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D.C. mayor stands by troubled CFO

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Local,DC,Liz Farmer

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said he had no regrets about reappointing the city's longtime chief financial officer this summer, even in the wake of yet another employee theft and a federal inquiry into the office.

"I don't have any reservations at all," Gray told NewsTalk 8 host Bruce DePuyt on Thursday, adding that he talked to CFO Natwar Gandhi on as recently as Wednesday.

The verbal support came two days after an Office of Tax and Revenue employee was charged in federal court for helping to steal more than $300,000 from city taxpayers, the same day news broke of a Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry into the office. A spokesman for the CFO has said internal auditors caught irregularities with tax refunds filed by Control Technician Kimberle Davis and referred the case to the U.S. Attorney last year.

The rough day followed a week in which the D.C. Council, which has become increasingly critical of Gandhi this year, unanimously voted to require him to publish all internal audits conducted by his office. Previously, those audits had only circulated in Gandhi's office and were available to council members upon request.

When asked about the increased scrutiny, Gray told DePuyt Thursday he thought the pressure from council was more about transparency than a criticism of Gandhi.

"I think frankly, when you look at results ... the findings are really more germane to the office itself," Gray said. "In the absence of [publicized audits] people speculate that information is being hidden ... I don't think that's the case."

lfarmer@washingtonexaminer.com

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