Loose Lips

Who Do You Trust?

Blame Adrian Fenty for Harry Thomas Jr. Scandal?

In the last few years, Danita Doleman has done pretty well winning city contracts. Her consulting business, Camille Consulting Group Inc., has gotten more than $1.2 million in District business since 2004, mostly from the city’s technology office. Her nonprofit, Youth Technology Institute, has pulled in another $125,000 from the city’s human services department.

Youth Technology Institute also won $175,000 in city money from the Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation, tax records show. Except it didn’t get to hold on to that money for long. A statement of offense signed by disgraced former Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. tells how Youth Technology Institute spent $120,000 of the CYITC money in 2009: $5,000 went to Thomas as a kickback on a $10,000 grant, and more than $100,000 was wired to the D.C. Young Democrats to help pay for an inaugural party at the Wilson Building.

Sources confirmed to LL last week that Doleman and her group are among the people and organizations identified only by number in court records connected to Thomas’ case, filed earlier this month when he pleaded guilty to two federal felony charges for stealing more than $350,000 from the District and failing to report it on his income taxes.

Doleman did not respond to a request for comment. She was assigned a federal public defender in connection with the Thomas case in November, court records show. She hasn’t been charged with any crime, and her lawyer declined to comment.

What makes Doleman’s role in the Thomas scandal more interesting is that for a brief period about a year ago, she worked as a $125,000-a-year senior policy manager at the D.C. Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. That same department is headed by Millicent West, who previously ran the Children & Youth Investment Trust Corporation. West, court records show, approved the trust’s six-figure payment to Youth Technology Institute to cover the inaugural party costs. West has denied any wrongdoing in the Thomas affair; she declined to comment about Doleman’s tenure as a city employee.

But Wilson Building sources say West has a good explanation for how she got mixed up in the whole thing: It’s Adrian Fenty’s fault!

Sources say West has told Mayor Vince Gray’s aides that someone in the former mayor’s administration (LL didn’t get a name) forced West to place Doleman at the homeland security agency. After Gray took over, West’s story goes, she fired Doleman. Council records show that Doleman left the agency sometime in February or March of last year.

LL’s been unable to find anyone who can speak to Doleman’s connection to Fenty, who did not respond to a request for comment. Records show that Doleman was appointed early in the Fenty administration to serve as a member of the Small and Local Business Opportunity Commission. If West’s story is true, the links between Fenty and the Thomas fiasco don’t stop with Doleman. Fenty picked West to run the CYITC, and also appointed her to the homeland security job. And it was under Fenty’s watch, several observers say, that the CYITC became a de facto slush fund for city politicians to direct money to their favorite organizations.

Last year, the Washington Post detailed how Fenty’s former City Administrator Neil Albert made a call to West to secure a $400,000 grant for Peaceoholics, the anti-youth violence nonprofit founded by Fenty’s most vocal backer, Ron Moten. Just before the 2010 mayoral election, the Fenty administration tried, but failed, to get additional funding for Peaceoholics through the CYITC.

Fenty also appointed loyalists to the trust’s board who—as far as LL can tell—had no business being there, including Lisa Simpson, the former chair of the board. Simpson’s main qualification appears to have been being married to one of Fenty’s running buddies.

Moten, who is running for the Ward 7 council seat as a Republican, tells LL that the trust was a useful tool to get his organization money quickly when it needed to do emergency gang interventions, but that he still had to compete for most of the CYITC grants Peaceoholics received. Moten adds that unlike Thomas, he never stole the money.

A good point, but if Fenty was telling the CYITC who to fund, it’s easy to see why councilmembers, including Thomas, thought they should be able to do the same thing. The Post article detailing Albert’s call also reported that city politicians directed $15 million in earmarks or designated grants through the CYITC to their favorite groups in the past four years, much of it after the council banned earmarks in 2009.

That’s a far cry from how the CYITC should be operating. Founded during former Mayor Anthony Williams’ administration as a public/private partnership, the trust was supposed to operate independently, using city funds to leverage large charitable donations to fund the city’s most deserving youth-oriented nonprofits. But without any measure of independence, the trust hasn’t been able to find many private dollars of late; the most recent tax records show it receiving 97 percent of its funding from the city.

