Today in Totally Nuts I Give You The Case of the Nanny, Visitor Parking Passes and the Pentagon Spokesperson

Photo by PoPville flickr user fromcaliw/love

Local newspaper, The Washington Post has the insane details:

“After handing over the [license] plates to police and being charged with three counts of misdemeanor theft, Whitman, 58, agreed to a deal on Tuesday that would lead to the case’s dismissal if he pays $1,000 in restitution, performs 32 hours of community service, remains out of trouble for the next 10 months, and stays away both from the nanny and the woman for whom she works.

The strange series of events could be viewed as the latest example of the District’s perpetual parking wars, except residents say parking isn’t a problem on their streets and that many babysitters use the visitor passes.

The couple soon realized that Whitman is their neighbor. He lives just around the corner.”

You gotta read the whole story.

85 Comment

  • Wish I could have been a fly on the wall when the police showed up at his door and he had to tell his wife what was going on.

    “The police “asked whether he wanted to provide the license plates to MPD or have the officers search for the items,” the charging documents say. “The suspect consulted his wife and then [said] that the license plates were in his vehicle.””

    • Hahaha +1 I can’t imagine my mild mannered husband coming into the kitchen and explaining “So hun… you know that nanny around the corner…”

  • He clearly has some sort of mental deficiency. Makes you question the promotion and clearance processes at the pentagon for sure.

    • That is what I thought because it sounded so obsessive and weird. Some problems do develop later in life and smart people can hide thir issues. The do need to evaluate him now that this came out though.

      • Yep, some of the commenters on the Post article were speculating that behavior like this could indicate the onset of dementia… which made me feel a little sorry for the guy.

      • binntp

        Yes, there could be something beyond general jackassery here. Growing up, we had a mild-mannered older neighbor who was arrested for keying and graffiting cars with pro-life stickers on them. They later discovered that he had developed a medication-induced psychosis, and he was horrified when he realized what he’d done.

      • This may very well be true – colloquially, he’s getting a little nuts in his old age. However, we’re pretty quick to provide that excuse to middle-class white people. A 20-somethign black man who did something similar wouldn’t get, “I wonder what’s wrong with him?” – he’d get “He’s a thug, and he’ll always be a thug.” Just sayin’.

        • Smilla

          +1 million. Great point.

        • Very, very good point!!! Plus, ho knows if this is new behavior or just the first time he’s been caught?

        • This argument is a little spurious. People are providing an excuse because of his age. Saying a “20-something black man” is poor comparison and looks like you’re trying to perceive a racial issue when there isn’t one here. If the person in the story was a 20-something white man, I doubt people would be jumping to his defense.

        • If it were a 20 something year old person, people probably wouldnt say he was getting a little nuts in his old age – no matter his race. “Just sayin'”

        • HaileUnlikely

          I agree with this. I generally like to give people the benefit of the doubt and would rather think he was mental than that he was performing criminal acts deliberately, but it strikes me as overwhelmingly unlikely that he would receive the same benefit of the doubt from most here were he not a white-collar professional.
          More realistically, I wonder if he has some sort of unreported substance abuse problem.

        • This man is, without a doubt, a thug. He might be an aging thug struggling with early onset dementia, but this is pretty much the definition of “thug” behavior. To your point regarding race, have you missed all the folks trying to explain the reasoning for why underdeveloped “youths” shouldn’t be charged as adults when committing adult crimes? Opposite side of the age spectrum, but same idea.

          • I’m sure this behavior isn’t what comes to mind when I think of a “thug.” Passive aggresively leaving notes and stealing license plates is not “thuggery.” Threatening or inflicting bodily harm to the nanny would be thug-type behavior…just sayin’

        • You are totally correct about that.

        • And I wonder how many times the cops go to a 20-something black man’s house and say, “Good day sir. Would you be so kind as to retrieve the items you stole so that we might not enter your abode?” Sheesh.

        • He simply sounds like a passive-aggressive DC resident. The city is full of them. He sounds like a bit of a tool and creepy. Doesn’t sound like any mental illness at all.

