Loose Lips

Feds Charge HTJ Associate

The U.S. Attorney's office has just charged Marshall Banks for having knowledge of and concealing disgraced former Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.'s theft of public funds. Banks is the president of the Langston 21st Century Foundation, a nonprofit that Thomas used to do most of his stealing.

You may recall from last summer's civil suit by Attorney General Irv Nathan that Thomas directed a $400,000 earmark for "youth baseball" to Langston 21, then had the organization pay him most of that money, which Thomas spent on an Audi and other luxuries. Banks cooperated with that investigation and agreed, along with Langston 21's other principal Jimmy Garvin, to pay the city back $86,000.

Today's charge comes in the form of an information filing, which indicates that Banks is probably agreeing to a plea deal. The technical charge against Banks is a "misprision of a felony," which is itself a felony not to be punished by more than three years in prison. His attorney was not immediately available for comment. Banks is set to appear in court tomorrow.

That the feds are going after Banks indicates that U.S. Attorney Ron Machen isn't going to go soft on those who helped Thomas steal. Today's charge ought to be worrisome to the others involved in the Thomas fisaco, especially the two other unnamed organizations that court records indicate gave Thomas kickbacks.

Here's the (rather boring) charging document:

  • Honest Abe

    Diane Romo Thomas should be next! How could she not know what he was doing.

  • One that cares

    Word on the street is that she would have been if HTJ had not pled guilty.

  • Anonymous

    How about all of those who provided the mechanisms by which Jim "Taxi Cash" Graham did most of his stealing over many, many years. The taxi cash, the upside down and sideways Whitman Walker real estate deals, the arts and antiquities thefts....and yet he still walks.

  • truth hurts

    Wanna start a pool on how many people/entities from yesterday's LL "Fallout" blog get charged by the Feds?

    I'll pick first. I'm betting 4 total (including Banks).

  • NE John

    Pop goes the weasel

  • NE John

    Anonymous, please provide me with the evidence you have that will convict Elton John, and I will forward it to the District Attorney's office ASAP.

  • Wrack

    Is anyone else stunned and bewildered by the fact that Gray hasn't fired Millicent West yet?

  • DJ Ren

    Hi Wrack, you must be new to One City. Welcome! Vince is a little slow on the uptake - you'll get used to it...

  • SEis4ME

    Wrack, I'm not sure but I imagine it's the same reason Natwar Ghandi wasn't fired under the previous administration after a fact-finding mission CONCLUDED that employees that worked under him milked the city for 100k's.

  • shining the light

    Ghandi can't be fires he can only not be appointed again. It's not that simple unfortunately folks don't pay attention to these little things called rules and laws.

  • DJ Ren

    @STK, thanks.

    @SEis4ME, I think it was actually more than 100k's under Ghandi.

  • SEis4ME

    hunh? Who appoints him, a committee? I thought the mayor was responsible for the "appointment."

    Maybe you can do us idiots a favor and post the rule/law that allows DC CFO's to remain on a job, w/o recourse, up until the expiration of his/her term? Thanks

    Here I was thinking that a paid political "appointment" meant that you served at the behest of the appointing body..such as the president..or mayor. Silly me.

  • SEis4ME

    @DJREN, yes..it was 100's of k's and he kept his job during the "Divided City" era that started in 2007.

  • Ward5Kathy

    From D.C.'s Home Rule Charter: "...the Chief Financial Officer shall serve at the pleasure of the Mayor, except that the Chief Financial Officer may only be removed for cause."

    It's not too much of a stretch to put together enough lapses of financial oversight to constitute "cause" in my mind. Not sure why Fenty reappointed Nat Gandhi or why Gray allows him to continue as CFO.

  • Truth hurts

    I was under the impression that a new mayor (such as Gray) had the authority to keep (or not) the CFO, perhaps with council concurrence. I'm no fan of Gandhi's, but I'm not sure the comparison is a good one. Did he cut checks to a straw entity?

  • cminus

    I think the reason Gray has kept Gandhi is that Gandhi is taken very seriously on Wall Street. Someone with a sufficiently cynical mind could argue that this is just further evidence that Wall Street is run by crooks and bunglers, but it doesn't really matter -- whether it's justified or not, having Gandhi as CFO probably does save the District millions of dollars annually in financing costs.

  • Anonymous, Too

    Nat Gandhi also knows where all the various skeletons are buried. Figures don't lie, but liars do figure.

  • watchingtoo

    David Pinder is a good man!

    I was fooled by the DC teachers union and by the time I realized that I was so damn angry at myself. The teachers union was deliberatley trying to use Mckinley kids and others as human shields by always trying to get them to rally for them even if that meant the kids got physically harmed by police. That alone taught me that the union did not and never will give a crap about the black student or any student.

    Transportation funds for needy kids only were stolen by Sheila Gill who worked at Mckinley Tech. and her thug crowd. Dealing with most of the black educaters in DC was disgusting as they realy did not care anything for kids in any way shape or form. Anyone who was black in DC that had anything to do with education and/or funds for education and kids I knew was a bad fit for the black child or so I learned the hard way.

    I will miss David Pinder and I feel horrified for the kids if they get a black principal, absolutley horrified. Pinder was one of the greatest principals I had ever encountered as he realy cared for the black child far more than the blacks in DC ever could or would. He dealt with alot when having to deal with the kind of staff he had to encounter. I hope he comes out of this trouble others are making for him. Sheil Gill should have been fired along with the others. She was responsible for stealing transportation funds for the needy along with a few others and they gave those funds to thug mothers like their-selves. She is not spotless and she should not be given a dime. Her lawsuit should be dismissed again once and for all.

  • Mr. Remember

    I too said the same thing about the wife. C'mon now all of this money coming into the household and you're not aware. What, you don't wear bra and panties so stuffing it in there was null and void? I will say it again, you mean to tell me all the luxury items belonged to HTJ and not one diamond ring, mink coat, spa treatment or Vuitton purse in the inventory. Highly suspect.

    Now, unless the funds was spent on the hidden girlfriend.

  • Ward 5 Kathy

    You are correct, but the Mayor according to our laws does not have ground to remove the CFO. It would have to be done by Congressional Mandate at this point unlike most other Departmental positions considering that there is legally is no just cause to remove him.

  • rosesdc

    Short memories, folks? The CFO's fixed term and "removal only for cause" were intended to remove political influence from that position, keep it independent of the whims of mayors and council.
    I think that came as an extra assurance of fiscal responsibility after the Control Board.

    I sure hope the electorate has very strong whims this coming season with those we can fire at the ballot box.

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