Loose Lips

Harry Thomas Jr. To Pay Back The Money

D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. and the D.C. Attorney General Irv Nathan are apparently ready to kiss and make up—for six easy payments of $50,000.

In June, Nathan sued Thomas for allegedly taking some $300,000 in city money earmarked for youth baseball programs and using them for personal expenses including an Audi SUV. Earlier this month, LL reported that other expenses incurred by Thomas' non-profit Team Thomas had included a $140 tab at Hooters, a $170 debit card expense at a perfume store, and thousands of dollars spent at golf courses around the country.

As part of their settlement, Thomas will not only pay back the District $300,000, but has also agreed not have anything to do with "directing, controlling, or participating in the solicitation of charitable contributions in the District" for the next five years (except for his consitiuent services fund). Thomas has also agreed to donate $50,000 worth of sporting goods equipment to a local little league team. 

What effect, if any, this settlement has on the ongoing probe by the U.S. Attorney's Office is the big question.  

When Nathan first sued Thomas, the councilmember drove up to a Wilson Building news conference in said Audi and declared that he had no intention of settleing because he'd done nothing wrong. Thomas has promised LL a statement in a few minutes, and LL will update when it comes in.

While we wait, here's the full statement from the attorney general after the jump:

District of Columbia Attorney General Irvin Nathan announced today a settlement with Councilmember Harry L. Thomas, Jr. to recover substantially all of the funds allegedly diverted by Mr. Thomas from the District. Mr. Thomas has agreed to repay the city $300,000 over the next two years and the District has agreed to dismiss its suit, which claims that Mr. Thomas unlawfully diverted DC Council-earmarked grants and charitable donations for his personal or political benefit, including the purchase of a luxury sports utility vehicle, golfing vacations, and the publication of a brochure extolling his public service.

The written settlement agreement and a Consent Judgment against Mr. Thomas were filed in D.C. Superior Court today. Under the agreement, Mr. Thomas will make a total payment to the District of $300,000.00, with an initial payment of $50,000 today, and five more installment payments of $50,000 each between now and December, 2013. The agreement also precludes Mr. Thomas for a period of five years from directing, controlling, or participating in the solicitation of charitable contributions in the District, with the exception of his so-called Constituent Fund. Further, Mr. Thomas’ for-profit company HLT Team Thomas / Swingaway, LLC is required to donate sporting goods and equipment that Mr. Thomas represents are valued at $50,000 to the Satchel Paige / Senators Little League, a D.C. affiliate of the congressionally chartered national organization for Little League Baseball. Mr. Thomas also has agreed to facilitate the transfer of other sporting goods and equipment to the District. The agreement will be fully enforceable in court against all of Mr. Thomas’s property should he fail to comply with the terms of the agreement.

The settlement agreement arises out of a civil enforcement action filed by the District against Councilmember Thomas on June 6, 2011, following an extensive investigation by the Office of the Attorney General. The Complaint alleges that, using the resources of his Council office, Mr. Thomas obtained largely for his personal use funds that had been ear-marked for “youth baseball programs” and solicited, without a District charitable solicitation license and without a 501(c)(3) organization, and raised funds from private donors for alleged charitable purposes that were never established. The District funds were provided by Council legislation in 2007 to the D.C. Children & Youth Investment Trust Corporation, which at Mr. Thomas’s direction, passed them to the Langston 21st Century Foundation, which in turn, at Mr. Thomas’s direction, secretly paid most of the money to Mr. Thomas through his for-profit and non-profit corporations. Much of the money was then spent for the personal benefit of Mr. Thomas. The Complaint is understood to be the first-ever civil enforcement action filed by the Office of the Attorney General against a sitting member of the City Council. The Office previously settled with principals of the Langston foundation for $86,000, bringing the total amount of the cash settlements in this matter to $386,000.