Max Skolnik, a Ward 4 council candidate who runs the nonprofit Kid Power Inc. and is a member of the D.C. Alliance of Youth Advocates, says he and others in the nonprofit world met and warned every councilmember, as well as CYITC officials, against all the political meddling.

“We all knew what was going on,” he says, adding that those warnings fell mostly on deaf ears.

Still, Skolnik says, the trust funds plenty of deserving organizations and is worth trying to save.

“The problem wasn’t the trust,” says Skolnik. “The problem was the political manipulation of the trust.”

Maybe. But it didn’t take long for LL to find plenty of eyebrow-raising issues with the trust besides what’s already been brought to light by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

For instance, the trust’s publicly available tax records include what’s supposed to be a list of all the organizations it funds each year. But there’s no mention of any payment to Langston 21st Century Foundation, the nonprofit Thomas used to do most of his stealing. (Langston 21 principals Marshall Banks and Jimmy Garvin both pleaded guilty in recent days to concealing Thomas’ thievery.)

There’s also the big money the trust has paid those working for it. In fiscal year 2008, the trust’s CEO made $266,404 in total compensation, the vice-president of finance made $180,676, and a Maryland-based consulting firm, The Hatcher Group was paid $188,000 for communications work, tax records show. Those payments decreased somewhat in subsequent years, but the current CEO, Ellen London, is still making well north of $150,000, according to the most recent tax records.

Then there’s the case of Thandor Miller, a senior trainer at the trust whose wife just happens to run a nonprofit that regularly wins grants from the CYITC. The Washington Enrichment and Cultural Arts Network, Inc., based in Ward 7, won a piece of an anti-gang grant for Ward 5 that Thomas directed the fund to send to his preferred organizations. Miller and his wife did not return multiple calls seeking comment.

The trust has also declined to respond to LL’s questions. But it won’t be able to stonewall the council, which is now trying to figure out how to fix things. Shortly after Thomas pleaded guilty, Council Chairman Kwame “Fully Loaded” Brown said he wanted to see the trust shut down. He backed down almost immediately when his colleagues protested. No need to close it, they said; the D.C. Council will find a way to save it.

And if the idea that same group of politicians who abused the trust now says they’re going to fix it strikes you as absurd, rest assured, you’re not the only the one.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

Got a tip for LL? Send suggestions to lips@washingtoncitypaper.com. Or call (202) 650-6951.

Comments

  1. #1

    Interesting. Good stuff.

  2. #2

    I agree, Julio.

  3. #3

    I don't see any race baiting here! This is getting to the truth. Fenty didn't care that people took money from the public fisc, as long as they supported him. He paid highly unqualified people lots and lots of money and got away with it because he was Fenty. All I can say is, dig deeper....

    As for Ron Moten, I remember watching a hearing about Peaceaholics where young men and women were testifying about all that Peaceaholics had done for them, and I remember how one young man said that Ron Moten could always be counted on to pay his overdue cell phone bill! I seriously doubtthat the CYIT was set up to play cell phone bills! There is just a hint of what Moten did with the money..

  4. #4

    just like all of Alan's other articles on this topic - how do you not see his obvious racism. He is saying negative things about people who are not white. He is White. See it now? Duh.

  5. #5

    WOW!! Just cut the lights on and watch the roaches scatter!!

    @ Julio Martinez, it is a CATCH 22.......

    A bunch of buogee n*ggerz POVERTY PIMPn' kids, poor and the vulnerable!

    THOUSANDS of kids are shoeless, clueless and moraless while HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of $$$s changed hands for favors, trickin' and GREED under the consumate house n*gger FENTY while in OFFICE but he gets a pass!

    CITY YOUTH are armed like they are in the military and these coward n*ggerzs are/were stealing REAL GOOD!

    MOTEN AIN'T SHIT, OL' FAKE ASS GEECHIE DAN ASS N*GGER out here fakN while this past weekend we did a video shoot in SE and approx. 16 out of 35 youth between the ages of 11 and 16 whipped out hammers = gats = burners = joints = pistols = G U N S "GUNS" while this fake ass bamma runs on a BOUGHT platform of REPUBLICAN when this dumb fukk don't know shit bout politics the 1st!! Got $$ now so he has arrived and belongs...republican, WOW!

