Loose Lips

Harry Thomas Jr. Still Has Supporters

Federal prosecutors have charged Ward 5 D.C. Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. with felony counts of theft and filing false tax returns. All week, rumors built that Thomas' lawyers were negotiating a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney's Office, which would have Thomas resign his seat and go to prison in exchange for a shorter sentence. Even so, his Facebook wall has been filled with positive messages from supporters.

Take a look here:

  • B-DC

    What a bunch of dumb fucks, seriously...

  • LastStop

    Ahhh, yes, the City Paper wishes that EVERYONE crucify Mr. Thomas and cast him to hell. When the City Paper doesn't get it's wishes, they attempt to demonize those who support the fallen. Understanding that moral support doesn't equate to support of illegal activity. Mr. Thomas does have 5 innocent children that will be impacted by whatever sanctions occur.

    This piece is wrongminded, though understandable, considering the source journalist.

  • Blevins

    Wow. The headline should read: idiots will be idiots. Or is it onecitidots will still be onecitidiots?

  • http://twitter.com/monkeyrotica monkeyrotica

    Mr. Thomas does have 5 innocent children that will be impacted by whatever sanctions occur.

    Something to keep in mind BEFORE you go around strangling midget hookers with a belt.

  • Mike Madden

    @ LastStop:

    What demonizing? The point of this was to show that he's still got support. That's all.

  • Progentrification

    What is wrong is stealing 353,500 worth of taxpayer dollars.

    Good riddance HTJ. Ward 5 is looking up!

  • Really?

    Wow! You added their names and pics.

  • Mike Madden

    @ Really:

    They posted them publicly on Facebook. I didn't "add" them, I imported them from there.

  • SEis4ME

    I must admit, it's rather unsettling, Mike, that you actually thought it would be a good idea not just to troll Thomas' fb page but to post comments of support.

    Let's be honest, there are very few "criminals" in the world who don't maintain support from at least somebody..even if it were a family member. Forgive us for not believing your bs about "we're just showing he still has support" as if under any other circumstance that would have been different. Of course he still has support. D'uh!

  • Mike Madden

    @SEis4ME --

    That page is completely public. You don't have to "like" Harry Thomas Jr. on Facebook to see it. Not every D.C. politician would still have support in similar circumstances; Thomas is more popular among his constituents than many others are, which is part of the reason he's still in office today even after the Nathan lawsuit last year. (I suspect there wouldn't be a big outpouring on Facebook for, say, Jack Evans if federal prosecutors charged him with something.)

    If people don't want their Facebook comments to be available publicly, they shouldn't post them on pages that are available publicly.

    In fact, when I posted a similar item on the day the FBI and IRS raided Thomas' house, no one seemed to have a problem with it.

  • LastStop

    Poor taste. A testament to the journalist. Whether it be legal or not.

  • Really?


    Come on man! you and I know that many people aren’t aware that there messages as well as pic can be publicized by a news organization. It's just wrong and slimy

  • Typical DC BS

    Just another example of how idiotic HTJ AND HIS SUPPORTERS are.

  • Isn’t It Obvious

    @ Mike Madden,

    I have no problem with the article or the facebook pics and statements. I think it is important to show that despite his transgressions people still support him. Heck, Moses was a murderer and all everyone seems to remember about him was that he freed the Hebrews.

    I personally do not condone the conduct of Mr. Thomas, but I do not intend to kick him while he is down. The problem as I see it is, yes, HTJ did wrong, but there are too many people living in glass houses throwing stones at him? Someone might not have stolen $300K, but trust and believe that they have done something aweful in their respective lives for which they needed forgiveness and understanding. And, someone, maybe even the victim showed them some mercy.

  • SEis4ME

    @Mike, I really don't like to have my intelligence insulted.

    I'm not even arguing whether info posted on FB is public. Please give me enough credit for knowing that much about online privacy. I didn't need you to clarify that.

    I totally disagree with you. EVERY DC pol (including Evans) would have some level of support even under the same scenario. That's a fact of human nature. Somebody will wish you well. Hell, I'm sure even Dan Snyder supporters wished him well even in his fkd up attempt to sue WCP.

