Loose Lips

Jeffrey Thompson: A Primer

Jeffrey Thompson Raided: Questions and Answers

Federal agents raided the home and office of Jeffrey Thompson, among the largest contributors to D.C. political campaigns, on Friday, prompting Wilson Building observers to murmur excitedly throughout the weekend. But Thompson keeps a pretty low profile, for a guy whose companies and employees have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to politicians.

So LL wrote up a little guide to the perplexed on why the raid shocked insiders so much.

Q: Just how big a deal is this raid?

A: In the world of District politics, it is a very, very big deal. Thompson has poured a ton of money into local campaigns and— surprise!—has won District contracts worth huge amounts.

Q: Who is this Thompson guy?

A: He's an accountant, a proud UDC alum (go Firebirds!), a big philanthropist, and a major player in District politics since Anthony Williams was mayor.

Q: If he's so important, why don't you have a picture of him?

A: He's media shy.

Q: Tell me more about Thompson's business activities!

A: Thompson's accounting firm, Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio and Associates, is one of the largest minority-owned firms in the country. According to Uncle Sam's count, the firm has won 136 federal contracts worth more than $16 million since 2001. TCBA also regularly does business with the District as well.

But the real money maker for Thompson is his healthcare companies. His Medicaid managed care organization, D.C. Chartered Health Plan Inc., has one of the District's biggest single contracts, worth more than $300 million a year. LL's unaware of any other city contract that surpasses that amount.

Q: That's a lot of money. The District must be paying close attention to the type of work his firms do, right?

A:Well, maybe not. Last summer, LL unearthed a 2005 audit showing that Thompson-owned health care companies were overcharging other Thompson-owned health care companies, with the District picking up the extra costs. The audit led a to a lawsuit, which Thompson paid $12 million to settle (like most settlements, there was no admission of guilt). The little-noted brouhaha did little to crimp Thompson's earning potential, as his companies have continued to win lucrative city contracts.

Q: What might account for the lack of scrutiny of Thompson's organizations?

A: If you spend several hours putting together a spreadsheet of how much Thompson, his companies, his employees, his employees' families, his contractors, his contractors' employees, his contractor's employees' families, and some old friends have given, you can find at least $730,000 in campaign contributions to local campaigns in the last decade that have a link to Thompson. That puts Thompson up there as one of the biggest money men, if not the biggest, in local campaigns. (Also, keep in mind that LL did not include several other donors whose contributions matched the rest perfectly in terms of the amounts, dates, and candidates given to. LL could not find a clear link between those donors and Thompson, so he kept their donations out of the final count.)

Last year, the Thompson network gave almost $80,000 to Maryland Gov. Martin O' Malley's re-election campaign in a single day, campaign records show. Thompson's also a regular donor to Democrats and Republicans in federal races.

Q: Why are the feds all up in Thompson's business?

A: LL's not 100 percent sure why Thompson's home and offices were raided. If you forced the Wilson Building wags to speculate, they'd probably guess the raid was connected to the ongoing federal investigation of Mayor Vince Gray's 2010 campaign, of which the Thompson network gave at least $73,000 by LL's count.

Another possible connection between Thompson and Gray: Howard Brooks, the mystery Gray campaign aide accused of giving former minor mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown cash-filled envelopes, may have Thompson ties. One of Brooks' companies, Techmar, once did transportation work for Chartered, according to Brooks' resume. It's unclear if Thompson owned the company at that time.** Brown, whose spectacular flameout got this whole party started, used to work for Thompson's accounting firm.*

Q: Who else might be sweating the raid?

The Thompson raid has already provided fodder in the at-large D.C. Council race. Challengers Sekou Biddle and Peter Shapiro have both started attacking Councilmember Vincent Orange over the fact that the Thompson network has contributed at least $100,000 to Orange's political campaigns. More than $40,000 was given to Orange's at-large bid last year alone.

"Councilmember Orange has a lot to answer for before he can ask the public to return him to office," says Shapiro in a statement.

LL ran into Orange on Saturday as Democrats were elected their delegates and tried to ask him about Thompson's past donations. Orange didn't have much to say except to note that he hasn't received any money from Thompson for his current campaign (neither has anyone else).