    All this damn grant $$$ and all thes organizations I aint never heard of, seen or dealt with in my 30 years of service to YOUTH in this city!!! makes you wonder how long this thievery has been going on......

    No wonder our youth don't trust adults or political postering...can you blame them????

    All these assclowns need to be tarred and feathered.........we have definitely NOT been our brothas keeper in this town!

    So many bona fied organizations go underfunded or totally UNFUNDED WHILE THESE GREEDY ASS "Jue" N*GGERZ steal, rob and hurt their own!

    Shame on all involved, they need to be pranced down to the morgue to view YOUNG, lifeless bodies due to SENSELESS violence; MADE to sleep in a cell over DC jail for a week, hell just a weekend over central cell, FORCED to spend a day in a city shelter....

    Mother^&*%$#!!

  6. #6

    It's ridiculous to suggest this blog has anything to do with race. In fact, LL links to an eight month old WaPo story that reports Graham steered about one million bucks of CYITC funds to his faves.

    I'll be interested to watch this develop.

  7. #7

    @th: So Graham is the standard for the equal opportunity
    coming out party for crooked White DC Pols? Is he not the one who was saavy enough to turn down $$ while his CoS was on his way to where Thomas and Shelton are probably headed? And you think ONE eight month old WaPo story about ONE White DC politician is tantamount to the gang banging by the media of just ONE poor misguided African American soul, e.g., HTJ?

    C'mon on Dawg, "I'll be interested to watch this develop" is trite. What developed as a result of the story eight months ago? What is ever developed about the really serious $$$$ that are systematically stolen in the name of legislative favors? I'd be willing to bet the entire amount of misbegotten funds from the Marion Barry appointees (and all other Black politicos) from then til now is but a drop in the bucket compared to what the smart White crooks reap in one adminstrative cycle. What's really amazing to me is how Nickles had the gall to retaliate against HJT and Ms. Cheh when they were rooting through his figure head Mayor's pig pen. But not to worry, Ms Cheh didn't escape because she was White and not culpable. HJT was doomed because he thought he was White and entitled.

    The one thing you can say about Nickles is that he looked out for his house pick-a-ninnies. (You know what I wanted to say, but I'm trying to maintain some semblance of civility to be taken seriously here). The Real Big Dogs probably wouldn't have given HJT and whomever it was that helped him a thought if it hadn't been for those hearings. Why else would the HJT faction involved in the hearings have the audacity to toss rocks at the EOM windows if they didn't think they had a license to steal? They had no idea the rocks would go pass the Wilson Building and also end up being tossed at the jailhouse windows.

    Bet there are a bunch of people saying novena and doing whatever other faiths do when they want something special from their prayers. It's also a good bet a lot of people will learn lessons from all of this scrutiny and not put themselves in the position in the first place.

    I say let LL and whomever do what they do. Racist or not, even if it is construed as biased, Mr. Ronald C. Machen, Jr. and Company don't give a hot kitty what color crooks are. Eventually the truth will come to light about all of them.

    "If you shut up truth and bury it under the ground, it will grow into so much explosive power it will blow up everything in its way when it bursts." I can't remember the exact quote, but that's close enough. I think it was by Zola.

    Dig, LL; Dig Mr. Machem; Dig Amateur Sleuths; there are probably quite a few deep throats out there. Bring forth that truth of which Zola speaks.

    I'm old so I'm tired. Got to get some sleep now. That is, after I watch the news. No telling what all that digging will turn up. I'm nosy too. Don't want to miss a thing.

  8. #8

    So you have no problem with politicians stealing 100s of thousands of dollars from youth programs because it is racist for a white journalist to investigate them?

  9. #9

    Might those dots connect back to Neil Albert?

  10. #10

    CYITC was a good idea corrupted by the Fenty Administration. It is true that during former Mayor Anthony Williams’ administration this entity served as a public/private partnership that operated independently, using city funds to leverage large charitable donations to fund the city’s most deserving youth-oriented nonprofits. It was successfully serving that purpose until political meddling brought on by the Fenty Administration opened the flood gates of corruption and grant steering and scared private investers away.

