Loose Lips

Harry Thomas Jr. Subpoenaed Over Missed Payment

Disgraced former Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. is due in court later this month to answer questions about the $30,000 overdue payment he owes the city. (H/T to WAMU's Patrick Madden for breaking this story.)

Thomas agreed last summer to reimburse the District $300,000. Earlier this year, he pleaded guilty in federal court to stealing $350,000.

His installment plan of $50,000 every six months has not panned out. The first payment was made last summer, but Thomas was late on the second payment due in December. Recently, $20,000 of that $50,000 debt was repaid.

A spokesman for the AG says the subpoena is part of an effort to secure Thomas' "compliance with the settlement agreement."

What this boils down to is an effort by the AG to hear from Thomas as to why he hasn't followed through with the settlement agreement. (Hint: he doesn't have a job.) Thomas is due to answer the AG's questions in D.C. Superior Court on April 27, but it's probably safe to assume that Thomas and the AG will work out something that doesn't involve Thomas talking about his personal finances in open court.

Thomas' lawyer, Fred Cooke Jr., says "we're happy to cooperate with the subpoena or otherwise."

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

Comments

  1. #1

    He's going to prison. He has bigger fish to fry right now. Plan on buttering up his celly with a conjugal Sewarman so that you can continue your story.

  2. #2

    In other news:

    In December 2010, every dime of Mayor Adrian Fenty's constituent service account, $440,709, was withdrawn to form Forward Faster, a nonprofit registered to his chief campaign fundraiser. Fenty was on his way out at the time, ceding the executive office to Vincent Gray.

    This was money donated to Fenty's 2006 campaign that went unspent. He had transferred that money to his constituent service fund, where most of it, again, went unspent.

    So what has Forward Faster accomplished since its creation? This question still persist today.

    There is no record of the organization with the Internal Revenue Service. There have been no announcements from the organization's directors or president. The only paperwork filed with the District, other than the Dec. 21 incorporation documents, was a Jan. 15, 2011, domestic nonprofit corporation report. That document contained very little information — names of directors, business address, vague nonprofit purpose.

    Campaign contributions are reported, as are expenses. Constituent services fund contributions and expenses must, too, be reported. But there really is no way of knowing how those dollars are being spent once the candidate/elected official leaves office. This is uncharted territory. But these are questions that deserve answers.

    Will The "Sewer" man get to the bottom of this?

    Don't hold your breath, hint: His nose is green with poo.

  3. #3

    I agree!! Lets focus everything we have on getting Fenty, Vince and Kwame. Fenty has stolen way more and has done far less than Harry ever would.

    When is Kwame going down?

  4. #4

    I agree. Use the same stick of judgement for everyone in office. I mean EVERYONE. Even those whom The "Sewer" man and the WP endorsed during their elections and who share their complexion.

    That would require a vein of journalistic integrity.

  5. #5

    How is reporting on developments of a now disgraced Councilmember -- who resigned after pleading guilty to Federal felonies of stealing public funds from children's programs -- who is not meeting the terms of their legal settlement with the District not news?

    Harry Thomas, Jr. began lying to us and stealing from us before he even was sworn in. He lied to all of us too many time to count until the morning he plead guilty to a Federal judge.

    With the majority of our Council now under Federal subpoena, and the Mayor too, that appears to be a pretty broad stick of judgement being waved around.

    Also, have journalistic integrity also means citing your sources. @KIR you linked to Michael Neibauer's column, at least you can do is give him credit for it >> http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/blog/2012/04/unsolved-mystery-adrian-fentys.html

  6. #6

    Hey, KeepingItReal--

    It's really interesting that you basically copied the whole article there, but cut out the most important part:

    "Forward Faster was established completely above board. Under D.C. law at the time, constituent service funds were to be used to retire debts of the fund, or to be donated to a nonprofit. There was no law (there is now) barring an official from incorporating a nonprofit and then immediately transferring their CSF money into it."

    I wonder why you cut that part out?

