City Paper is not for tourists
“Snitches get stitches”—-such was the mantra Harriette Walters used to effect a massive fraud on D.C. taxpayers over a 20-year span.
That’s among the juicier revelations contained in the 122-page report that caps an yearlong investigation commissioned by the D.C. Council and performed pro bono by law firm WilmerHale and accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. The report details massive failures in oversight and the existence of a “dysfunctional work environment” at the Office of Tax and Revenue.
The text of the report and highlights thereof to come.
UPDATE, 1:44 P.M.: A PDF of the report is available.
Here’s what the report has to say about the “dysfunctional work environment” at OTR:
Many offices within the OCFO are beset by what might be described as a “culture of silence.” In a nutshell, employees seem to have entered into an implicit compact not to question others’ work, lest their own work be scrutinized. This culture of silence created an environment in which Walters could process real property tax refunds with little interference from her coworkers and managers. There were a number of indications suggesting that something was amiss in the Adjustment Unit, not the least of which was Walters’ extravagant generosity toward co-workers. But no one spoke up, raised a question, or considered whether such generosity was appropriate. An anecdote perhaps explains the silence: when one senior OCFO manager asked his assistant, after the discovery of the fraud, why no one reported the misconduct of members of the Adjustment Unit, she responded: “snitches get stitches.” When asked, during her interview, what she would have done if she had discovered a scheme similar to hers, Walters said she would not report misconduct of another Union employee.