Loose Lips

Jeff Thompson, Caterer?

Here's another slightly strange addition to Jeff Thompson's empire: an almost catering business.

Thompson, as we all know by know, is the accountant, Medicaid contractor, and political donor at the center of a federal investigation into campaign finance issues.

Thompson's accounting firm, Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio & Associates, is one of the largest minority owned accounting firms in the country. And his Medicaid managed care organization, Chartered Health Plan, hold's the District's biggest single contract. (Thompson has withdrawn from TCBA and is in the midst of selling Chartered.)

But since federal law enforcement agencies raided Thompson's office and home last month, we've learned that Thompson also has some surprising business ties for a multimillionaire bean counter. They include some type of partnership with a hair salon operator on Capitol Hill, as wells as ties to a movie producer and a talent agent, both of whom live in Los Angeles. Those partnership have produced thousands of dollars in political donations for local politicians, some of which been dubbed "suspicious" (in the words of one recipient, Councilmember Vincent Orange) because they raise questions about whether straw donors were used.

In 2007, Thompson paid $2.05 million for a parcel of land at Poplar Point in Southeast. His plan, at least in the short term, was to build a kitchen/catering business on the site, according to two former business associates with knowledge of Thompson's plans.

The business associates say Thompson said he wanted the kitchen/catering shop to be built for and operated by Monte Brown, a local caterer whose company is called "Taste the Occasion Catering." The associates say the plans to build the catering shop fell through, but they aren't sure why.

Brown confirmed to LL that he "did look at" the Poplar Point parcel as a location for his catering business, but declined to discuss his relationship with Thompson, citing the ongoing federal investigation. Thompson's attorney tells LL he has a policy of not talking to the press about the probe, either.

Like the hair salon operator and L.A. entertainment types, campaign finance records show Brown gave thousands of dollars that align with others made by Thompson's vast network of donors. Brown tells LL those donations are all his own.

Brown and his company have given $15,600 since 2009, with almost all of those donations aligning with donations made by others in the Thompson network, records show. In August 2010 alone, Brown and his business gave $12,000. Another person using Brown's address, Laverne R. Hines, is listed on campaign records as having given $6,500 to the same Thompson-backed pols, with $5,500 being given in August 2010. Hines hung up on LL when he called her asking about donations.

Screenshot via C-SPAN

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