  7. #7

    @KeepingItReal: You seem to have left out an important part of the article, as Reader notes - how's that for integrity?

    Also, when asking to "use the same stick of judgement for everyone in office", did you forget that Fenty is no longer in office?

    Some of you posters are comedy gold...

  8. #8

    LOL: You missed the entire point. Educated in DC Public Schools?

  9. #9

    @dcvoterboy, I'm not a journalist, and yes I should have copied the link, too lazy. You found it and now everyone knows.

    Nonetheless, where is the money?

  10. #10

    It is not news because everyone knows Harry Thomas, Jr. is disgraced and has been convicted. That he hasn't paid the money back is of no surprise considering the FBI raided his home and likely froze his bank accounts. He is going to prison, and that is that. We won't see any of that money any time soon.

    Yes, Adrian Fenty is now out of office. However, that these campaign funds were shifted around beginning 2006 when he WAS in office and there is no trace of them today, when or how they were spent, is worthy of reporting considering the "sewer" man contends to be interested in rooting out and exposing unethical practices by public officials. How better to expose how entrenched this practice is in the District by, not only exposing the sitting mayor and Councilmembers, but highlighting similarities with his predecessor(s).

    Whether the "sewer" man gets to it, it is comforting to know that Neibauher is on the case. There is some journalist out there that are worth their salt.

  11. #11

    @KIR: DC law at the time (and may still) allowed campaigns to move funds to a constituent services fund (which are their own problems as legal slush funds that the council can't seem to find the guts to get a handle on) which Fenty and many other elected officials have done. Fenty ultimately spent very little of his constituent services fund. It seems like the trace of the campaign funds is that they all ended up in his constituent services fund.

    Which led to the large scale transfer of funds in Dec 2010 to a new non-profit according to Neibauer's article. The law has since been changed, and if this new non-profit of Fenty's creation isn't spending any money, well they're not spending any money. Neibauer asks some good questions, as does Loose Lips.

    I also overlooked the best quote above: "Thomas' lawyer, Fred Cooke Jr., says "we're happy to cooperate with the subpoena or otherwise.""

    How about cooperating by complying with the terms of the agreement you crafted for your lying client?

  12. #12

    Still, if the intent of the Washington City Paper in this ongoing expose' is to expose ethically questionable behavior surrounding campaign funds, and in the case of Yvette Alexander, constituent services fund, to be complete, how about tracing the practice back to even before the Council got caught and decided to make it illegal. Particularly, if it extends to the highest level of government in other adminstrations. Moreover, for what purposes has those funds, collected during the Fenty campaign and administration, then moved to his constituent services fund, then moved to a NON-PROFIT with sketchy tax details, been used? Have those campaign funds, today, been transfered to someones private bank account? And if so, whose? Would the private use of funds collected during a political campaign be legal? Is there any indication that the campaign funds were purposely not spent and moved to a non-profit until the associated politician is no longer in office?

    When there is additional information out there related to the subject matter of a storyline the reader deserves to know how far back it reaches and the journalist SHOULD be interested in getting the full scope of the subject history. In this case, at least the previous administration and maybe even further.

    As I said before, I am all for unbiased local reporting. This is just something I don't seem to sense is a common practice with this report, in particular, but the Washingon City Paper and Washington Post, in general.

  13. #13

    Somebody call Whine-One-One!

  14. #14

    @KeepinItReal, by "share their complexion" you mean black, right? Because the City Paper only endorsed black candidates for the Council (Sekou Biddle, Muriel Bowser, Tom Brown, Ron Moten, Jacque Patterson; no endorsement in the Ward 2 race), and the Post made the same endorsements plus one for a non-black Council candidate -- Jack Evans, who was running unopposed.

    Now, I can maybe see a pattern in those endorsements, but I wouldn't so much call it white as I'd call it bourgie.

  15. #15

    cminus, that is getting into the weeds of the entire commentary but I meant race where it pertains to the "thoroughness" and "intensity" of investigations by journalists not necessarily on the bases of endorsement. Heck, that could even mean a preference of investigating, more thoroughly, those who don't comport to a reporters partisan, social, political or personal preferences.