Attorney General Nathan stated that “We are pleased that Councilman Thomas has agreed to cooperate with us, repay his debt and spare the District the burden, expense and distraction of proving its case in court. At the same time, our unrelenting persistence in bringing and prosecuting this action demonstrates our commitment to pursue anyone, no matter his or her station or influence, who would deprive the city of its precious resources or who would use his or her position of trust and influence to obtain District of Columbia funds for personal gain.” The Attorney General stated further that his office would be vigilant in seeking to ensure that there is full compliance with the settlement agreement.

Comments

  1. #1

    Ah. So it was more like an interest free loan.
    Is that sort of deal available to everyone, or just special friends?

  2. #2

    Let us hope the feds were just waiting for this to get cleared up and they are shining their handcuffs.

  3. #3

    AT LEAST HE IS GOING TO ATTEMPT PAY THE MONEY BACK UNLIKE THOSE SPECIAL FRIENDS THAT INCLUDE BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO SKINNER & CO., MOTEN, RHEE AND THE REST OF THOSE BAMMAS THAT FINAGLED MONEY FROM THE DISTRICT!!!

  4. #4

    ThievN ass rascal that he is

  5. What the flocka?
    #5

    That's how HT is going to roll. He's gonna not admit to wrongdoing but will part with $300,000.00. It's going to be a hot day in DC before I will admit to anything. Wait, it is a hot day in DC, well it gotta get hotter than this before I admit any wrongdoing.

  6. #6

    If you consider $50,000.00 interest free, I would like to see what it would look like with interest.

  7. #7

    Also, why isn't the IRS and DC government going after HT for tax evasion?

  8. #8

    So that $50K is on top of what he (won't admit he) stole?

  9. #9

    Uh, so where is he getting $300,000 (+50,000) to pay me, John Q. Public, back? If you could pay it back, why would your take it in the first place? Begs the question, who is actually paying trying to cover this up and when will the IRS come knocking on his office door to offer him a matching pair of silver bracelets?

  10. #10

    Harry Thomas Jr. ass should go to jail.

  11. What the flocka?
    #11

    @ Randall M, Remember you don't always steal money because you need it, you steal it because you can.

  12. #12

    Taxes, interest, penalties, recall.

  13. #13

    Oh, so Harry "cashier check" Thomas and his scumbag lawyer Cooke really were full of shit all along. HT took money meant for DC kids, spent it on himself, tried to cover it up, and got caught. How can this jerk live with himself? He deserves jail time.

    One of the most disturbing aspects of this entire scam has been the failure of fellow CM's (or the mayor) to publicly condemn his activities. It's time for the city council to impeach his crooked ass.

  14. #14

    @TH - The council can't impeach Harry Thomas. They're now operating under the "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone" policy and gag order. If any were to throw a rock at Thomas, it might ricochet and break a window in their glasshouse.

  15. #15

    Harry Thomas' lawyer, Fred Cooke, is the same man representing Marion Barry's son on drug charges. Interesting.

  16. #16

    It's time for the citizens of Ward 5 to demand Harry Thomas's resignation. He has never been a good council member. His office is a complete joke, especially Ayana Chase Webster. You call the office for anything and they promise to look into it or follow up, but never do.

  17. #17

    Stament from Thomas

    Washington, DC— Ward 5 Councilmember Harry "Tommy" Thomas, Jr. today issued the following statement regarding the settlement agreement he has reached with the Office of the Attorney General:
     
    “Serving as the Councilman for Ward 5 residents is my greatest honor. In an effort to continue to focus on my most important goals - improving the lives of my constituents in Ward 5 and the residents of Washington, DC -- I have agreed to a settlement. I feel this is in the best interest of the city.
     
    I have committed my life to teaching life skills to children through sports and athletic competition.  The discipline and strenuous rigors that I teach through coaching and mentoring were lacking in the management of the organization. 

    As I have stated before, the allegations in the Attorney General's complaint about there being no service provided and a purposeful misuse of any funds are not true.  That is why the settlement does not have any agreement of wrongdoing.
     
