D.C. investigator abused disabled parking

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Local,DC,Alan Blinder

A criminal investigator who works for the District's chief financial officer was one of the city employees who used parking placards meant for disabled motorists, people familiar with the probe told The Washington Examiner.

The individuals, who insisted on anonymity to discuss a personnel matter, identified the employee as Donna Tolliver, a senior criminal investigator in the CFO's Office of Integrity and Oversight, the agency's internal affairs division.

City records show that Tolliver, who did not respond Monday to repeated requests for comment, has worked for the District since 1998 and makes more than $94,000 a year.

But District officials said that employment could soon end after the city's inspector general found that Tolliver repeatedly used her husband's disability placard to take advantage of parking spaces reserved for the handicapped.

"The ... employee improperly used a Maryland disability placard issued to another person to obtain special parking privileges," Inspector General Charles Willoughby wrote in the confidential report first obtained by The Washington Examiner last week.

In a March interview with investigators, Tolliver said she used the permit for parking at work up to 15 times a month for a year without her husband in the vehicle. She attributed her decisions to "bad judgment," according to Willoughby's report.

David Umansky, a spokesman for CFO Natwar Gandhi, would not say Monday whether Tolliver is still working for the agency.

"We take this finding and the [inspector general's] recommendation very seriously," Umansky said in an email. "This matter is currently under review."

Along with Tolliver, Willoughby's office also found that an employee of the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs abused disabled parking placards.

Though Gandhi has won wide praise for his management of the city's finances, Tolliver's scrape with investigators is but the latest personnel headache for the CFO this year.

Earlier this year, the District's chief tax appraiser resigned after allegations surfaced that he had lied on his resume.

And in October, federal prosecutors charged another Gandhi employee with helping to swindle taxpayers out of more than $300,000.

Gandhi's hiring practices were the subject of scrutiny well before the recent questions about Tony George and Kimberle Davis. Early in Gandhi's tenure, his general counsel resigned after a review found that Saamir Kaiser "held neither a law degree nor a license to practice law." Kaiser later pleaded guilty to federal charges, including a count of mail fraud for stealing about $248,000 from the District.

Tolliver played a role in investigating other personnel problems within Gandhi's office, federal and city records show, including a 2008 scam to produce fraudulent income tax refunds.

She was also an investigator during the probe of Harriette Walters, the Office of Tax and Revenue employee who embezzled $48 million.

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

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Alan Blinder

Staff Reporter, D.C. City Hall
The Washington Examiner