    A legitimate reporter is able to lay those prejudices aside and apply the same measuring stick to everyone.

    I am reminded of the late Mike Wallace, who was tougher on his friends than on those he considered adversarial.

  16. #16

    My only question with Forward Faster is, have they filed for nonprofit 501(c)3 status with the IRS? If they haven't, filed, received provisional status, or received a formal ruling, then it's NOT a nonprofit organization... it's just a DC incorporated entity that shouldn't qualify for nonprofit money. Team Thomas was NEVER a recognized legally legit nonprofit, and if Forward Faster is not, then it should continue to be scrutinized.

  17. #17

    I don't care that Harry Thomas doesn't have a job. I want my money. Sell his wife's clothes, her jewelry, her car, her furs, her stocks, her retirement accounts, her CDs and DVDs. She profited from little Harry's actions and helped spend the money. Repay the money to DC by going after all sources. That will be a lesson learned.

  18. #18

    Well, good luck with that one DC Tax Payer. If you choose to stew over it that is your business. I've got a life to live and seeing him go to prison, loosing his freedom, is compensation enough for me. I'll let the city and the Office of the Attorney General do the worrying over getting the money back. It could literally take years.

  19. #19

    I wouldn't even try the "I ain't even mad" defense KIR, considering how many :words: you've just dropped about a fund (ab)used by the FORMER Mayor.

    Good point about journalistic responsibility, but I don't think the lack of reporting in some of these cases is due to bias so much as the real Players like Jack Evans have good lawyers, accountants, etc who make sure that while they might be making shady deals, they aren't making ILLEGAL deals (a la HTJ).

  20. #20

    @KIR, reading through your muddled arguments is exhausting. And yet somehow I missed the point? Try again.

    And, re my education - yes, DCPS at first: Maury, then Hine - then Andover, Williams, and HBS. Hopefully that meets your standards, chump.

  21. #21

    LMFHO @LOL'z: Mission Accomplished.

  22. #22

    Welcome back Robert Bobb.

  23. #23

    @KB, It is clear that inapproprate use of campaign funds that is now illegal not so long ago, was not. Nonetheless that does not make it defensible. What is illegal today was ethically questionable then. If the story starts there, that is where the journalist should start telling the tale.

    If he has to go all the way back to Harold Washington, so be it. Give the reader a clear and concise accounting on how these abuses began, how they came to be commonplace among elected officials and are now illegal and punishable with jail.

  24. #24

    What is the real "crime" is the lack of voter turnout in DC elections. Even the newbies- young, educated, childless, folk- are not registerd. No wonder these crooks keep getting elected as they bus the elderly to the polls. It takes more to running a city thah having your garbage picked up. You don't have the right to complain if you don't vote!

  25. #25

    So to be clear, KIR - journalists are now historians?

    Why stop at Harold Washington - surely in order to provide the full story, "Sewerman" should follow the story all the way back to Athenian Democracy. That way, anything that a random reader (you) deem "ethically questionable" will be addressed.

  26. #26

    Can I ask who Harold Washington is? I'm familiar with Walter E. Washington, the last appointed Executive of D.C. and first elected Mayor of D.C.

  27. #27

    The Faster Forward fund issue is interesting and should be explored. However, as no evidence of illegality (let alone the diversion of tax dollars to some self-dealing poverty-pimp slush fund) has been alleged, let's not equate Thomas with Fenty.
    Such equation is in-apt and not supported in findings of fact or law.
    My question would be: when was the deed of HTJ's house transferred to his wife's name? I expect our AG is looking at that while looking at possible asset sources.

  28. #28

    Drez, that is sexist. You presume that the woman didn't purchase the house in her name. A common misconception among men.

  29. #29

    @ITM,They were married a good ten years before they purchsed the house and moved in. Usually married folks place the house in both of their names.

  30. #30

    @dcvoterboy: I think you surmised correctly that they meant Walter Washington, not Harold Washington.

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