. Guess who was signing the checks back then.
I'm a little torn on what to think here. Gandhi, by all accounts, has been a great asset to this city. His careful control of the District's budget has greatly improved the city's finances and bond rating. Losing his services would be a pretty substantial risk.
Or would it? The last week has proven that Gandhi isn't nearly as competent as we previously thought. And, frankly, I want some more heads to roll. When you're signing more than one fraudulent check for every legitimate refund check, the problem is unbelievably severe.
Gandhi set the correct precedent when he demanded the resignations of his check-signing inferiors at the Office of Tax and Revenue. Gandhi should follow through on that standard by resigning himself. There is no excuse for such massive incompetence. $31,700,000 isn't peanuts. It's time for him to go.