Thomas Staffer’s Emails: Show Me the Money
Attorney A. Scott Bolden broke some news on Newstalk last Friday by divulging that he's now representing Neil Rodgers, a former aide to embattled Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.
Bolden said Rodgers isn't a target of the feds, but a "witness" in a "broad" investigation. Bolden also said the feds have been asking questions about the Children's Youth Investment Trust Corporation and its grantees. The CYITC was the vehicle, according to the District attorney general, through which Thomas funneled more than $300,000 in city money to another organization, Langston 21, and then into his own pockets. (CYITC boss Ellen London did not respond to a request for comment.)
It just so happens that LL has an old FOIA response with some of the emails sent between Rodgers and staff at the CYITC. Here's a few things that jump out:
1) Rodgers spent much of his time making sure that the CYITC had all the paperwork it needed so Langston 21 could get paid. He sent budget overviews and quarterly reports to CYITC. "How soon can we get the first check," Rodgers wrote soon after the initial grant was awarded to Langston 21. When the money appeared to be held up, Rodgers sent emails to CYITC staff asking what other paperwork they needed to make the money flow.
2) CYITC did not appear picky when it came to writing large checks. No receipts were required by the organization to prove that Langston 21 was doing the good work it said it was. Instead, all Rodgers had to submit were vague quarterly reports that lacked any specifics, and, if the AG is telling the truth, were all made up. For instance, here's how Rodgers said Langston 21 spent $96,00 from July to September of 2008 to help 182 youth learn sports:
- Supplies, $6,000.
- Indirect cost: $9,600.
- Copying and registration information: $1,000
- Salaries and wages: $72,400
- Green fees, cart rentals, club house access: $7,000
3) Millicent West, now the director of the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, emailed with Rodgers a few times to discuss what paperwork Langston 21 had to submit in order to get its money. West was CEO of the CYITC during the time the organization was funding Langston 21. West did not immediately return an email seeking comment.
4) Rodgers routinely kept Thomas in the loop via email. Right after Rodgers asked London when the first check was going to be available, Rodgers wrote Thomas: "Their general counsel is checking to see if two signatures are enough or whether they need board approval, due to the amount. Am awaiting her call-back with confirmation, but she is aggressively working on it now."