Loose Lips

When It Rains, It Pours

LL's boss forgot that LL had last year's scoop-of-the-year when he unearthed a lawsuit against Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. for allegedly not paying back his students loans.

A court hearing was scheduled today on the case, and LL's boss thought it might be worth covering Thomas' other legal worries. (If you are just joining us, Thomas was accused last week by Attorney General Irv Nathan in a civil suit of pocketing $316,000 in city funds that were earmarked to help inner-city kids learn baseball.)

Reading back on last year's story, LL was struck by some of the similarities between Thomas' response to the student loan lawsuit and Thomas' response last week to Nathan's lawsuit.

Last year, Thomas brushed off the student loans problems saying all his debts have been "satisfied" and lawsuit arose out of an "administrative error." Thomas predicted that the government's case wouldn't amount to anything.

Last week, Thomas said he's not done anything wrong and had the evidence to prove it. His attorney, Fred Cooke Jr., brushed off Nathan's lawsuit as some sort of misunderstanding over the definition of "business" and said that the AG's case wouldn't amount to anything.

But LL wonders, if Thomas' students loans had really been "satisfied," why is this case still proceeding a year later? And if Thomas really has proof that he didn't steal city funds, why hasn't he yet produced it?

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Wendy Washington

    The proof that Thomas' student loans were satisfied is in the same place as the proof that he didn't steal city funds. That place is called NONEXISTENT.

    Anyway, Harry got a temporary reprieve -- until July 1. Word on the street is that Harry never actually graduated from college, so if that is true, would he be throwing good money after bad by repaying the loans at this late date? Those loans should be about 25-30 years old.

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/news/nation/2011/06/dc-councilman-accused-not-paying-student-loans

  • Southeast Ken

    In my opinion, Ward 5 DC Councilmember Harry Thomas is another corrupt politician like fomer Prince Georges County Executive Jack Johnson.

  • Drez

    In some alternate universe somewhere there is a voodoo doll screaming in pain as another for is stuck in Harry "He's Done" Thomas.

  • @SamuelMoore

    Kind of sad that Team Thomas couldn't pay it's lone employee well enough for him to pay off his student loan debt... Oh wait.

    All these accusations and stories came up when he was running for reelection, and they're essentially brushed under the table until after the election, we (District residents) need to actually start demanding ethical leaders, and not just someone who takes their father's name, for simple name recognition on the ballot, etc...

  • Truth Hurts

    Why in the world would one expect Harry "cashier check" Thomas pay off student loans with part of the 300k he misdirected from DC kids to himself?

    After all, Vegas, Pebble Beach, nightclubs, and a luxury SUV were out there calling his name. The choice was a no brainer in HT's world.

    And don't forget, Cooke doesn't come cheap.

  • Concernedaboutdc

    At the end of the day, I reserve any judgement until Thomas has had his day in court and is found guilty. White people, including those who call themselves "progressive" and those who work for the Washington Post and Washington City Paper, during and since Adrian Fenty, have had a penchant for attacking and judging African American elected officials. Judging with double standards.

    Had Jim Graham, an attorney, who looked the other way while a felony was committed right before his eyes, been an African American, white people in this town posturing as a city would have rode him all the way out of office. Instead, they find clever excuses as to why his offense was not so bad. I don't like any of you. You are worse that the hooded klansman of the south.

  • Skipper

    Good try Concernedaboutdc. But how many evil whities on this website have defended Jim Graham's corruption?

  • WardQueen

    "Good try Concernedaboutdc. But how many evil whities on this website have defended Jim Graham's corruption?"
    _______________________________________________________

    Interestingly enough, just about none. You might want to think about that Jim, it speaks volumes as to your true regard in the community. Not a single defender, interesting.

  • ToiletLawmakers

    @Concernedaboutdc - Harry's breach of fiduciary responsibility is unambiguous - and certainly not relative to a color issue (although the latter half of your opinion I concede). But again, it is not and should not be about color. Making it so, attempts to provide a sick excuse for Blacks who commit wrong.

    Another poignant item is that Harry created for himself a capacity of fiduciary trust when there should not have been any in the first place. Why? THE IRS NEVER APPROVED A 501(c)3 APPLICATION!!! That is simple enough. Sometimes there is no need for a stretched investigation/trial when all the facts are there. All Fred Cooke needs to do is stipulate to the facts, get it over with, and hopefully cut a deal for dude.

    The offense Harry committed goes to the ethics - and morals - platforms. I do not (we as tax-paying citizens should not) tolerate flagrant corruption in our government. Usually when we hear of it, we complain, but do nothing. In fact, we will elect these same sinister characters over and over again. Yes, repeatedly. We did it with Barry! He could not run for mayor again, so we made sure he was installed somewhere else (to rip the taxpayers off with earmarks being funneled into the pocket of a phantom organization).

    Let's be clear about this people, by filing our corrupt politicians into the race card folders only makes clear that those who choose to do this will never be a part of the fabric of fixing what is bad in this city. In my opinion, with this sort of thinking, please don't go out and vote. Do us all a favor and stay home on election days.

