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Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham has relinquished his oversight of the District’s taxicab industry.
The move comes more than a month after his chief of staff, Ted Loza, was collared in a bribery sting where taxi-related interests are alleged to have paid Loza to influence cab legislation. Graham has had the D.C. Taxicab Commission under the purview of his public works and transportation committee since 2007, giving him great control over legislation affecting the taxi business, as well as the power to investigate the industry.
The timing, to say the least is odd. Both Graham and Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray came under fire from LL and others for not making this move sooner. And, earlier this month, the pressure had eased on Graham after federal prosecutors decided not to interview a pair of key staffers before a grand jury
“Though I have committed no crime, nor am I reportedly the target of any investigation, I want to ensure that Taxicab Commission oversight continues without any distractions relating to the Ted Loza indictment,” Graham wrote in a letter released to the press this afternoon.
Graham spokesperson Brian DeBose says his boss “had been planning on doing this for a week now or more.” The issue was, who would take over the responsibilities? Gray, who has defended Graham’s right to keep taxis in his portfolio, “wasn’t part of the decision to step down. That was totally Jim’s decision.”
All taxi matters will be handled until further notice by Gray’s Committee of the Whole.