Dear, Dr. Gandhi, You're the Best! Love, Harriette
When you're an employee secretly stealing from the company -- in this case, the District of Columbia government -- you probably learn a few good survival tips. So it was with former tax office manager Harriette Walters, the mastermind of the $48 million embezzlement scheme that rocked the office of Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi last year. As detailed in numerous reports--including an independent review by WilmerHale released this week--Walters coopted friends into the scheme by loaning them money and got co-workers to look the other way by showering them with gifts.
Now comes evidence of Walters's wiley ways with the big boss, Gandhi. An email uncovered by the Washington Post's Dan Keating in an open records request shows Walters doing her best to butter up her boss and stay on his good side. The email was written by Walters on April 20, 2007, about seven months before federal authorities busted up her fraud scheme. Walters was responding to an email Gandhi sent to the entire CFO cluster of more than 1,000 employees, informing them that he had decided to turn down a job offer from Amtrak and remain in city government.
Walters responds with an upbeat thank you to Gandhi for "keeping us inform [sic] of a decision that would have impacted the employees within the CFO Cluster." She goes on, with more embarassingly poor grammar, and Gandhi writes back, telling her to "Keep up the good work."
Ironically, the large pay raise Gandhi was promised by city leaders to keep him from Amtrak never came to pass. Congress failed to ratify it after the scandal was made public.
See the full exchange of emails here. (Read from the bottom email up.)
David A Nakamura
December 18, 2008; 12:30 PM ET
Categories: City Finances
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