    REALLY, THESE DC POLITICIANS ARE NO MORE THAN SOCIAL WORKERS IN THE GRAND SCALE OF GOVERNMENT. THE MAYOR IS A SOCIAL WORKER, THE COUNCIL IS A BODY OF SOCIAL WORKERS - THESE ARE NOT REAL POLITICIANS. CONGRESS KEEPS DC IN A PLAYPIN AND WHEN WE ACT OUT TOO BAD, WE'RE TOLD TO STICK OUR NOSES IN A CORNER FOR A BIT. DEMONSTRABLY, DC HISTORY SOLIDIFIES OUR NEED TO BE OVERSEEN. WE ARE JOKES! THAT IS WHAT MARION BARRY'S REALITY SHOW WAS ALL ABOUT. HARRY THOMAS, MICHAEL BROWN AND OTHERS TOOK PART. BUFFOONS AT THEIR BEST. WHENEVER I SEE THEM FACE TO FACE, AND TRUST THAT I HAVE AND DO, I LAUGH AT THEM BECAUSE "THEY ARE NOTHING." THEY ALL HAVE THE SAME INFLATED ARROGANCE (IN CHEAP SUITS AND FAKE WATCHES), AND THIS CHARACTER IS TRUE FOR EVEN THE ONES WHO ARE NOT IN THE MEDIA; YOU KNOW THOSE NAMES THAT YOU FORGET ABOUT -THOSE WHO I WOULD DUMP IN THE "HAS BEEN" OR "NEVER BEEN" CATEGORY. IT IS FUNNY BECAUSE WHEN THEY ARE IN THEIR LITTLE CIRCLES, THEY BELIEVE THEY'RE IN SOME FANTASIZED ELITE GROUP...BUT I LAUGH AT THE CLOWNS.

  • Wendy Washington

    Southeast Ken, I agree with your post #2. (For some reason, my comment keeps going to "Your comment is awaiting moderation" limbo. It has been there over 12 hours.)

    It seems that HTJ has a history of dragging these things out. I guess he's hoping they will go away. This student loan suit was initially filed in 2006. Frankly, it should have been a factor in his 2006 campaign.

    This Washington Times article provides an interesting timeline of HTJ's activities since the student loan lawsuit began.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/jun/12/in-other-words-civil-suit-not-thomas-first-rodeo

  • One that cares

    Best Commentary of the year...ToiletLawmakers!

  • Wendy Washington

    The WaPo has an article that states, "A lawyer representing the government, Thomas Mauro, says Thomas incurred the debt by taking out two federally guaranteed student loans in 1983 and 1984. The loan amount is $5,345.20, and the rest of the money is interest."

    If that is true, HTJ should have just paid the $5345 from the start, otherwise he would not have incurred twice that amount in penalties and interest. Just shows how stoopid Harry is.

  • One that cares

    Agree Wendy! HTJ doesn't pay his bills...from child support payments, to speeding tickets, studentloans, to parking tickets. This guy is soooo SAVVY that he is above the law. When he gets caught, he tells so many nervy lies that many folks will believe that he is either telling the truth (and give him the benefit of a doubt) or suggest this guy is mentally ill.

  • Typical DC BS

    Who else in Ward 5 is ready to be the next DC Councilmember (i.e. is ethically and morally committed to the best interests of Ward 5 and DC)? I assume Mr. Thomas won't go quietly. Now is the time to get someone up and running, as Mr. Thomas' student loan debt and slush fund issues show he's unfit for office.

  • Truth Hurts

    @ Typical DC BS: You raise an important issue. All the talk about recalls (not just for Thomas) likely won't result in anyone being recalled unless prospective replacement candidates with no skeletons or shady ties to the current crop of ethically challenged pols step up and offer voters real hope. Someone like Nathan, for example, or comparable minority folks.

    Otherwise, massive recalls would look like DC's version of the Arab spring .... throwing out the riffraff, then waking up with nobody better in charge.

  • Drez

    Part of being an effective ward boss is co-opting, corrupting, or otherwise neutralizing your potential opposition.
    So watch out for that, and think about who gets money from or works for who.

  • Wendy Washington

    The Washington Times had an article in the June 12th edition that included a timeline of HTJ's court issues.
    Here’s some context assembled from court papers filed in the student-loan case along with information culled from court filings in the Team Thomas case. Sorry, each time I try to the include the link, my post is sent to the "Your comment is awaiting moderation" black hole or the equivalent of File 13. Here is what the WaTimes wrote:

    "March 10, 2006: Case filed to recover $16,000 in student loans, interest, penalties from Mr. Thomas.

    April 8, 2006:Mr. Thomas is served.

    Jan. 2, 2007:Mr. Thomas sworn in as council member.

    April 16, 2007:Mr. Thomas charges $690 to Team Thomas credit card at Love nightclub.

    July 10, 2007: Student-loan case continued indefinitely.

    Oct. 29, 2007:Mr. Thomas charges $1,185 to Team Thomas credit card at Bali Hai Golf Club in Las Vegas.

    March 10, 2008: Status hearing. Neither Mr. Thomas nor his lawyer (whom the court papers note was not a member of the D.C. Bar) show up.

    April 2, 2008:Mr. Thomas charges $2,669 to Team Thomas credit card at Gogo Vacations.

    April 28, 2009:Mr. Thomas charges $1,073 to Team Thomas credit card at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, Calif.

    June 1, 2009: Student-loan case dismissed for lack of activity.

    Sept. 12, 2009:Mr. Thomas uses $58,575 in charitable grant funds paid through a for-profit company he controlled to buy a 2008 Audi Q7 4.2 Premium Quattro sport utility vehicle.

    March 2010: Student-loan case reinstated.

    So the lesson seems, instead of using money collected through donations from unlawful solicitations and charitable grants raised by a purported nonprofit without tax-exempt status and other funds secretly diverted to a for-profit company under your control to buy luxury vehicles, trips, meals and other things of value, pay off your student loans."

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