    The story is also correct in pointing out that Fenty regularly placed his appointees, who did not compete for government jobs, into agency career service positions (competitive positions) through creating titling (e.g. special assistant to the director), in an effort to ensure his agenda was being followed. To include mandatory funding of his favored non-profits by placing cronies in positions at CYITC that would not question demands. Even if outiside of a fair competitive grant awards process.

    Yes, Millicent West was one of those appointees. I am sure it is true that Fenty did force her to place Doleman on her staff at Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency. That was his modus operendi, however, she attempts to play on citizens intelligence by saying that she did not know that she was funding a partisan inaugural ball when it was she who asked that the request for the Young Democrats Inaugural ball be channeled through a go-between non-profit in order for her to finance it as chair of CYITC.

    Yes, the Council knew and knows that CYITC became an entity by which Fenty and themselves would steer District taxpayer dollars to their favored friends and cronies without much attention from the press or others. It was only when HTJ was caught that all these politicians began running for the hills. It is the proverbial getting caught with your hand in the cookie bowl, except there were many, many hands there.

    Mayor Fenty and this Council is directly responsible for creating an environment where this type of corruption could grow and prosper.

  11. #11

    It will be interesting to know how much was passed through the trust each year, and who requested it and who got it. I'd like to see that side by side with changes in the trust's governance structure, and changes in earmarking laws.
    My sense is that the trust was, among other things, a contested resource/battle ground between the Fenty Admin and certain councilmembers. We know HTJ used it for self-dealing graft, and that Fenty shut that down. We know that Fenty used it to direct monies to Peaceaholics- which some on the council opposed.

    What else was it used for, and by whom?

    @laststop
    Special assistant positions are typically excepted service.

  12. #12

    @Drez: excepted service positions are "appointed" positions. It was inappropriate for Mayor Fenty to appoint his people to carry out the functions of a "career service" competitive position under the title that was "excepted service". This allow for them to avoid applying for those positions. Moreover, those official positions became unfunded.

    I admit, although Fenty's administration created the environment that allowed for CYITC to be come a vessel for political corruption. There are those on the council who were aware of it and exploited it as well. HTJ is but one case.

  13. #13

    @Laststop
    There is a long history of embedding excepted service appointees into agencies. It did not start, nor did it end, with Fenty. It continues through this day.

  14. #14

    @drez: The environment that turned CYITC into a corrupt enterrprise was created by the Fenty Administratino.

  15. #15

    Interesting read on additional CYITC waste in Housing Complex:

    http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/housingcomplex/2012/01/19/a-year-after-peaceoholics-renovated-buildings-theyre-mostly-still-empty/#more-23255

    What is worse, Fenty crony Ron Moten now wants to be Ward 7 Councilmember since his taxpayer money well has been exposed and drained dry.

  16. #16

    This is really terrible writing.

  17. #17

    This spin is hilarious. Fenty caused HTJ to steal funds? Fenty caused DC Council members to politic with CYITC grantmaking? If Fenty had so much political influence, then why was he not able to get re-elected? What happened to individual accountability? The election is over; stop using Fenty as a scapegoat.

  18. #18

    And all the while this was going on under Saint Wells he had no idea it was happening? Really?

  19. #19

    West is toast. The feds are going to shut down the grant money if she's not replaced. The tie between her and Doleman reeks of conspiracy. She's not going to walk by blaming it all on Fenty

  20. #20

    @ JAMES

    Normally, such a sophomoric rant would not require addressing, but you're perspective is one shared by many when EMOTIONS are more relevant than logic or FACT!

    The FACT of the matter is that JOE public is LITERALLY still on the hook and paying for the LAST administration's fuck ups during and after said elections....yeah ELECTIONs are over but NOT the bills, the debauchery or the stupidity, OBVIOUSLY!

  21. #21

    ALL ROADS LEAD TO SARA LASNER AND JOHN F. COME ON ALAN, YOU KNOW THAT!

  22. #22

    @LastStop
    The only way for people to really know is by opening the books on the trust. Say, from 2005 to present. Let people see who asked for and who got what.
    Otherwise, it's entirely plausible that Fenty's loyalist appointments actually were there to block graft. After all, HTJ stole the largest amounts early in his career.
    Just saying. The books need to be opened.

  23. #23

    Not surprised at all!!

    The budget for CYIT is $18 million, who or what other organizations got checks from CYIT?