    It is not uncommon for grantees, including DC agencies receiving federal funds, to have expenditures disallowed. It is my desire to move forward with the disposition of this matter in a way that will cause the least disruption to my family and my constituency, and that will save the DC government and its citizens the time and expense of litigation, as well. 
     
    I appreciate the trust the citizens have placed in me during these allegations. I have used my role as councilmember to tend to the needs and interests of those who I have the privilege to serve.   These actions are being taken to ensure that the trust the public has placed in me is maintained and honored.”
     
     Any questions regarding this matter may be directed to Fred Cooke of Rubin Winston, Diercks, Harris & Cooke, L.L.P. Mr. Cooke can be reached at 202-861-0870 or fcooke@rwdhc.com

  18. #18

    Agree with itsjustamess.
    Also, who'd want to risk opposition to thier agenda or even loosing thier committee?

  19. #19

    Unreal. He must be delusional if he thinks Ward 5 voters will buy that load of crap.

  20. Walter Washington
    #20

    They said if I voted for Fenty, I'd have four more years of corruption, cronyism, and misappropriation of DC Govt dollars. They were right!

  21. #21

    This is a shame! CM Thomas should have turned in his notice to resign after he cut this deal!

  22. #22

    Ok,Ok, The Sociopathic liar won the first round because of the corrupt and evil residents of the Wilson Building looking out for their boy. Let's watch him attempt a Houdini when the US AG drops the Civil Lawsuit. His boys can't help him then. Get your popcorn and coke...I say this dude still meets Bubba in jail or he will go bankrupt trying not to. Also, I sure hope he doesn't get his committe back in the meantime...DC will be screwed and Detroit won't look so bad!!!

  23. #23

    LET'S GET THE SHIT STARTED, GET HIM OUT!!!

  24. #24

    Really disappointed that Ole Irv Nathan couldn't withstand the pressure from The Good Old Boy network and let this guy escape this easy. Man, these guys are off the hook with their arrogance and dispicable ways. DC are you listening or are you still asleep???

  25. #25

    My bad, I meant when the US AG drops the Criminal lawsuit on Harry's doorstep. so mad my fingers aren't typing too well.

  26. #26

    Nickles wouldn't have settled...
    Looking forward, is this the sort of deal that DC voters will accept from the next AG- the one they elect?

  27. #27

    After reading this shit on Harry Thomas Jr., I need a drink of liquor. Whom else need a drink? LOL

  28. #28

    HTJ is full of it. No one in a sane state of mind will be willing to part with their money and shovel the $#!t onto their own name just to cause the least disruption to their family and save the DC government and its citizens the time and expense of litigation?! Are you serious? If he did do it (which i have a wrenching feeling in my gut that he did)he needs to go. And if he didn't do it the fact that he doesn't have integrity enough to stand up for what is right is still just as bad in my opinion from someone who supposedly represents me in the council. Admiting to a wrongdoing that you allegedly are not guilty of while claiming to be concerned about the expenses of your accusers is ridiculous.

  29. #29

    Already done, SK.

  30. #30

    FYI: All

    This is only a settlement of the civil suit which was brought by the DC Attorney General (AG) and filed against Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr in the Superior Court for The District of Columbia. The AG does not have the legal authority to bring any criminal charges against Councilmember Thomas. The authority to bring criminal charges against Councilmember will be made by US Attorney
    Machen. Information has been presented to a federal grand jury and witnesses are about to be called before the grand jury to answers questions regarding questionable expenditures by Councilmember Thomas. An indictment of Councilmember Thomas on several federal charges will occur
    after September 6, 2011.

  31. #31

    "Nickles wouldn't have settled..."

    LOLOL....

    Nickles didn't utter a peep about all the scurrilous goings-on with Fenty's school modernization czar, Allen Lew, who was funneling multi-millions of dollars (for who knows what) to Fenty's former substitute teacher, chauffeur-gate participant, friend and PGC resident Keith Lomax.

