Loose Lips

Why Team Thomas Matters

LL was reminded in reporting this week's column how ridiculous it is that we still don't know who gave money to Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.'s non/for-profit group Team Thomas.

Thomas is backing a taxicab medallion bill, which a lot of cabbies fear may help taxi king Jerry Schaeffer take over the industry (Schaeffer says it ain't so). Thomas is also a big cheerleader for bringing Wal-Mart to the District, and Schaeffer owns the land in Thomas' ward where the big-box store might go. (Adding a bit of spice to the whole mix is the fact that lobbyist John Ray both represents Schaeffer's taxi interests and has helped Thomas defend Team Thomas, though attorney Fred Cooke Jr. has done most of the heavy lifting.)

Schaeffer told LL he hasn't donated any money to Team Thomas, but has donated to Thomas' political campaigns (and the campaigns of a lot of others).

It would be nice if LL could simply trust Schaeffer and be on his merry way. But that's not LL's job. Trust but verify, friends, trust but verify.

The campaign records, LL can check; the records of Team Thomas, he cannot. So LL can't say for sure that Schaeffer didn't give any money to the group.

It's now been nearly five months since Attorney General Irv Nathan took over the Team Thomas investigation, nearly five months since Thomas was supposed to have answered a second court order telling him to hand over Team Thomas' financial records, and nearly five months during which Thomas has lead the D.C. Council's economic development committee, where he probably comes into regular contact with business interests who may or may not have donated to his mysterious organization, which he may have spent on anything from giving kids golfing lessons, handing out free turkeys, or taking trips to Las Vegas and Florida.

If that last sentence had too many conditional tenses for your taste, that's the whole friggin' problem. Why do we still not know who gave Thomas what and how that money was spent? This isn't rocket science!

Nathan has said he hopes to have the investigation done by the end of spring. LL counts 25 days until the first day of summer. Tick tock, Irv, we're waiting.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Wendy Washington

    Good luck with getting anything out of that idiot HTJ. He was elected in 2006, then re-elected last year as Ward 5 Council Member. Thomas hasn't done jack for his constituents in the last five years. How does someone so lacking intelligence continue to scam his constituents and the law?

  • Rake

    @Wendy Washington: How does someone so lacking intelligence continue to scam his constituents and the law?

    Ummm, are you new here? See: Barry, Marion S... of course, the law eventually caught up.

  • Truth Hurts

    Thomas promised to release those records to the public over 7 months ago. What happened?

    His buddy, Vince Gray, was elected mayor and a Gray's AG took over the "investigation". Gray publicly signaled his distaste for investigating Thomas, and nobody's said nothing since.

    Not one council member has had the stones to publicly address the matter, and Thomas is laughing all the way to the bank. Truly a disgrace.

  • @SamuelMoore

    This is so much worse than any of the Gray hiring mess, or the other ethical dilemas plaguing the Council. This Team Thomas affair is blatantly illegal, raising money for a "nonprofit" that never was a nonprofit, where is the IRS? DC OTR? DCRA? BOEE? OCF? At least we have LL, and to some extent WaPo...

  • MadWard7Resident

    How in the world did Ward 5 vote this Fool in office. I was at a hearing when he was talking and people were laughing because no one knew what in the world he was talking about! He is dumb as hell! WOW!

  • Mensa1

    Harry Thomas is an excellent council member. He has represented the Ward with commitment and dedication. Ward 5 is behind him (as it should be). We hope that he continues to prepare himself for a run as the Mayor of this city.

  • Truth Hurts

    Mensa 1's handle is a misnomer. Judging by his/her comment here and the two comments re Gray's executive pay raise debacle, a more accurate screen name would be "Getting Paid in One City"."

  • Truth Hurts

    16 days to go. Tick tock, HT, tick tock, VG, tick tock, FC, tick tock, IN.

  • Truth Hurts

    15 days to go. Tick Tock.

  • Truth Hurts