Loose Lips

Young Dems Get New Prez

One of the lesser known players involved in Harry Thomas Jr.'s stealing spree was the D.C. Young Democrats.

Thomas was past president of the group and, according to court records, encouraged his chief-of-staff Ayawna Chase to seek  the same position. Under her watch, according to several members and observers of the organization, the D.C. Young Dems ceased being a viable, functioning entity and had its charter revoked by the national umbrella group.

Even worse, it was under Chase's leadership that Thomas tried to used the Young Democrats to funnel more $100,000 in drug prevention money to pay for an inaugural ball at the Wilson Building, court records show. Court records show that Thomas arranged a pass through organization to wire $100,000 to the Young Dems shortly after the ball and Chase "immediately withdrew most of the money" to pay off the vendors for the party. Chase has not been charged with any crimes, and LL's attempts to contact her since Thomas pleaded guilty earlier this year have been unsuccessful.

Longtime Democratic party activist Phil Pannell, another past president of the group, says he reached out to Chase to try and help organize a fundraiser for the struggling group. "She never got back to me," he says.

Pannell says the Young Democrats were once a force to be reckoned with, and had 1,400 members when he was president in the late '70s.

"We were hot," he says.

Not so much anymore. This Saturday the group elected new members, including new president Toby Quaranta. The tally: Quaranta won 60 percent of the vote with about 80 votes. (Though Quaranta does point out that the voting occurred at 10 a.m. on Cinco de Mayo.)

Quaranta, whose works as an account executive for a company that provides donor database services to Democrats in Congress, says he plans to move aggressively to recapture some of the Young Democrats energy of old.

"We really want to build a bench for the next generation of leaders," he says.

Photo via Twitter


  1. #1

    I'm not surprised that this organization was not successful under the leadership of Ayawna Chase Webster. As Phill Panell stated in the article "she never got back to me". That sounds so familiar to me and many of my neighbors. She would never follow thru on constituent service requests and did not return emails or phone calls. Both she & HTJ were con artists and often spoke to people like they were stupid. HTJ would often cover up for her not responding. Oh well, the chickens have come home to roost!

  2. #2

    Its a shame, Ayanna Chase could never be trusted. Now we see why she was moved up to be HTJ's Chief of Staff. She got her hands dirty and HTJ had to move her up so he could keep an eye on her. I wonder what her husband is saying about this whole debacle. Him being apart of the police force, he should have excercised better judgement and told his lady to resign a long time ago.

    Now we will have to see how the cards play-out. This is very unfortunate for the Young Dems. They have lost all credibility and they are going to have to work extremely hard to restore public trust.

  3. #3

    Like many LL articles now-a-days this one lacks critical context like a motherfucker:

    Who did Toby (basically nobody in city politics) destroy with 60%??? Muriel Bowser's lap dog! Why is this relevant? Future elections!

    Seriously dude, work a little a hard, just a little bit beyond the narrative all local journalist blindly follow. It would make you a commodity and people would read you more!

  4. #4

    A young black girl was walking home from school in racist DC late 60's early 70's. Two dogs ripped her knees apart. The dogs were trained to bite black people and they were owned by some white people in area. I wondered why my mother was so strictly racist and hated white folks with a passion. Now I know.

    So white folks have returned to my DC and ran out, killed off many blacks by all kinds of means. It was easy for whites to do this because the blacks in the DC MD area are so abusive towards their own skin color.

    Yes they harmed many poor blacks, but it's time for middle class black trash to suffer the same plight they helped inflict on poor blacks making the way for whites to rule the city.

  5. #5

    Really really hope Ayawna Chase ends up in jail somehow. She deserves it so much.

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