Investigation Forced Resignation of Deputy Mayor Falcicchio
By March 20, 2023 0 924•
Last Friday, Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio suddenly resigned his two positions in D.C. government.
He was arguably the second most powerful person in D.C.’s executive branch, serving as Chief of Staff to Mayor Muriel Bowser and Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. He was widely admired.
The mayor unexpectedly announced Falcicchio’s successors on the afternoon of March 17 — new Chief of Staff Lindsey V. Parker and Interim Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Keith Anderson.
Bowser’s only mention of her longtime aide and confidant was in the last words of the March 17 press release: “We also thank Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio for his years of service to the District as he transitions to the private sector.”
No further explanation was offered at the time, and speculation among District politicos went wild over the weekend. “Something happened on that Cherry Blossom Festival bus …” “Maybe shady business dealings, given John’s authority over city contracts …” “He flipped out over …”
Today, after a press conference outside in downtown, celebrating and answering “on topic” questions about the new protected bike lane along 9th Street NW and the investment of 700 next generation e-bikes in partnership with Capital Bikeways and Lyft, Bowser turned to discuss the departure of John Falcicchio.
At the podium to answer “off topic” questions, Bowser introduced Vanessa Natale, Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office of Legal Counsel. Bowser said that office would be handling the matter and that all questions regarding Falcicchio’s resignation should be directed there. The investigation is being headed by MOLC Director Eugene Adams.
In answering reporters’ questions, Bowser or Natale confirmed the following during the March 20 press conference.
Falcicchio turned in his resignation on Friday, after he was informed of an ongoing investigation.
Bowser was “first instructed” about an investigation on Thursday afternoon by her lawyers.
The allegations involve “a sensitive matter that includes privacy concerns.”
The findings of the investigation involving such matters will not be made public, but there may be some areas that can be reported once the full report is complete.
The investigative report will be reported to the office of the inspector general, if it involves criminal matters.
The reason for Falcicchio’s resignation does not involve other D.C. government employees.
The allegations do not involve any impropriety of business (dealings) with the city. When pressed to explain what she meant by “business,” Bowser said that the allegations have “nothing to do with transactions or contracts in any way with any of the many businesses which the D.C. Office of Planning and Development is involved.
The matter had nothing to do with Falcicchio’s unique role as both a deputy mayor and chief of staff.
The mayor will be making additional announcements about personnel within the week.
How far back the investigation goes will depend on what it found.
Bowser would not comment if the allegations involved sexual misconduct. She repeated the need for privacy and confidentiality — “and that is all I can say.”
Bowser also said the allegations had nothing to do with the purported Cherry Blossom Festival promotional bus trip Falcicchio and other D.C. employees took from Boston to New York and back to Washington a couple of weeks ago.
The mayor would not comment on her feelings about the situation that involves her “right hand man.”
The following is an official statement released by the Office of the Mayor upon Falcicchio’s resignation.
“As you are aware, last week John Falcicchio departed from the D.C. government. I know you have many questions, but please understand that as this is a sensitive matter that includes privacy concerns, we will not be able to discuss it any further. However, I am able to say that the circumstances of his departure led me to initiate an investigation. The legal counsel’s office is leading the investigation, following established policies and procedures. I have made it clear that my expectation is that all staff will cooperate fully with this investigation.
“I can also tell you that this investigation does not involve any allegations of improprieties related to business transactions. There is no reason for our important work on behalf of the residents of the District of Columbia to slow down. I have every confidence in my new Chief of Staff, Lindsey Parker, and in our Interim Deputy Mayor, Keith Anderson, and in the 37,000 employees of D.C. Government to keep us moving ahead.”
Senior correspondent Peggy Sands contributed to this report. Read her 2022 interview with John Falcicchio here.