When LL pressed Orange on specific donations from the Thompson network, Orange fired off a series of "no comments" and scampering away like a frightened squirrel. (Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry, who observed the exchange, laughed and said "Keep trying, Alan.")

Orange's campaign last year accepted several thousands of dollars from the Thompson network in the form of $1,000 money orders. Even corporate donations from Thompson-owned companies gave money orders. Why do we care? Well, The Washington Post has previously raised questions about how Gray's campaign had an "unusual practice of accepting cash donations and turning the cash into money orders." Several donors with ties to Thompson are listed in Gray's campaign finance reports as having given large money orders, the Post noted.

Q: Are other people sweating?

A: Yes, lots, but LL will get to that later.

*This post has been updated.

** An earlier post said Brooks contracted with Thompson. As the updated post notes, it's unclear if that's true.

Photo of money via Shutterstock.com

Comments

  1. vicente naranja mandarina
    #1

    @ InIt2WinIt

    Or as others would say Mr. Orange. We know you troll the net and make comments, Vince. U will get your day in court, but not before Kwame.

    Spread the love,

    Vicente Naranja

  2. vicente naranja mandarina
    #2

    Moderation, since when? WOW! Who is trying to censor you Alana?

    Vicente

  3. jon from silver spring
    #3

    All i know is 760K or whatever the investment is to earn millions in city contracts is simply good buisness. its a pay to play system, thats long been established. Stop hating, Feds, & lets get this moneyyyyyy

  4. #4

    Hee heee heee! Bye bye Orange. Bye bye Gray. Goodbye Columbia!

  5. #5

    It's time for a three week DC statehood trip to Kalamazooo

  6. #6

    Gray, Orange, Brown? All the colors of the rainbow. Going, going, gone.

  7. #7

    @ Axel,

    The ball is still in their court and not one of color is the rainbow is down.

  8. #8

    I say keep digging. There are those who think that Thompson can walk away from this. Not so sure.

  9. #9

    Don't ever remember seeing the colors gray or brown in the rainbow.

    The one thing worse than staying too long at the fair,
    Is arriving too early.

    Goes to show how shallow the posters are who think wishing will make it so. It doesn't matter what the Feds think, or do. These nutcases are so blinded by self-loathing, they take pleasure in ignoring the legal tenet of innocent until proven guilty, with no thought of how ridiculous they will look/sound when they turn out to be wrong, wrong, wrong.

    Oh, that's right!!! There haven't even been any charges or indictments for which to be innocent until proven guilty, now have there?

    So, so, sad. Even more sad than any perpetrators. They at least thought they had something to gain from their malfeasance. The ridiculous posters gain nothing but a feeling of joy from someone else's pain. The question is why?

    Ralph Waldo 'Petey' Greene once said, "Everybody who's ever been to jail wants everybody who hasn't been to jail to go." Maybe that explains the reasoning of some.

  10. #10

    @Holdadice: These nutcases are so blinded by self-loathing, they take pleasure in ignoring the legal tenet of innocent until proven guilty, with no thought of how ridiculous they will look/sound when they turn out to be wrong, wrong, wrong.

    You're right. Just think how foolish everyone looked when HTJ was found not guilty - wait, what?!

    If only you were 1/3 as smart as you think you are...

  11. #11

    Skrilla is right, and also dice in the singular is "die"

    Holdadie or Holdsomedice

  12. #12

    I've always said there is no such thing as an honest politicians.

  13. #13

    If the District is paying $320 million to Chartered to administer its medicaid program, and there are approximately 154,375* people in the District receiving medicaid health services, that's over $2,000 per person. That's a lot of $$$$$ in "administration" fees.

    * source: http://www.statehealthfacts.org/comparecat.jsp?cat=4&rgn=10&rgn=1

  14. #14

    What's w/ all the moderation lately, this turn in to City Desk?

  15. H Street Landlord
    #15

    The indictments they are a comin!

  16. #16
  17. #17
  18. #18

    @skrilla: Not smart at all. A smart person wouldn't interact with you and NE John under any circumstances.
    @NE John: What do you care what I post under? Is that the only thing you can find that you think is wrong with my posts?

