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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Odor of corruption in Gray’s camp

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The administration of D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray is rightly coming under scrutiny for some seemingly unsavory hiring practices and shady individuals who find themselves on the payroll ("Aware of felony, Gray gave job to D.C. campaign worker," Page 1, Wednesday).

When confronted about employee Cherita Whiting, a convicted felon who is paid $65,000 annually and works for the Department of Parks and Recreation, everyone in Mr. Gray's administration seems to be playing dodge ball by feigning ignorance, passing the buck or flat-out refusing to provide direct answers. Now that the cat is officially out of the bag and in the press, everyone seems to be scrambling to say - and not say - the right things.

Ms. Whiting's reputation for being well connected to high-ranking individuals in Washington seems to be making some quake in their boots. It makes you wonder what she may be holding over some heads as political leverage.

It is apparent that Ms. Whiting did not openly disclose her criminal record, and for those who may have been aware of it, they quietly shoved it under the rug. Even her former employer revealed that she failed to disclose her criminal history.

D.C. Councilman Phil Mendelson failed to investigate a packet of information provided to him about Ms. Whiting's record. When questioned, his reply was that she was "already on board" and that he didn't consider "extraneous documents." Mr. Mendelson knows better, and his actions are insulting to the public.

For her own selfish purposes, Ms. Whiting deliberately did not disclose her criminal history. Those who knew about it let it slide, and those who didn't failed to ask. Something is indeed rotten in Washington.

KAREN L. BUNE

Arlington, Va.

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