- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 7, 2004

A former fiscal operations administrator for the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency has filed a federal lawsuit accusing city officials of firing him after he uncovered mismanagement and fraud.

Allan Long says city officials used an “accounting slight of hand” to cover up a multimillion-dollar deficit at the agency.

In court papers filed in U.S. District Court on Aug. 27, Mr. Long accuses the agency of overstating its federal revenue by $12 million in its 2001 budget.

The purpose, he said, was to “mislead Congress into believing that the troubled agency had financially reformed itself.”

Mr. Long’s complaint calls the situation as “an underhanded attempt to demonstrate the agency’s new fiscal responsibility and success at cost cutting,” when in reality the agency has been mired in debt.

The Child and Family Services Agency has been among the most troubled agencies in D.C. government in the past decade. It is under court supervision after being placed under federal receivership in 1995. The agency is charged with overseeing the District’s foster care system.

Child and Family Services officials did not respond to inquiries about the lawsuit yesterday. City attorneys have not filed a formal response.

An independent audit of city finances in January by KPMG LLP did not report any overstatement of federal funds by the city agency.

Mr. Long’s attorney, Kevin E. Byrnes of Alexandria, yesterday referred all questions about the case to the 11-page complaint that he filed on Mr. Long’s behalf.

Mr. Long’s lawsuit says the $12 million overstatement “was part of a large effort to remove both federal receivership of the agency and the congressionally sponsored Control Board that ran municipal government for the city. … The point of this misrepresentation was to falsely state that the District of Columbia government and the [Child and Family Services Agency] in particular had succeeded in cutting costs.”

Mr. Long’s supervisors told him that the decision not to correct the accounting was a result of “following the party line,” the lawsuit says.

Mr. Long also said that Child and Family Services Agency officials “refused to address or investigate the issue concerning the budget misrepresentation.” Removal of the “dummy posting” of $12 million in the agency’s budget would have revealed a multimillion-dollar deficit at the Child and Family Services Agency, the lawsuit says.

Mr. Long was fired in August 2003. In the lawsuit, he seeks reinstatement to his former job, back pay, legal fees and unspecified damages.

The lawsuit names as defendants Mayor Anthony A. Williams; Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi; Olivia A. Golden, director of Child and Family Services; and Diane Camilleri, director of the D.C. Office of Management and Administration.

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