    And what does HJT's guilty plea have to do with an industrious business man using his skills and his money to play the game of politics? You both sound like a pair of losers who came up short in the game of life. You couldn't understand my thesis if it was published as a cartoon in the funny papers.

    While you two and I are playing around on a keyboard, the real Original Gangsters are stealing all of us deaf, dumb and blind while laughing all the way to the offshore banks where they stash the real money.

    Even Mr. Thompson's million$$ pale in comparison with what is really going on in the world of politics. The sad part about it is neither you nor I will ever know who they are or how much they have taken down from the system of free enterprise; ergo, capitalism.

    As I said: Not a smart man at all. Just a tired old man who has been around a few blocks a time or two and watched young Black men waste their time, their energy and their lives hating other Black men because of the success those more industrious Black men achieved in life.

    Bet ya'll would scrape and bow like Steppin' Fetchit if you ever found yourselves in the company of the Big Boys like Thompson, Orange, Gray and even K. Brown and HJT. Don't hate em because they make you feel so insignificant. Regale the fact that SOME Black men beat the system against all odds. It might make you feel better about yourselves.

  19. #19

    I think that what others were getting at is that we heard the same "they can't prove nothing" "that's the way the game is played" song-and-dance when HTJ was first indicted. And we all know how far that got him.

    From the way people are reacting, the feds might have hit on the mother lode here. Here's hoping anyway.

  20. #20

    @W1V: I understand what you're saying, but my point is that the "mother lode" in DC politics is very small potatoes in the large scheme of things. The posters I speak of are not interested in resolving or eliminating pay-for-play politics nor are they even knowledgeable about what is really going on throughout the political spectrum. These nutjobs are gleefully waiting to be titilated and to rejoice in someone else's misery.

    The Watergate saga was highly addictive. We could hardly wait for Deep Throat to rendezvous in the garage of the Kennedy Center. We could hardly wait for that next "fix." But it was not with glee, it was with trepidation because it revealed the underbelly of the holder of the highest office in the land and the sight of that slimy side of our President was hurtful even to those of us whom he looked upon with undisguised disdain.

    Seeing that beaten man at the top of AF1's steps for the last time was akin to showing us how far anyone could fall under the certain circumstances. Actually as the result of a fluke: A piece of tape on a door. These Federal investigations are no laughing matter whether or not someone is charged/indicted/incarcerated. Any way it goes it does not bode well for the citizens of Washington, DC and that, W1V is my premise.

  21. #21

    @DC taxpayer: Definitely not a bean counter, but I know from personal observation that $2000 is but a drop in the bucket of what it takes to care for 1 Medicaid recipient, whether for administrative expenses or actual healthcare.

    As a matter of fact, I believe I heard on the news this morning that US Tax Payers are giving unemployed illegal aliens a tax credit of about $1400 per year. Not exactly clear on the specifics, but multiply that by the numbers of uninvited guests at our doorsteps.

    I would much rather spend twice the $2000 to keep our less fortunate citizens healthy than have them carrying around diseases or become too ill to carry their weight. That $2000/$4000 could help them recover and perhaps have a chance to prosper.

  22. #22

    I know why Holdadice likes our council so much -- he voted for them twice. Only man whose ego's so big it qualified for DC residency. I'm calling you by your real name from now on, HoldaKwame.

  23. #23

    @Holdadice

    I don't claim to know, but aren't you comparing apples and oranges? Chartered's contract is for adminstration of the program. The cost actual care by, Dr.s, hospitals, and for prescriptions is not included, right? If so, that's a lot of money in overhead. Might explain why Mr. Thompson is so eager to contribute $$$$ to so many aspiring public servants.

    Not sure what you mean about the illegal aliens stuff. Seems like a red herring to me.

  24. #24

    Thompson is a crook HoldaKwame. He's overcharging the city for services we pay for. He's a thief and crook.

  25. #25

    @DC taxpayer like me: I don't know either. The point I'm trying to make is we are footing both bills. The medicaid (regardless if administrative or actual health care) and billions for non taxpaying, non US citizens in tax credits.