    My issue is YOUR decision to post fb comments of HT supporters and pass that off as "in the public interest" when in fact, it's not. Why you think he "wouldn't" have some level of support is beyond me.

    I can't argue for what people did or didn't do in your previous post but I can assure you that there wasn't a response from me.

    Credible news sources refuse to publish the same sort of stories that the National Enquirer does. So while you were well w/in your right to post it, you weren't required to and because you weren't, I don't think you should have.

    This is no different than when the Examiner defended itself against charges of being shytty when they posted the name of the juvenile wrongly accused of participating in a murder. They "chose" to do what others refused.

    Sorry dude, this is a WTF moment in WCP journalism.

  • Southeast Ken

    Is Cherita 16 inch fingernails Whiting still one of Harry's supporters?

  • StrangeFruit

    @ Mike,

    Let's be clear, your point for posting the comments, names--including pictures in living color--of Thomas' facebook supporters is to feed into the stereotype that DC's Black constituent base isn't intelligent or responsible enough to be given the privilege of electing or supporting whomever they please.

    Case in point, when Fenty was defeated the media, including the City Paper, attributed his demise to Black folk voting based on emotions and not substance.

    OK Mickey, let's give credence to your rationale for the knight raid on Thomas' facebook supporter; if it's true, then why didn't you just post the comments and exclude their pictures!

  • Mike Madden

    @ StrangeFruit:

    That's how Storify, the app we used to cull the comments, works. There's no way to just take the comments and not the photos. It's a quick and easy way to grab comments on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter and put them in a blog post.

    And speaking of Fenty, what I wrote about his "demise" was that he brought it on himself.

  • Ward 1 Voter

    Black people are weird about stuff like this. Any kind of adversity, whether self-inflicted or otherwise, gets met with an earnest and overwhelming outpouring of support from other black people. White people aren't like that, even with people they're actually close to. Different strokes, I guess.

    But honestly, someone urging him to remember that when one door closes, another one opens or to keep the faith seems inappropriately cheery. You say those things to someone who just lost his job, or just got dumped by his girlfriend. HTJ stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the kids of Ward 5, and will be going to prison for that, and will have to live with his conviction for the rest of his life. Maybe it would be better, and more honest, for people to save their messages of support for his family and stay silent when it comes to him.

  • SEis4ME

    There's no way to just take the comments and not the photos

    I think I might just owe an apology...of sorts

    Black people are weird about stuff like this...Different strokes, I guess.

    I think that's a somewhat accurate thing to say. There is a sort of tribalism within the black community. W/o getting too much into history, it's worth mentioning that according to the 2010 US Census, the numbers for those who identified themselves as white and black were 223million/38...72%/13.

    I say "somewhat" because it's a stretch to say any kind of adversity. You've been in the city long enough to know that black people have long aired their grievances with each other. What you're really talking about is your perception based on a stereotype. These are the same sort of stereotypes that many people have about jewish, gay, christian, muslim et. al. You can always find some idiot or even several willing to engage in tomfoolery..in every group. Heard Ron Paul or Rick Santorum lately?

    Initially my head spun on its axis when you talked about the "inappropriateness of wishes of good faith" but I realize that you likely really weren't trying to be offensive, you just don't get it. Just as sure as the blood pours through our veins, so are we a praying and forgiving people. Just can't get away from it. We've always had to be.

    If you take anything from this, please keep those census numbers in mind and ask yourself whether...shy of 50 years after it was made illegal to discriminate against us...is our tribalism (to the extent there is) unwarranted?

  • drez

    Three generations ago, one side of my family lived in an insular German community. It was a town for and of Germans, located in the midwest region of the USA. They didn't speak English at home. Their birth certificates, marriage certificates, and death certificates were all written in German. This continued to some extent until World Ward 2, when speaking German in the USA was, shall we say, unhealthy. My mom was the last of my family to be taught any German, and that ended when she was very young.
    I fucking hate Hitler.

  • SEis4ME

    DREZ, what a compelling story. If you don't mind me asking, why did you chose to share it?