          Unless late onset passive aggressive tendencies brought upon by living in DC counts as a mental illness ow.

        • +1 to “it strikes me as overwhelmingly unlikely that he would receive the same benefit of the doubt from most here were he not a white-collar professional.”

    • DC is full of individuals with this personality type. While both humorous and troubling at the same time, this story is not surprising to me in the least.

  • I read this story yesterday and just thought, “man between the poop and this, WTF is going on in DC?” But seriously this dude has a special kind of issues. Harassing the freaking nanny?!

    • Nevermind that this guy isn’t home during the day for the parking to MATTER! He has his own parking space at the Pentagon!

      • But all the incidents happened on weekdays over the span of a few weeks during the daytime (i.e., when the nanny was working).
        It sounds like he was committing telecommuting fraud if he was patrolling for VPP’s during the day. This is what they will use to nail him to the wall.
        Any interesting things you can tell us about this guy? Was he this weird in the office?

        • Ehh, he could’ve been doing his VPP mischief during lunch breaks.

          • Lunch breaks? Someone at his level in the PNT doesn’t get lunch breaks in my experience. Also, in this role you would need to be at the PNT pretty much every day. Meetings on meetings on meetings with a side of MEETINGS!

        • To get him for telecommuting fraud, they’d probably need evidence that he was doing this on a regular basis, not just a couple of times.
          My guess is that he’ll be either strongly encouraged to resign, or be placed on administrative leave while being investigated. By the time the investigation is over, the press won’t be paying attention to the result.

  • Before I even read the actual story, I said to myself, “Self, this could only happen on Capitol Hill.”

    • You refer to yourself in third person as “self”? Please tell me you don’t hold any meaningful clearance?

    • Actually, this can and does happen all over the city, particularly in neighborhoods where parking is more of an issue. Disputes about improper use of a VPP, an out-of-state- car that parks on the block every night taking up a space that could be used by a resident, a neighbor parking a car in front of someone else’s house for an extended period of time, putting chairs or cones in front of a house to reserve the spot for the owner, complaints about someone having a dedicated handicapped parking spot in front of their house . . . There is no end to the kinds of parking issues that happen all over DC.

      • Quite frankly, if the US government wants to prove to the country why DC doesn’t deserve states rights, all it has to do is highlight this here comment.* Aside from the cone thing – which I quite frankly once worked around that by *gasp* moving the cone – none of those issues are of importance. Dedicated handicapped spots are of importance if someone needs it. And if you have to walk an additional block to your house because there are no spots – whether due to too many people having cars or an out of towner spending the night – then I have the smallest violin to play for you.

        *obviously joking.

        • For the person who seriously thinks this…if we’re going to prevent DC’s statehood on this basis, or similar frivolity, PA and MA better be on the list to be stripped of state’s rights, because people in Philly, Pittsburgh, and Boston will cut a bitch if you move their parking chair.

          • And Maryland. Do not mess with a Baltimorean’s broken down lawn chair-reserved parking spot if you want an unbroken windshield and unkeyed car.

  • Winning URL/ tag combo!

  • The article said the guy was a stickler for the rules… but the nanny was using the VPP the way it’s supposed to be used. So not only was he doing crazy stuff, he wasn’t even vigilante-enforcing the correct rule.

    • “The way it’s supposed to be used?” Not defending the crazy Pentagon employee, but is the VPP supposed to be used by local commuters who work in the city, all day, every day? Why can’t every commuter use them, then?

      • According to the DDOT spokesperson quoted in the article, yes, this was a perfectly legal use of the visitor permit. I think the difference is the use directly by an employer for their employee, not buying it off of some random person with no relation to a resident of the parking zone.

      • The benefit of the RPP is supposed to accrue directly to the person to whom it’s issued (the homeowner). In this case, the homeowner is benefitting by the fact that his/her domestic employee can get to work on time/stay late if necessary/cart the kids around.

        Your own employer could decide to give you a parking benefit; a random DC resident can’t.

        (I don’t have a nanny, but when our house was being repiped, our plumber used our RPP.)

