Councilman Harry Thomas and BNCA President Caroline Petti
courtesy of tbridge
Harry Thomas Jr, seen above at Brookland ribbon cutting, tonight released a statement that he intends to resign his Ward 5 council seat in the morning, and plead guilty to two federal crimes related to $383,000 of city money that was misappropriated by a charity that Thomas operates. In his statement tonight, Thomas said, “Tomorrow morning I will plead guilty to committing two federal crimes. I am resigning my position as a member of the Council effective immediately. I made some very serious mistakes and exhibited inadequate and flawed judgment. I take full responsibility for my actions. I am truly sorry.”
Thomas is expected in court at 11:15am tomorrow for a plea hearing in Federal Court to answer for the charges that were filed against him this morning. A plea deal has been rumored by several media outlets for the last few days, and may contain up to 3 years for Thomas in prison.
A special election would take place on the first Tuesday after 114 days from the certification of the vacancy of Thomas’ seat, which would likely place the election on May 8th or 15th. Candidates have already begun to appear, with at least six possibilities emerging as prospective candidates in the last few days, to include some of Thomas’ former challengers, including Delano Hunter and Kenyan McDuffie.
D Block, Alcatraz
courtesy of itjournalist
We only gave Harry Thomas Jr the #3 slot in 2011’s Worst of Scandals list, but it appears he will be the number one figure in DC politics for the next few weeks. WUSA9’s Bruce Johnson is reporting that Councilmember Thomas will resign as part of a plea deal that will send Thomas to prison for 2-3 years. In addition, according to comments obtained by the Washington Post, Thomas failed to make his second scheduled $50,000 payment this week.
Thomas’ resignation would leave Ward 5 without a seat on the council (excepting At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange, who also lives in Ward 5) until a special election could be called. The District, according to law, must hold the election on the Tuesday after 114 days from the certified vacancy. Should Thomas’ vacancy be certified by Friday of this week, that election would take place on April 30th, but a May election date is more likely. Thomas faced three challengers in the 2010 primary, with none gathering more than 19%. No word yet on if any of his 2010 challengers would make a run for his seat.
Should Thomas resign, it would be nice to see the Council take efforts to, give the financial situation, amend the charter to add more flexibility to the special election options, including alignment to nearby primary and special elections, as well as provisions to allow for the Board of Elections to avoid days that could limit voters for religious reasons.
Just before 4am, a loud boom woke me from a cold sleep. I got up, looked around, and lay back down until I heard the sirens of a significant police and fire response. Dressing quickly, I was outside about 4:15am this morning, to see Engines 15 and 17 fighting a car fire in my neighbor’s yard. The car had veered to the left, and collided with his retaining wall and fence. DCFD knocked the fire down in approximately 30 minutes, though the flames reached six feet in height, singing the lower branches of my neighbor’s maple tree.
Police on the scene reported a single occupant of the car, transported by EMS to Medstar with a serious gunshot wound to the back, which was likely the cause of the crash. MPD Captain McLean, responding to the incident, said that there was also a “shots fired” call on Saratoga near Rhode Island Avenue, and that it was possible that he had been chased up 17th to the accident scene. The driver was unconscious when transported to Medstar, and the Police were not optimistic about his prognosis, though he was moved there in under 15 minutes.