Loose Lips

Harry Thomas Jr.’s Chief of Staff Charged in Party Funding Scheme

Former D.C. Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.'s scheme to fund a 2009 inaugural ball has resulted in federal charges for another person. Ayawna Webster, Thomas' former chief of staff, was charged in a criminal information today with filing incorrect tax returns in an attempt to cover up how her group paid for the bash.

While working as the president of the D.C. Young Democrats, according to court records, Webster filed a false tax return in an attempt to cover up $104,500 in public money the group had received to fund their blowout 51st State Inaugural ball at the Wilson Building. Since the allegation against Webster is filed in a criminal information, which usually indicates that the defendant plans to plead guilty, expect a plea soon.

The backstory: Thomas needed the money to fund the 2009 party but the Children's Youth Investment Trust Corporation, his usual favorite for raiding, wouldn't give it to a partisan group. CYITC head Millicent West told Thomas aide Neil Rodgers that she could give the funds to a different group that could then send it on to the Young Democrats.

That group turned out to be the Youth Technology Institute, which forwarded the money on to the Young Democrats. Webster filed false tax forms to cover up the fact that it eventually received the money, which was originally intended for drug prevention.

Both West and Youth Technology Institute boss Danita Doleman have plead guilty to charges related to the scheme. No word for now on what's happening with Rodgers—LL contacted Rodgers' lawyer, go-to attorney A. Scott Bolden, but Bolden says Rodgers isn't his client anymore.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • IAmNotALiberalDemocrat

    I heard this woman is allegedly married to an MPD police officer at the 4th District.

  • Brahmin

    This article makes no sense. The DC Young Democrats is a volunteer organization similar to that of any Young Democrats chapter. So she would not have been working as President she would have been serving as elected president.

    The DC Young Dems do not file tax returns. They file campaign statements with either/both the FEC and local election boards.

    Did she file returns saying it was a paid position...is that what is been alleged? I am more confused after reading this article.

  • Hemm

    All will be made clear when she pleads guilty.

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  • Smh

    @Brahmin: All you have to do is read the attached criminal information document embedded on the page.

  • NE John

    you old snagletooth muthafukah