      • as long as the nanny leaves at the end of the day and isn’t living with this family, the pass is absolutely being used in the correct way.

        • So it’s okay because it isn’t overnight? I’m honestly trying to figure this out. I used my own VPP for a week and a half while there was construction on my off-street parking spot and after a couple of days I started receiving warning tickets from parking enforcement for improper use of the VPP.

          • I think that’s because you’re a resident who’s (presumably) eligible for an RPP ($35/year) and is using a VPP (free) instead.
            (I’m just curious — why didn’t you have an RPP? Did you figure it wasn’t worth the $35 since you already had off-street parking?)

          • I have off-street parking but I got an RRP as I don’t have a VPP – side note, how do I get one?
            This way friends can use my spot if they come over and I can just park on the street.

          • But how did they know I was a resident eligible for an RRP and not just someone visiting who lived in a different part of the city?

            Correct, at the time I didn’t bother with the RRP because I had an off-street spot.

          • Vpp is done by mail from the dpw website gbinch. Just request one and it’s sent to you. The sometimes send it automatically year to year but I always request again to be safe.

          • Parker — Good question. Maybe they figure someone visiting from another ward would have that ward’s RPP on their registration sticker?

          • the mystery may never been solved.

          • Blithe

            Parker, if parking enforcement can use your tag number to get access to your registration information, they would then know that your car was parked near the address associated with your registration using a VPP instead of an RPP.

          • Blithe — Ahh! Very good point!

  • HAHAH I know that guy – this is AMAZING. I love it! SOOOO DC.

  • This happened to a guest of mine about 15 blocks away in NE. I assumed it was for something nefarious but maybe it was due to the plates being out-of-state. Funny thing is, MPD noted the plates were “lost” because we were not able to prove they were stolen. Sounds like they should be tracking statistics of lost plates…

  • Perfectly encapsulates the passive-aggressiveness of most DCers.

  • Can you please make “Today in Totally Nuts…” a new regular feature? Please!?

  • There IS a VPP problem in the city. This is NOT RPP, this is VPP. The VPP placard specifically states it is not to be used in lieu of registering a car. One of the many problems with this program is that DDOT can not determine what makes you a visitor or not. I’d argue that someone driving in to DC every day for work is NOT a visitor and should not be eligible to use the VPP. But, no enforcement/guidance from DDOT. **I do not advocate stealing plates or acting out the way he did. **

    • WTF are you talking about? The nanny lives out of state. Why would she register her car in the district? Her employers need to be able to offer her parking. That’s precisely what VPP is for.

    • But they would also not be eligible to register the car here, so are you arguing for a 3rd class of driver?

      • why would an out of stat resident want to register her car in DC. That does not make any sense

        • I think you missed my point. Easter doesn’t want nannies using the vpp, and nanny can’t register here sense she’s out of state, so I’m curious what easter wants them to do?
          I’m not presuming nanny wants to register here. I see people complain about vpp abuse but never pose an alternative for people like nannies.

    • DDOT did provide guidance on this. Specifically, they said use for a worker in your home is valid. Frequency of use for that purpose is not part of the regulations.

    • WHAT?! Someone driving to DC every day for work is a visitor!! They go home every day to (presumably) Maryland or Virginia.

      • Someone driving to D.C. (or driving to another Ward) every day to work in a _business_ is not eligible to use a VPP. Someone coming into the District to work in a private individual’s home — be it a contractor, a repair person, a nanny, a cleaner — IS eligible to use a VPP.

    • I use the VPP for my boyfriends car. He parks it about 2-3 times during the week when he is over and we are always getting warning tickets on the car that we need to register it in DC….. its so frustrating.

      • Your BF needs to apply for a ROSA (Registration of Out of State Automobile). He needs to submit a copy of his VA/MD registration and current lease/utility bills to the DMV and they’ll update their records to say he’s out of state. I used to get tickets all the time when I lived in VA and visited my GF in DC ($100 a ticket adds up) – definitely worth doing!

