District Department of Transportation project manager Ali Shakeri shuffled into court today at D.C. Superior Court, his hands and feet bound with chains.
“What the fuck?” said one young woman sitting behind LL, apparently not expecting to see a middle-aged man in a button-down shirt and slacks mixed in with the other suspects in arraignment court. Shakeri was eventually released, with a hearing date for July.
Shakeri’s criminal predicament is unusual, even by District government scandal standards. Arrested yesterday by agents from the Office of the Inspector General at DDOT’s M Street NW office, the project manager for agency projects in Wards 5 and 6 is accused of failing to disclose $170,000 of outside income on his ethics board financial disclosure forms.
But the charges against Shakeri—two misdemeanor counts of making a false statement—don’t suggest yet that there was anything otherwise illicit about the payments. In a March interview with OIG investigators, Shakeri claimed that he thought he didn’t disclose the payments because the companies he took money from don’t do business with the city.
“We’re kind of befuddled why this is being pressed,” Shakeri’s attorney Jason Ehrenburg said.
Court files name the eight sources of Shakeri’s outside income as PM Productions, Paddock Swimming Pool Company, Cumes Builders Inc., 1815 Adams Mill Road LLC, Architectural Design Services, Kennedy Partners, Behrouz Rahmi, and J.C. Builders. DDOT didn’t respond to LL’s request for comment about whether Shakeri, who earned more than $150,000 a year from the agency, still works there.