    "For example, the Auditor compared OPEFM vendor payments with OPEFM contract and procurement files for RBK Landscaping and Construction (RBK-owned by Keith Lomax). The Auditor found that OPEFM's contract and procurement files for RBK did not include 6 purchase orders and supporting documentation for payments totaling $9,756,525 to RBK. Table II presents OPEFM payments to RBK under purchase orders that were not found in OPEFM's contract and procurement files, and lacked documentation justifying and supporting the payments to RBK."

    http://dcwatch.com/auditor/audit110511.pdf

  32. #32

    Do not Worry! It is not over folks! CM Thomas will pay the price when the Federal Investigation is complete!

    DC may have gave him a slap on the wrist, the Feds will be slapping those silver braclets on those wrist soon!

    I hope CM Thomas resign to spare the residents of the District, his mama and his family the embarrassment!

  33. #33

    I, too, wonder where Tommy is getting $300,000 to pay back the city. I think Irv Nathan blew it big time on this settlement. He should have demanded Tommy's resignation from the council as part of the settlement. Will Tommy just steal more money from the taxpayers to pay us back?

  34. #34

    He's stealing right now... Justice will prevail. Him settling makes it so much easier for the feds to make a case against him now.

  35. #35

    Longtime

    They will not, cannot and more importantly do not wanna address or even recognize that FACT!

    But are certainly quik to throw out, oh we're talking now and Fenty's gone bullcrap when the city's financial woes are all Fenty's!

  36. #36

    @Drez-"Nickles wouldn't have settled...
    Looking forward, is this the sort of deal that DC voters will accept from the next AG- the one they elect?" WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT???

    OF COURSE HE WOULDNT SETTLE WITH HIM HE SPEARHEADED THE WHOLE MESS THRU THE COCKSUCKER RUNNING FOR HARRY'S SEAT! BY THE WAY AT THE SAME TIME HE SETTLED WITH PARKS CONTRACT CREW EVEN WHEN THEY WERE STILL BEING INVESTIGATED AND HE WAS ADVISED NOT TO.

  37. #37

    Is it something I said? My post #19 has been "awaiting moderation" since 6:01 p.m. yesterday.

  38. #38

    There are several council members officially under investigation and there are a few more we should expect to be added to the list of open investigations. As low as the things HTJ is said to have done, he is not alone. There is an epic problem with poor behavior on this council.

    A few people have pointed out illegal and/or questionable actions in the Fenty administration. You have a current council chair who appears to be as spiteful as some said Fenty is. He took Wells' committee away because Wells pointed out truths about his Fully Loaded status.

    What, then, has changed?

    The people in DC deserve much more than these people are giving. It isn't solely an HTJ thing. It appears to be a council and mayor thing.

  39. #39

    Look folks, I don't understand the call for Harry Thomas to step down. The man has not been found guilty of anything. Yes, there are serious allegations against him but right now he remains innocent. What can be said is that he may have engaged in conduct which gives the appearance of financial impropriety. But, that argument can be made against several council members including Jim Graham whose chief of staff sits in jail. Again, I am deeply concerned with the obsession that some have to dismantle black leadership in this city. There is absolutely no credible way to explain the slap on the wrist that Graham received for his transgressions and the harsh treatment that Harry is now being subjected to.

  40. #40

    tony

    I respectfully disagree with you. There needs to be accountability at City Hall. Think about it; if you or I would have illegally taken that amount of money, we'd be in jail; period! This has nothing to do with dismantling black leadership. Black leaders in this area are sinking themselves. I am a black man born and raised in this city. Observing Kwame & Harry perform shamefully is disturbing. Before this incident I thought Harry Thomas should have resigned. He is not a good council member. Crime in Ward 5 is unbelievable. Harry Thomas was simply elected because of name recognition. His staff is poor at following up to constituents. They are only a reflection of their boss.