      • Anonjmous

        I think you just need to show DC that his car is legally registered where he lives and they’ll back off. Search for ROSA – I think you can handle it all online.

      • When my kids were in the NICU (for 3 months) my mom came to town a lot to visit them and to help me around the house. When she was in town she’d used my pass and she still got warnings every single time saying she needed to get her car registered in DC. We even started to leave notes in the window saying that she was in town helping sick family and not actually living here. She ended up getting 2 $100 dollar tickets saying she was in violation of not registering her car in the required 30 days. Even though she was legally parked with a legal pass. So frustrating.

        • If this happened recently (within the past 2 months) you can appeal the tickets and show proof of our of state residency. I’ve done this before and the DMV vacated the tickets without any objection.

        • Ditto to what GBinCH said.
          The crazy thing with ROSA is that (IIRC) someone can’t do it pre-emptively. The person has to wait until he/she receives a ticket, and once that’s happened, he/she can contest it and ask for ROSA.

          • Totally agree on the ROSA process. I want to get a ROSA for my boyfriend, but can’t because he hasn’t gotten a ticket yet. It’s ridiculous. Why can’t we comply before he’s found to be in violation?!

          • You can do it once you get a warning. Speaking from experience.

    • So what exactly is she supposed to do? This is exactly what she is supposed to do. You are either a resident or a visitor. Now, if you are advocating for a “residential employee” permit or something of the like, great; but within the current system, this permit was used in the exact manner that it was supposed to.

      • +1. Under the current system, D.C. residents eligible for VPPs are supposed to/allowed to use them for contractors coming to their homes, workers they employ in their homes, etc. The nanny and her employers were using the VPP correctly.

  • This doesn’t surprise me. When my kid was in a nanny share at another family’s house, the nanny used their parking pass every day. One of their neighbors routinely yelled at her more for parking near her house. It was very upsetting to the nanny. The neighbor was unwilling to discuss the situation and we wound up moving the nanny share to our house, but I sometimes wonder where the situation would have gone had we stayed there.

    Side note – The angry neighbor proclaimed her her religious faith with a statue of Mary in her yard, a big cross on her door, political/religious stickers all over her car and in the windows of her house. Irony!

  • Sounds like he got off easy- with no jail time for 3 counts of misdemeanor theft. Wonder how much of the current prison population in D.C. is serving time, for similar, if not fewer counts.

    • The prosecutors in DC — and likely elsewhere, but I can’t speak from personal knowledge — routinely make these sorts of agreements so as to not get tied up in court.

  • The woman who cleans our house interrogated us about parking practices on our block before she agreed to do the work. She categorically refuses to work on the Hill because she says she was getting harassed all the time by neighbors of her clients who didn’t like her use of the clients’ VPPs. Insanity. Fortunately our street is unzoned so she can park to her heart’s content (and also our neighbors are nice, normal people).

  • Ally

    Now this is the kind of obsessive, stick-to-it-ness that I could really use around the house. 😉 If he can spend 47 minutes removing license plates, boy could he really help get my whites white and my floors clean. Sir, if you ever decide to leave the fancy Pentagon job, let us know. PS, none of us have a car so we feel safe-ish.

  • WaPo reported that the guy has been suspended from his pentagon job & that he thought the nanny actually worked on the Hill & was using the pass improperly. It was reported that he didn’t know he was a nanny in a nearby home. The guys really too tightly wound.

    • I mean, this is definitely out of line, but when I lived on the Hill, there didn’t seem to be any solution to commuter parking. Since the tickets are only $30, and your average commuter might get 1-2 a week, it’s cheaper than any other alternative (yes, Metro…some people refuse), and closer to work, to boot! It was really frustrating if you had to drive anywhere and arrive home during the work day (at the time, my dentist wasn’t Metro accessible, as an example). Coming home from one of those trips was the only time I had to park more than a half mile from my home.
      There is a solution, which is to make it so that the average commuter would incur slightly more in parking fines than they’d pay for a garage in a given week or month (increase fine or enforcement), but DC seems resistant to improving that particular issue for some reason.

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