- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 19, 2009


Obama appointee shoplifted 4 shirts

Now it can be told: The mysterious petty theft that President Obama’s new computer chief committed at age 21 was shoplifting four dress shirts worth $134 from J.C. Penney.

A 1996 Montgomery County police report obtained by the Associated Press on Wednesday under a public records law shows Vivek Kundra was observed by a security guard putting the men’s shirts into a shopping bag and leaving the store without paying. Sgt. Tom Stanton wrote that Mr. Kundra was arrested after a brief foot chase and the property was recovered.

Mr. Kundra pleaded guilty, paid a $100 fine and $55 in court fees and was ordered to do 80 hours of community service. The White House has called it a “youthful indiscretion” long ago resolved.

District to fire 23 contractors

The fallout continues from last week’s FBI raid on the D.C. technology office and the arrests of two men on corruption charges.

D.C. Attorney General Peter J. Nickles told WTOP Radio on Wednesday that the city is planning to terminate 23 contractors involved with the office.

The decision comes after the arrests last Thursday of acting chief security officer Yusuf Acar and technology consultant Sushil Bansal.

The men defrauded the city through various schemes, including billing D.C. for items that were never delivered and “ghost” contract employees who did not work, authorities say.

An FBI affidavit indicates several other businesses and individuals were involved in the purported schemes, but they were not identified.



State gets funds for senior meals

Virginia is getting more than $2.2 million in federal funds to help programs that provide meals to low-income seniors.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. announced the funding from the stimulus package Wednesday.

The state will distribute the funding to meals programs at senior centers and other community sites, and to programs that provide home-delivered meals.



Mayor proposes layoffs, other cuts

Mayor Sheila Dixon is considering laying off as many as 153 city employees to plug a $65 million budget deficit.

Mrs. Dixon, a Democrat, announced her budget proposal Wednesday. Besides the layoffs, 374 vacant positions would be eliminated.

She also plans to close three city swimming pools and three community centers. Hours would be reduced at libraries in the city.

Mrs. Dixon is not proposing tax increases but wants to increase the municipal water rate by 9 percent.

The mayor’s budget plan assumes that the City Council will adopt her proposal to reduce trash pickup to once a week while increasing recycling to once a week.

The police department would get a slight increase in funding, including $7.5 million for overtime.


Oversight sought on strip searches

Delegate Christopher B. Shank, Washington County Republican, is proposing a bill in the 2009 General Assembly session for closer oversight of strip searches to check prison workers for contraband.

The bill by would require the state’s Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to report each search to the state attorney general within 14 days.

In addition, the agency would have to compile the documents into annual reports to the Assembly.

The bill follows fruitless strip-searches of nine workers at the medium-security Maryland Correctional Training Center near Hagerstown in August, and three workers at the Eastern Correctional Institution near Westover in October.

Some workers said they were humiliated, and prison managers acknowledged they had made mistakes.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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