  41. #41

    Harry Thomas' claim that these funds were disallowed to a grantee is laughable. HTJ is delusional. Team Thomas is not a legitimate,properly registered 501 c 3 organization with the IRS and with the DC government. Second, Mr. Nathan sued HTJ indivdually and obtained a consent judgment against HTJ personally not anyone else or any other entity. The settlement itsellf is an admission. People who settle lawsuits do not agree to repay $300,000 personally if they have done nothing wrong.

    Mr. Nathan does not audit grant funds. He intitutes litigation on behalf of DC residents to recoup money owed to us or his office defends lawsuits brought against the District of Columbia.

    HTJ needs to resign so that Ward 5 can have a special election and get someone who will represent them on the City Council. Where are the other 11 Council people's calls for HTJ's resignation? Where is the outrage?

    Mendelson's statement that it is difficult to criticsm someone you work with is ridiculous. Memdoldon is an elected at a large member of the City Council and his obligation is to represent DC residents not feel sorry for Thomas.

  42. #42

    @Honest Abe, I clearly hear your frustration as it concern the quality of service that our leaders are providing. And, I agree that if Harry Thomas does not perform in the best interest of his constituency than they should hold him accountable in the next election. However, I can't abide by the notion of a gay white male from Dupont Circle interfering with the residents of Ward 5 business. It's the residents of Ward 5 who should determine the fate of their leader. Moreover, I think that anyone who steal city monies should be held accountable, but Harry Thomas has not been found guilty of stealing any monies. He must be afforded the same presumption of innocent that everyone else receives. I am convinced that black leaders are being unfairly attacked for engaging in the same practices that white politicians have engaged in for years. Lastly, every black council member in this city is the target of some form of investigation. I mean every last one. And, every council member that David Catania has ask to resign has been black. He sought Marion Barry resignation. Now, he's asking Harry Thomas to resign. If we agree that the investigations into the practices of only black politicians are justified, then we must also agree that black politicians are more corrupt than their white counterparts. I am sorry, but this black man will never adopt such a plantation mentality.

  43. #43

    @ Mary: Agree with your #40 as to the silent 11 (plus the mayor). Mendo's statement, in particular, was lame. I expected far more from him on issues affecting the council's integrity.

    As to Harry "cashier check" Thomas' bizarre assertion he did no wrong, think of it this way. If two cars collide at an intersection, totalling both vehicles, and one driver agrees to pay for the other driver's replacement car, no sane person would view that payment as anything other than an admission. In my view, HT's agreement to pay back 300k and cough up another 50k in property will likely be admissible in the criminal proceedings against him. After all, the feds weren't party to DC's settlement.

  44. #44

    ...chuckling at the armchair lawyers & jurors. Lots of passion, little understanding of the fundamentals. As a former prosecutor I have to agree with Tony. Lack of investigative balance threatens legitimacy of criminal justice system & politicians (not that there's ever been much). Jim Graham ain't suspicious because he's white or gay, but he's damn sure suspicious. Evans' law firm clients and Fenty's audited school modernization $cheme & HIV contract$ are where some of the real money is... Thomas is a sideshow and a diversion.
    Evidential analysis by #34 & #40 are off-base. Settlement neither helps US prosecution nor serves as any legal admission. While criminal schemes are often facilitated & concealed by administrative irregularities, not all administrative irregularities are criminal. Likewise, not all failures to recognize legitimate tax liabilities are criminal. That's why IRS has comprehensive set of non-criminal sanctions to use.
    While an indictment may be likely, the presumption of innocence remains paramount. What the grand jury will never see is the parade of parents whose kids participated in the coed baseball/softball clinics conducted by Team Thomas throughout Ward 5 and elsewhere, or the giddy kids traveling out of the District for their first time to a softball tournament in California or Georgia.

  45. #45

    "Evans' law firm clients and Fenty's audited school modernization $cheme & HIV contract$ are where some of the real money is... Thomas is a sideshow and a diversion."

    Chuckling is the operative word, dc5!