    The city reeks of corruption and back room deals. The city needs to hit the reset button on all 12 council members and the mayor. Not one incumbent deserves to be re elected, white or black.

    Not one council member is calling for investigation into CYIT but Catania, Cheh and Wells called for Thomas to resign. Hypocrites! But Cheh had an hearing on"Sulamon" and the mayor's other hires but nothing on CYIT. Thats it Cheh, keeping pushing bills for the rats while the two legged "rats" keep ripping the city off?? Wells investigated "Navigatorgate" but is all quiet on CYIT, an entity he had oversight over. Come on Councilmember Wells alias "The H Street Teetotaler ", can you get progressive on oversight?? Just step down from that committee. Catania, I guess your busy with your day job, as VP of Corporate Strategy for the street light contractor for the city?? How is that working out? Cushy enough? That should be investigated!! A sitting council member employed by one of the city's biggest contractors? Really? BTW- Is the CoS for Wells married to CoS for Catania? Wow, probably the most powerful couple in DC politics?? This REEKS!!

    Council Chair, what are YOU DOING? You have lost control of everything. This is exploding on your WATCH!! And you are off proposing mandatory SAT testing? Really? But we got Bowser's ethics bill to save the day, LMAO! Really? LMAO

  24. #24

    Fuck all these people!

  25. #25

    @seDCdude, seriously - calling out someone else's so-called sophomoric rant? After your comment #5?

    Slap yo'self - right in the grill.

  26. #26

    Most, if not all political appointments during the FENTY years were made by hizzoner, Sara Lasner, and John Falcechio. Nobody else had that kind of power or influence. Neil could have also asked for that appointment, but it would have been approved by Adrian. I would look seriously into John Falceccio and Sara Lasner.

  27. #27

    Ayy GE spin cycle, you know who you are....I wont go back in forth with you, in fact I will leave the PC decorem to you, for YOU and those that think and LOOK like YOU have NO clue as to how bad and how REAL it truly is on these streets!

    Your petty attempt at 1uppin' me falls grossly short for I deal in TRUE facts and from tangible EXPERIENCE whereas you watch your Seinfeld and TWO and a half MEN reruns, get your news from TMZ and WCP blogs and believe cuz a babe is HOT she's WIFEY material.....your world is not even remotely close to reality...

    Delusional ass!

  28. #28

    @REALDC
    Bowser has promised a full audit of CYIT.

  29. #29

    I am sure FBI is already on it..Bowser is going to cover up the trails with her hearings and give everyone at Wilson Building a political cover!!

  30. #30

    @Drez- Bowser, really? Thats a funny one. Do you have confidence in her? How far are we going back? This cannot be done by any sitting council member. How about the IG or some independent body? I am sorry but she owes her very average council career to Fenty, because he wrapped his arms around her back in 2007 everybody gave him the benefit of the doubt and voted her in. And Ward 4 has suffered since!! NOT again! I don't care how popular a mayor is when he takes office, he should not be allowed to HAND PICK his successor. Bad precedence. Ward 4 has suffered and tolerated this "bad substitute teacher" long enough!! We need CHANGE, NOW!

  31. #31

    @ RealDC- the IG hasn't even investigated the lottery contract yet (despite almost 2 year old written request from AG and Chief Contracting Officer). As for some other independent body, that'd be great if there was one.

    Maybe a retired judge or the US ATTY's office would make more sense. I'm all for thoroughly opening the books, auditing every CYITC contract/award, and let the chips fall where they will.

  32. #32

    @ Drez

    The bottomline is, our Ward and At-Large Bosses, aka DC City Council, adhere to the code of silence amongst conspirators and all of the recent ethics reform grandstanding is nothing more than a chimera that will have no freakin impact DC's sanctioned Bosses.

  33. #33

    Actually, I do trust Bowser. It's some of the others I have issues with.
    I'm hoping there's enough public pressure to force the council into an open and transparent audit.
    What's Kwame and the others' position on this?

  34. #34

    Bowser does not possess the skill set to investigate or to hold hearings on CYIT. Not to mention her campaign donor list and re-election team are full of lobbyists and city contractors that were the same folks that supported Fenty. And possibly benefited from the CYIT boondoggle. Can we look at DCHA books as well?