  • Ward 1 Voter

    SE, you're right that "*any* kind of adversity" is too strong. If HTJ had been engaged in some Jerry Sandusky-like behavior with black boys, there might not be such an outpouring of support. Similar kinds of beyond-the-pale offenses probably exist.

    And I do recognize that there are some very good reasons why black people have stuck together for mutual self-defense, and that the justice system has been used frequently and unjustly against black people.

    I would suggest, though, that the tribalism can be harmful as well as helpful. From my liberal white-guy perspective, black tribalism often looks like a deliberate rejection of mainstream (okay, middle-class white) values.

    I can go along with that only to the point where it looks like it's hurting the wider community. The rule of law may be and have been unevenly applied, but rather than using that to rationalize away punishment for criminal activity, we should be working to make sure justice works fairly.

    Corruption and incompetence in government eats away like cancer at the good stuff that an effective, honest government can do. The ritual defense of obviously corrupt and/or incompetent politicians signals to me and people like me a contempt for effective, honest government and the people like me who want that.

    That's why people like HTJ (and the people who reflexively defend people like HTJ) make us seethe. Thanks for letting me vent.

  • drez

    Sorry. I thought the analogy was clear.
    No worries. You've got a long year ahead of you to figure it out.

  • SEis4ME

    @Ward1, you will never hear any arguments from me suggesting that tribalism is always a good thing. I don't think that it is ever "always" a good thing. But keep in mind we're talking about perception vs. reality and IMO, that usually manifests itself according to the levels of power. That is, if you're 70% of the population, it's easier to make assumptions/have false perceptions about everyone else. By the same, when you're 13%, it's much easier to make assumptions/have false perceptions about the 70%.

    I'm not sure to what extent black values aren't white mainstream values. I believe that there is more of a perception among many that there's a distinction. But there really isn't. IMO, it's all in the numbers. It's easier to assume that "blacks" don't share these values when 3 out of 13% act like fools. It's also easier to assume that "whites" have it easier because (let's say) 3 of 70% act like fools.

    In this case, wishing Thomas well is not rationalizing criminal activity. It's doing what humans have always done even during the times when people were actively used the bible to rationalize the "good intentions" of those who thought that my parent and grandparents shouldn't have the same rights as the larger white minority.

    I don't think we'll ever get to the point where the hairs on some of our backs don't spike when we feel offended. But we can always work on it. You hit on that when you talk about your "reflexive reaction." We all have it. I notice it when I hear people create new standards for Obama that haven't been followed throughout the history of the united states..silly stuff such as the need to show his birth certificate. By no stretch of the imagination do I believe that all white people feel this way..or even a majority. But, it's easier to make assumptions contrary when you tune in and see people encouraging the story..just by covering it.

    Venting is good for the soul and done best when there's an attentive and open ear.

  • SEis4ME

    @Drez, I thought the sensitive nature of the dialogue required a little civility.

    But since you didn't think so, I'll move forward through the year assuming that you really weren't trying to draw an analogy between my mother and father not being able to shop in a store or drink out of the same fountains or use the same restrooms as the larger minority just 50 yrs ago AND your family's history (on one side) of not being able to speak English.

  • drez

    Good assumption, since the topic is how criminals impact society, not our parents, all of whom (I'm sure) are and were fine upstanding people.
    *rolls eyes*

  • SEis4ME

    Yet you chimed in talking about your three-generations past history? And that had what to do w/criminals? Maybe you wrote all that just to point out that Hitler was a criminal who impacted US society.

    *staring you in the face*

  • john duh

    c'mon. his point was that he is german, his parents were german, hitler was german, but he doesn't go posting well wished on hitler's facebook wall because of some "brotherhood" of germans.


  • Ward 1 Voter

    I probably didn't explain myself very well. There's a certain restorative quality to the humiliation of a public figure who has done wrong. Remember the yearning for the sight of Karl Rove being frog-marched off to prison?

    HTJ, for what he has done, deserves to be humiliated. I don't give a damn about his feelings, and to the extent that his family is hurt by that humiliation is on HTJ's ledger, not the public's. He owns this hurt, not us.

