Breaking new reports from WUSA 9, WTOP, the Washington Post and others report that Ward 5 DC Councilman Harry Thomas, JR is set to resign and plead guilty to felony charges of stealing over $300,000 set aside for youth baseball to use on lavish gifts, trips, car and a motorcycle for himself. If true, this is a classic case of a get rich quick scheme of rob the poor to help make himself rich. If proven true, Thomas will likely find out that he is facing serious jail time for his get rich quick scheme gone awry. The charges are no doubt felony theft and/or IRS- failing to report income.
In an ironic twist, Thomas still owed over $17,000 on his student loans and was in trouble over the arrears for his school loans. Presumably, he didn’t want to use any of his newly acquired ill- gotten funds to pay his student loan debt. And in an even more ironic twist, one of the baseball teams set to receive the youth funds was his team named “Team Thomas”. How appropriate a name for a team where only Thomas truly benefitted.
Unfortunately, this puts the DC in a poor light with another politician facing jail. If Thomas pleads guilty, he will likely receive a sentence within the federal sentencing guidelines which take into account the seriousness of the crime, the amount of money involved, the record of the defendant, the charges, his acceptance of guilt, among others. If Thomas resigns, the DC Council will hold a special election within 114 days after his resignation. Stay tuned for more to follow as another politician gets set to bite the dust.
Debbie Hines is a lawyer, former prosecutor and legal /political commentator appearing in national and local media including CNN, the Michael Eric Dyson Show, XM Sirius radio, NBC , ABC and CBS -Washington, DC affiliates, NPR, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, Black Enterprise among others. She founded LegalSpeaks, a progressive blog on women and race in law and politics. She also writes for the Huffington Post.