    See the connection, don't believe me. Research it for yourself.

  35. Tired of corruption in DC
    #35

    Thandor Miller is the founder and former executive director (e.d.) of the nonprofit "WECAN".

    When Miller was hired by CYITC, he made his wife the e.d. of "WECAN", and began receiving grants from his employer (CYITC) to support the organization ("WECAN") that he and his wife operate.

  36. #36

    Time will tell.

  37. #37

    @TH
    Agree that the IG is a nonstarter.

  38. #38

    The feds need to interview and investigate Neil Albert, he is the common denominator in this fiasco. He was the Dir. of the Dept of Rec for Williams and Fenty's deputy mayor and city administrator.

    I'm hoping the plea deal Thomas received was contingent on him implicating the bigger players, including other and former elected officials and appointees.

    Sing Thomas, sing!

  39. #39

    Has Sainted Tommy Wells finally changed his mind on the Trust? He is/was a 110% backer of the fund and (according to him) its good works. After all, he never sees anything wrong with anything. He fits right in with this City Council.

  40. #40

    Probably not as no Saint would throw out a baby with the bath water.

  41. #41

    @ Ward 6 Resident,

    Tommy Wells had oversight of the dollars budgeted for CYIT and he was warned about CYIT by DC Auditor's, Deborah Nichols, which she literally recommended that, "the council should require CYIT to return all unspent FY09 funds to the general fund."

    I guess Wells was so preoccupied with starring in Fenty’s re-election videos, commercials and ads that he forgot to read Nichols’ auditor report on earmarks.

    Wells is now stealing Nichols’ splendor by claiming it was his recommendation for stringent reporting requirements for CYIT, which eventually put a wrench in Thomas’ scheme. This is not the case, it was former DC Auditor Deborah Nichols’ recommendation, not Councilman Wells.

    Instead of Wells acknowledging Nichols and giving her the plaudit she deserves, Wells is doing what he does best—-twisting the facts for face time in front of the media.

  42. #42

    LOL. Fenty? Anti-Gaft? LMFHO.

    Shifting 4 million dollars in taxpayer dollars illegally to the Housing Anthority to be doled out in contracts to Fenty's loyalists beyond the oversight of the legislative Council is anything BUT anti-gaft.

    Fenty loyalists do themselves a disservice by ignoring the obvious to defend that bent egos.

  43. #43

    Fenty has all of the money he stole transferred to Trinadad- Thats where the ex-wife with kids are moving to. Drip Drip!!! Why would they take so long to sentence Harry? He is singing like the Supremes!!

    FBI for FENTY IRS and Recall for GRAY JAIL for Harry and Kwame

  44. #44

    I think it is fair to say that most of the elected officials over the past few years have had their hand in the cookie jar. That includes Fenty, who started on the council and became mayor, and clearly other members of the council who felt that they were entitled to steer city money to their friends.

    Fenty was not a mastermind. LIke others, he was a part of this city's culture of public corruption.

    I hope that you get to the bottom of this. You should check to see if any of these people were nominated or pushed to be on city boards.

  45. #45

    @LOL, I can agree with that. It is something about native Washingtonian politicians that makes them feel it is ok to treat tax dollars like their personal expense accounts.

  46. #46

    Its real easy to follow the money Anthony Floyd was Danita Doleman husband and FENTY's best friend and front person for contracts for her husband and Keith Lomax who was fenty best friend and sunday basketball buddy who has a Bentley his wife has a bmw 635 conv and he has a for pickup truck that he use to for management of all the landscaping contracts that fenty gave him. Danita doleman owns a home in the 1800 blk of bryant st ne a few doors for Thomas first house on bryant street. They brought a home in Michigan park until they had a ugly divorce. Anthony Floyd was a big time Drug dealer and has property in Flordia until his little brother Paul Floyd was killed after being found handcuff and shot off of 18th street ne (ward 5). Thomas grew up in the same neighborhood as the floyd brothers. If you check Lomax and Anthony Floyd you will see how dirty their hands are and how all this ties back to Fenty who was having affair with west. THIS THING IS ABOUT TO GET REAL UGLY! WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND!

Leave a Comment

Comments Shown. Turn Comments Off.
...