    What alarms me -- and for the sake of clarity I'm just going to speak for me -- is that in all the well-wishing and these long months of people speaking out in his defense, what was completely absent was any sense that HTJ had done something wrong and should be punished for it. All the happy "judge not lest thee be judged" and "no weapon formed against thee shall prosper" talk effectively is an attempt to absolve the guilty party of his guilt, or to compartmentalize it so that there's this sweet, pure, innocent HTJ who couldn't possibly have done anything wrong, and then the crimes he's been accused of and has now finally admitted to, and there's some weird, nebulous connection between the two.

    That's wrong. HTJ is guilty of some pretty bad stuff. He's a bad person for what he did, not someone who just suffered a minor, temporary setback. Bad people deserve punishment, not affirmations of how blessed and loved they are. After the punishment, after the genuine remorse, after the atonement, sure. Welcome back to the tribe, you who strayed from us. But not the happy talk.

    It's that lack of perspective that troubles me, and has troubled me for some time. For the people who've been defending HTJ and wishing him well these last few months, it seems like everything is a hustle. A DC Council gig becomes a high-level, Hooters-and-Audi-SUV kind of hustle. For them, ethical behavior, the rule of law, and good government are all just meaningless cudgels with which Whitey smacks around anyone who challenge him or displease him. Good hustlers avoid those swats, while bad hustlers get swatted. That attitude is what makes me seethe.

    Thanks, SEis4ME, for the kind words and the healthy conversation. I hope I've made myself more clear.

  • SEis4ME

    @john, and you think that comparing Thomas to Hitler all under the auspices of "brotherhood" is a better clarification? Hitler, who ordered people (identified by tatooed numbers) into concentration camps and slaughtered? Maybe you should leave the discussion between Ward 1 and I because under any other circumstance, it would be highly inappropriate to make ANYTHING analogous to Hitler.

  • Drez

    There's also the facet of the analogy where Hitler ended up being Germany's worst enemy and harming even those who were not German but were of German decent, but since the simpler points seem lost on SEis4ME, I doubt this finer one- though it's certainly germane is probably lost on him too.

  • SEis4ME

    @Ward 1, I think Thomas is being humiliated -- all self-inflicted.

    Believe it or not, I understand what you are saying but it still goes back to perception and that reflexive reaction. Yes, I understand we're talking about a criminal act but can you honestly say that "most" white people called for his resignation? I don't think so. Maybe most white republicans did..but not dems. Again, tribalism..just because.

    I wouldn't doubt at all that Thomas has received well wishes but I just can't force myself to be believe they are out of proportion to what happens in any other group. It just seems that way. I personally don't know any black person who (although might wish him well) think there is anything good about what Thomas has done to the city and his own family...I just don't. I do know that our natural human reaction is to defend against what we consider disproportionate attacks, whether they have a factual basis or not. Again, it's human nature and it might not always show us in our best light. But it exists everywhere.

    Think of the reactions of Obama (die hard) supporters who will not, seemingly under no circumstance, accept any criticism of the President....warranted or not. Or closer to home, Tommy Wells. It's the Marion Barry dynamic. I wonder if most nonblacks you know think that most blacks support Barry. It ain't true but the suggestion often finds itself inserted whenever the topic arises.

    Chances are, his church (assuming he attends) will offer prayers for him come Sunday morning.

    BTW, I think it's worth mentioning that it's likely that many whites only think we reject white mainstream values when we don't agree. Hence, the Adrian Fenty dynamic when it was assumed (perception) that we can't possibly be concerned about the city (education, transit, crime etc) and not vote for him.

  • SEis4ME

    Oh and yes, I understand you and was offended by the discussion

  • SEis4ME

    WOW! That should be I was NOT offended by the discussion

  • drez

    FWIW, it's good to see that side of you, SEis4ME.
    Adds character and depth.
    Not that you needed or wanted me to say it.

  • SEis4ME

    Well thanks! No, I'm not just a potty-mouthed asshole. :)