- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 11, 2002

The hubris of Saamir Kaiser was impressive, even by the limited standards of a city unable to pick up a phone to check the veracity of its job applicants.

You invented the wheel and printing press? No problem. Tell it to the city. The city believes anything, as long the lie is on an official-looking resume.

Kaiser told a couple of good ones to the city before living the part.

One of his stunning purchases with city funds was a Mercedes-Benz. He might as well have bought a neon sign to go with it.

Kaiser apparently figured he deserved it. Maybe the new-car smell made him feel whole. Maybe it fit his status as a legal star with the Office of the Chief Financial Officer. He could not be seen in a Saturn or some other middle-class vehicle. Are you kidding? What would the masses think?

When Kaiser pulled up to a stop sign in his Mercedes-Benz, people moved closer to be at one with his aura. He was that kind of guy, one of the beacons of the city, and a new Mercedes-Benz was just one of his rewards. The city was fortunate to have him.

You could tell by the credentials on his resume. He claimed to hold a law degree from Cambridge University and to have been an honors student at George Washington University.

Didn't you know? Haven't you heard? They still discuss Kaiser's vast intellectual capacity in Foggy Bottom. He was the sharpest student ever with a 2.57 grade-point average. He could have been anything, so the story goes. He could have been a doctor, a scientist, the next Stephen Hawking.

In Kaiser's world, in his mind, he was special, so terribly special. He was one of a kind. You can say that again.

Alas, in typical Washington fashion, no one ever bothered to check Kaiser's make-believe credentials, not even with a local call to GWU.

It seems Kaiser could have claimed to have discovered a cure for cancer in his resume, and some bureaucrat would have noted it in a press release to tout his hiring as an important city employee.

No, Kaiser did not have a law degree, much less a license to practice law. Not that anyone in the city ever noticed, perhaps because Kaiser was so good at pretending to be who he wasn't.

Incredible as it is, Kaiser always was being promoted. He would show up to a new office, perhaps utter a few lines he memorized from an old episode of "Perry Mason," and the person above him would say, "Darn, this guy is too good. Guess we'll have to promote him again before the year is out if we want to keep him happy."

It is bad enough the city has come down with an epidemic of unqualified frauds. It is worse if the city repeatedly promotes an unqualified fraud in a specialized field such as law. What does that say beyond the blind leading the blind?

Maybe it says Kaiser was a pretty good impostor. He knew how to use city funds to cover his material wants. Give him that. It is against the law to treat yourself to $248,105 in city funds, but knowledge of the law was Kaiser's first lie.

By the way, how was your honeymoon? Did you take pictures? Could we see them, please, just you and the Mrs. having a good old time? Was it worth $8,005 in city funds?

Kaiser was not a lawyer. He just played one in the city, and a good one at that until he learned he was the subject of an investigation in January and resigned. The city accepted it as a favor. If not, he probably would have been promoted again.

As a convicted liar and thief, Kaiser is slated to spend a little more time on the public dole in a minimum-security prison, though no more than 30 months as part of his plea agreement.

He won't be able to motor around in his Mercedes-Benz in his new digs. However, he will be free to tell all the lies he likes to his new friends. Why, he can tell everyone it was a minor misunderstanding, the price of being on the occupational fast-track in the big city.

He was somebody in Washington, a fast-rising lawyer in a city stuffed with lawyers. Who knows? At his pace, he probably could have run for mayor one day.

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