John Falcicchio Out As D.C.'s Top Economic Development Official
John Falcicchio, the economic development head for Mayor Muriel Bowser who has spearheaded the city's efforts to build housing and revitalize the downtown area, was ousted for D.C. government while under investigation.
The mayor's office revealed his departure in a press release Friday afternoon announcing replacements for his two positions — chief of staff and deputy mayor for planning and economic development. It only included one mention of Falcicchio at the bottom of the release.
"We also thank Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio for his years of service to the District as he transitions to the private sector," the press release said after announcing the two appointments.
The mayor's office declined to provide further explanation or comment on his departure. Falcicchio didn't respond to a request for comment.
At a Monday morning press conference, Bowser released a statement about the departure, confirming that Falcicchio — her top adviser and a longtime confidant — was removed and an investigation is ongoing.
"This is a sensitive matter that includes privacy concerns, we will not be able to discuss it any further," the statement read, according to WJLA. "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."
She added that the investigation isn't related to her former chief of staff's handling of business transactions in his capacity as the District's top economic development official, who approved hundreds of millions of contracts to developers and businesses every year.
Bowser tapped two officials from within her administration to take the roles that Falcicchio held. Keith Anderson, who previously led the D.C. Department of General Services, is deputy mayor, and Lindsey Parker is chief of staff. She had served as deputy chief of staff under Falcicchio since 2015.
Falcicchio held the chief of staff role since Bowser took office after winning election for her first term in 2014. And he became deputy mayor in 2019 when he replaced Brian Kenner, who left the D.C. government to join Amazon.
The year Falcicchio became deputy mayor, Bowser's administration launched its goal to add 36,000 new housing units to the District by 2025, with 12,000 being affordable. Falcicchio has played a central role in those efforts, working with real estate developers to build housing on city-owned land and crafting new policies to spur additional development.
In recent months, Falcicchio had led efforts to bring more economic activity downtown through the mayor's D.C. Comeback Plan, and he has worked on initiatives around converting obsolete offices into housing.
UPDATE, MARCH 20, 1:45 P.M. ET: This story has been updated to reflect Bowser's statement Monday confirming Falcicchio is under investigation.