Harry Thomas Jr. resigns, 'effective immediately'
In a statement released at 8:15 p.m. Thursday night, D.C. Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. has announced his resignation, effective immediately.
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."
Harry Thomas charged with theft, filing false tax return
WASHINGTON (AP/ABC7) - D.C. Councilman Harry Thomas Jr. has been accused of stealing more than $350,000 from the District of Columbia and failing to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in income in documents released Thursday.
Thomas is being charged with theft and filing a false tax return.
Reports say that Thomas will likely leave office as part of a plea deal, stemming from accusations that the Ward 5 councilman diverted more than $300,000 in city funds for personal use.
Insiders say a resignation could come as soon as Friday, but his own attorney is denying that. It’s still unclear when he will leave office.
The reports are coming from those who claim to be close to the negotiations. Thomas would not confirm or deny the reports.
Thomas' attorney, Frederick Cooke, did not immediately return a call to the Associated Press seeking comment. The U.S. Attorney's Office also had no immediate comment.
According to charging documents, Thomas is alleged to have intentionally misused $353,000 in D.C. funds.
As part of the theft charges, Thomas is being force to turn over a 2008 Victory Motorcycle and a 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe that were allegedly obtained using stolen funds.
Thomas is also accused of not reporting hundreds of thousands of dollars in income between 2007 and 2009. Documents allege that Thomas did not report $25,000 worth of income in 2007, $278,000 in 2008 and $43,000 in 2009.
The latest information is that the embattled councilman might be striking a plea agreement with federal prosecutors and in return for his resignation, he would only serve a few years in prison.
Although Thomas never admitted guilt, the city’s attorney general says Thomas used the money to pay for golf trips and a luxury car among other things.
Thomas is the son of a longtime D.C. councilmember. He was elected in 2006 to represent Ward 5, a majority-black, mixed-income section of the district that includes parts of its northeast and northwest quadrants. He was re-elected in 2010.
Within the past two weeks, he has encouraged his remaining staff to search for new jobs, according to multiple council employees with knowledge of his actions who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose that information.
District of Columbia law would allow him to continue serving until he goes to prison, but a guilty plea related to misuse of city funds would make it difficult for him to remain in office.
As part of the deal, prosecutors say Thomas was supposed to begin paying the city back, but the Washington Post reports the councilman missed a deadline to deliver the first $50,000 installment Tuesday night.
Thomas’s lawyer told the Post, “We are working on the terms of that agreement.”
FBI and IRS agents raided his house last month.
Thomas is also facing other financial troubles. Court papers made public Tuesday reveal he also agreed to repay the federal government more than $17,000 from two student loan debts.
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