Gandhi makes pre-emptive pitch to stay amid D.C. political turmoil

“I find this personally insulting and offensive for following reasons,” he continues, before laying out a detailed argument in bullet points to refute charges of corruption that threaten to tarnish his office.

Mr. Gandhi goes on to deny any federal probe of his office, apparently in response to the recent news that the FBI has spoken to a former procurement officer, Eric Payne, who has alleged in a wrongful-firing suit that the lottery contract was fraught with illegal interference by Mr. Gandhi and various officials, including Mr. Gray and council members Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat, and Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat.

“We have not been notified, in writing, verbally or by any other means, that I am the target of investigation by the FBI or other law enforcement authorities,” Mr. Gandhi wrote. “If you have evidence of such an investigation or wrongdoing, you have a responsibility to bring this information to the attention of your readers and law enforcement. Otherwise, it is irresponsible of you to suggest there is an investigation or misconduct by me, and it is equally irresponsible to connect my reappointment to a federal investigation [that] has nothing to do with me or my office.”

Mr. Gandhi then defends his office’s award of the lottery contract, which was the subject of an investigation by the D.C. Office of the Inspector General that led to the death of a legislative proposal pushed by at-large independent council member Michael A. Brown to make the District of Columbia the first online gambling jurisdiction in the country, and that exposed the minority contractor of Greek gaming vendor Intralot as having received an invalid business certification during the procurement and contract approval process.

He also defends his decision to fire the former procurement officer who has alleged in federal court that he tried to resist efforts by Mr. Gandhi and his political bosses to interfere in a lawfully executed contract award.

“Despite attempts to link his termination with politically charged issues in the District, the simple truth is that Eric Payne was terminated because of his poor performance issues as manager of the OCFO Contracts Office,” Mr. Gandhi wrote. “One might ask why Mr. Payne’s first attorney abruptly quit the case and why the testimony delivered under oath in the depositions has produced no hard evidence — other than his allegations of what took place in meetings and conversations where he was not present — of political pressure to award the contract to a specific firm.

“Finally, I wonder why you so uncritically accept Payne’s statements and so abruptly dismiss what I and others in my office have to say. Frankly these ad hominem attacks on me are what I would not expect from some one of your distinguished reputation.

“If you wish, I would be pleased to discuss this matter further with you. Nat Gandhi.”

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