Top Pentagon public affairs strategist Bryan Whitman has been put on administrative leave over the bizarre parking dispute case in which he allegedly stole the license plates of a Capitol Hill neighbor's nanny -- three times.
The one-sentence statement on the matter from Gordon Trowbridge, the deputy Pentagon press secretary, said that "In light of the pending criminal case involving Bryan Whitman, he has been placed on administrative leave while the department reviews this matter."
Documents filed in District of Columbia Superior Court show that the 58-year-old Whitman, one of the highest-ranking civilians at the Pentagon as principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, has apparently agreed to terms to avoid prosecution on three misdemeanor counts of theft, NBC reported.
The charges would be dismissed next year if Whitman pays restitution, completes about a week of community service and keeps his record clean.
Trowbridge declined to discuss particulars of the case, saying it was a personnel matter, but a lengthy story in The Washington Post portrayed Whitman as having appointed himself the stealthy parking enforcer of his neighborhood east of the Capitol under Washington's Visitor Parking Pass program.
Whitman allegedly thought the neighbor's nanny was abusing the visitor's parking pass and left a note on the windshield in April: "I know you are misusing this visitor pass to park here daily. If you do not stop I will report it, have your car towed and the resident who provided this to you will have his privileges taken away."
When the nanny kept on parking, Whitman allegedly stole the license plates. Then he did it again. The nanny's employers then bought a video machine and caught Whitman on tape when he did it a third time, The Washington Post said.
When police served a search warrant on Whitman on May 2, he allegedly handed over the stolen plates.
Whitman, an Army veteran, has been in public affairs at the Pentagon for more than 30 years and has often presided at Pentagon press briefings and appeared on TV.
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.