Within weeks of Gray becoming mayor, Swain received an e-mail instructing him to report to City Administrator Allen Lew. That’s when Swain got the news that he was out.
Confirming that Gray had delivered on a pledge to fire Swain if elected, Larry Frankel, a cab driver and organizer of the Small Business Association of DC Taxicab Drivers, told The Post’s Mike DeBonis, “We’re glad that the mayor finally completed a promise he made to us.”
Asked this week to comment on Swain’s firing, Pedro Ribeiro provided this statement on behalf of Gray: “When the decision whether to reappoint Mr. Swain was made, the full story of his courageous acts on behalf of the District was unknown. We are grateful for his service. However, at that time, Mayor Gray wished to accelerate modernization of the District’s outdated taxicab industry and determined that new leadership was appropriate.”
It should be noted that The Post reported on April 2, 2010 — six months before the city’s Democratic primary, in which the mayoral race was effectively decided — that Swain had alerted federal authorities to a bribery attempt and was cooperating with their investigation into the taxi industry. Even earlier, in October 2009, Washington City Paper reported that Swain’s actions had made the case.
The administration’s faulty memory notwithstanding, an honest and courageous public servant was kicked to the curb without so much as a formal recognition of his service.
Our illustrious D.C. Council has found time over the years to pass ceremonial resolutions galore, commemorating such weighty matters as a downtown delicatessen’s anniversary, a pastor’s longevity, an elementary school graduation, a council member’s favorite retired teacher and a local musician unknown to millions.
Yet it can’t find a moment for Leon Swain Jr.
Now what does that tell you?
Correction: My March 24 column, “A boon for landowners, a bust for D.C.,” gave the wrong address for land owned by D.C. developer Douglas Jemal that could become part of an eminent domain proceeding. The property is at 1620 South Capitol St. and Half Street.