    Re Mr. Thompson's contributions, that minority brother's funds are nothing compared to the big buck$$$ that go into ALL political campaigns in the US for the very same reason. What do they call it? The Pork Barrel, or something? Think about the thousands of dollars toilet seats that some defense contractors charged the government for. How much do you think those contractors donated to political campaigns? And the beat goes on, and on, and on.

    But, like I said, I'm just a tired old man, not a smart one; so what do I know?

  26. #26

    @Holdadice

    No doubt we are paying both bills. But if we're interested in the health of our poorer citizens, wouldn't it be better to pay more of that $2,000 per year for, you know, actual health care?

  27. #27

    @ NE John: Please enlighten me or just humor me. How did you find out the Feds are investigating Mr. Thompson and/or his firm for over charging the city for services we pay for?

    If your knowledge about the motivation of the Feds is as inaccurate as your knowledge about my identity none of the people being investigated will face any charges.

  28. #28

    @DCt: Oh it would definitely be better to pay more for good health. That goes without saying. I was under the impression you were saying we pay $2000 for healthcare AND admin services; which is not a lot of money from my observations regarding the medicaid payments that I've been privy to.

    But rest assured, the medical profession does not get a lot of money for it's medicaid patients. Now if we find the administrative costs are more than the actual healthcare costs, we definitely have a big problem and you would be preaching to the choir.

    But again: WE DO NOT KNOW WHY THE FEDS RAIDED MR. THOMPSON'S HOME AND HIS OFFICE. NOR DO WE KNOW WHY THEY RAIDED HIS SPOKESPERSON'S HOME/OFFICE. The raids may have absolutely nothing to do with Mr. Thompson's business practices. The Feds may be focusing on his campaign donations.

  29. #29

    DC taxpayer: I think Hold the dice may be saying that we should focus on the much bigger picture of how tax dollars are being spent on non-working, non-US citizens.
    Not focusing on small(in comparison) potatoes like Jeff T
    and company. Not focusing on small (in comparison)political donations received by DC politicians, but focusing more on the way the game is played.

    I'm new to paying taxes and I have a problem paying what I do and then finding out that someone who is not a US citizen and who does not work is getting a tax credit in the form of cash and that I will go to jail if I don't pay into the fund that give them money.

    See that's what we should be focusing on as far as Im concerned. Sheeeet, damn right I wanna be Jeff T when I grow up. Who wouldn't? That is, as it stands now.

  30. #30

    @Holdadice @ithink

    I suspect that we're not getting $320 million worth of health administration out of Chartered. And I suspect that explains Mr. Thompson's generosity to the aspiring office holders of the District. I wish someone from the City Paper or the Post would look into what we actually get for that $$$$$. I agree with you guys (gals?) that similar nonsense goes on in the federal gov't contracting arena, but that's not an excuse for tolerating it here.

  31. #31

    @DC taxpayer: Then we're on the same page. My gripe is not with the Feds investigating ANY criminal activity. My gripe is with people who's only interest in the matter is to see someone fall from grace and enjoy it. The interest should be in finding ways to close loop holes that allow our tax dollars to be spent on the few who are saavy enough to work the system, legally or not.

  32. #32

    My sister working for that ___ company back in 1990's. It was probably their first federal contract, working on the thrift banks dissolution, the RTc project I think they referred to it as. Then they sent her to St. Elizabeth's to work on DC procurement. She couldn't take what she was seeing both from a so-called CPA firm and the DC government folks. Whenever, see hears of TCBBA, she laughs and remembers how one of the senior folks had said that was short for 'They Can't Be Accountants'.

  33. #33

    They have since changed their name to HWBLMHYW (hey white boy, let me hold your wallet)

  34. #34

    Same charges different politician- Kwame will receive charges regarding his inability to report revenue and file taxes! you know like Harry Thomas. Vince will have to face the music for all of those bonuses that were issued without 1099s.... Its also questionable to whether the bonuses given were reported and recorded properly. With Jeff Thompson distributing so much money to the campaign why didn't they reimburse Jeff.

    Maybe they did reimburse him and Jeannie kept the funds!!! I do not think the have jail cells large enough for Jeannie Harris... Maybe she can fit side ways!!

    KEEP IT COMING HARRY!! LOL

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