    Just noticed in "Politico" that Evans' law firm/lobby shop (Patton Boggs) is one of only a few that actually increased profits this year, mainly thanks to his faux maneuverings on behalf of the Breaux-Lott Group--while his firm was negotiating with BLG to merge!!!--earlier this year. Memba Evans' BS and bluster about bringing Lockheed (one of Breaux-Lott's biggest clients) into the District with one of his classic pieces of "emergency" legislation??

    The guy has balls. Ya gotta give him that.

  46. #46

    Just say NO to Mary Cheh and David Catania.

    "Even though corruption is a subject of passionate opinion and ethical freight, preventing it requires a
    strategy as coldly calculated as any other major innovation in a city’s policy or management. A strategy must go beyond moralizing, legalisms, and the bromide that
    corruption would not exist if only we all fulfilled our obligations. It must transcend the reflex to install new rules, new regulations, and new layers of review."

    As "drez" is always preaching, "Don't hate the players. Hate the game."

    "Focus on the institutions that create the incentives for corruption rather than on the character of those committing the act of corruption."

    http://www.fpdl.ro/public/training_manuals/CORRUPT%20CITIES/CORRUPT%20CITIES%20EN/EN%20Corrupt%20Cities.pdf

    Corrupt Cities
    A Practical Guide to Cure and Prevention
    Robert Klitgaard
    Ronald MacLean-Abaroa
    H. Lindsey Parris

  47. #47

    Harry and Crew are celebrating with two more friends, a virgin Jack D. and Coke.

  48. #48

    We love you Amy Winehouse!!!! Rest in Peace babydoll.

  49. #49

    Most of us would be hard pressed to come up with $50,000 cash payments. Wonder how our Harry is funding those payments?

  50. #50

    Until councilmembers are required to give up their "full time jobs" and be full-time councilmembers, there will always be conflicts of interest and other assorted shenanigans.

  51. #51

    Thank you DC5. Settlement is not admission of quilt.
    Let's go with that car accident example. Absolutely will your insurance company make a settlement offer to a bogus claim as it maybe he said/she said and the cost of settling is much less than litigation. This happens ALL the time. Please let's not confuse the meaning of these current events. HTJ needs to stay in office.

    While we are investigating, let's look everywhere.
    -Jim Graham; he knew what his chief of staff did and didn't report him or the bribe
    -T. Wells; what's going on with earmarks benefiting his big contributors?

    You can call it conspiracy theory if you want to but just because you're paranoid don't meant you aint bring followed!! I don't see these items followed in the Paper or a large outcry from these same councilmembers. I'm not advocating mass corruption; I am advocating fair treatment with investigations and the presumption of innocence where no verdict exists.

  52. #52

    I bet anywhere in here that brother Harry walks...Yes, the brother is going to walk just like Jim Graham walked. And, if you don't like it, you have options----Maryland is one side of the border and Virginia is on other side.

  53. #53

    @ #51: You're obviously not a lawyer, at least not one who litigates accident cases.

    No insurance company in recorded history has paid 350k to settle a frivolous claim without even answering the lawsuit complaint.

    "HTJ needs to stay in office?" Why? Because you're part of his crew? His family? A creditor? It's all a mistake?

    As for Graham, yeah he needs to go. Been saying so for years. The fact that no other CM's, including HTJ, seem to care about Graham's ethics/wrongdoing doesn't excuse HTJ's thievery.

  54. #54

    WORTH A SECOND POST!

    While we are investigating, let's look everywhere.
    -Jim Graham; he knew what his chief of staff did and didn't report him or the bribe
    -T. Wells; what's going on with earmarks benefiting his big contributors?

    "You can call it conspiracy theory if you want to but just because you're paranoid don't meant you aint being followed!! I don't see these items followed in the Paper or a large outcry from these same councilmembers. I'm not advocating mass corruption; I am advocating fair treatment with investigations and the presumption of innocence where no verdict exists"

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