Key Figure in TeamThomasGate Says He Hasn’t Talked To Feds
A key figure in the Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.'s alleged fraudulent misuse of city funds says he's not been interviewed by any federal law enforcement officials, raising questions about when, or even if, Thomas will face federal charges.
Jimmy Garvin, a well-known golf instructor and program director at Langston Golf Course, says he's not been contacted by the FBI or the U.S. Attorney's office regarding Thomas. Garvin played a prominent role in the D.C. Attorney General's investigation into Thomas and the Team Thomas organizations, and the fact that Garvin has not been interviewed has raised some eyebrows in city government about the intensity in which the U.S. Attorney's Office is pursuing its case against Thomas. The Post recently quoted anonymous sources saying that Thomas is currently the subject of a grand jury investigation.
Looking at Attorney General Irv Nathan's investigation, Garvin would seem like someone the feds might want to talk to. According to a civil lawsuit filed by the AG this summer, Thomas steered a $400,000 city earmark for "youth baseball" to Langston 21st Century Foundation, on whose board Garvin sits. Sometime in 2007 or 2008, Thomas, Garvin, and Langston 21's board president Marshall Banks, "met to review an application" for the earmark with the understanding that Team Thomas would do the work and receive the money, but neither its name nor Thomas' name would appear anywhere on the application, according the A.G.'s office.
Thomas' council office then allegedly submitted phony budget narratives to the agency that controlled the earmark (The Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation) on Langston 21's behalf, and told the CYITC to write checks to Langston 21 "c/o Jimmy Garvin," the lawsuit says. Once the CYITC paid Langston 21, Thomas instructed Garvin to hand over the money, the AG's lawsuit says. The lawsuit lays out how two days after Thomas received the first $75,000 from from Langston 21, he allegedly headed out to Tisher Audi in Silver Spring to buy himself a $69,000 luxury SUV.
When Nathan brought his lawsuit against Thomas in June, he announced that Garvin and Banks had agreed to pay the city back $86,000, money that Langston 21 had been paid from the original earmark. Nathan also noted that they both "promised to cooperate" in the District's case against Thomas.
Thomas, we all know, proclaimed his innocence and vowed the vigorously fight the civil suit before quietly agreeing this summer to repay the city $300,000 to settle it, instead.
LL's efforts to find out if the feds have been talking to others involved in the Team Thomas matter didn't get very far. Thomas has declined to talk about the case. When LL asked Ellen London, president of the CYITC, if she'd been interviewed by anyone, she said, "Umm ..." gave an awkward laugh, and said she'd call LL back. London called back to say that she had no comment either way. Former Thomas staffer Victoria Leonard (who now works for Council Chairman Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown) also wouldn't say either way, and declined to say if she's hired an attorney. Leonard played a key role in trying to raise funds from corporate donors for Team Thomas. Thomas aide Neil Rodgers, who emails obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request show acted as a go-between Langston 21 and the CYITC, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. And Manning did not return calls seeking comment.
As for the feds, U.S. Attorney Ron Machen said a few weeks ago that his office is moving aggressively in its investigation into alleged local corruption matters. His spokesman declined to comment on Garvin's statement.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery