Harry Thomas Jr.


Lawsuit Alleges Councilman Bought Audi with Money Meant for Youth Baseball

Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

For those disheartened by the cuts in funding for youth programming this summer may want to pay close attention to a lawsuit brought against Councilman Harry Thomas, Jr. (Ward 5).

The D.C. Children & Youth Investment Trust Corporation, which doles out money to youth-oriented programming, has less money to give out this summer, meaning more District youth will be without structured activities. Three years ago, the group gave out $4 million to summer programs; given recent budget cuts, this year they only be able to give $1 million.

An earmark from the group is now tied up in a lawsuit brought by D.C. Attorney General Irv Nathan, reports WAMU’s Patrick Madden. Nathan “says he is seeking to recover more than $300,000 that was supposed to help youth baseball which Nathan alleges ended up being used for Thomas’ own personal and political uses.”

The Washington City Paper reports that according to the lawsuit, back in 2008, Thomas steered “$316,000 of a $400,000 earmark from the D.C. Children & Youth Investment Trust Corporation to the non-profit Langston 21st Century Foundation, which, at Thomas’ direction, gave the money to Thomas’ non-profit and the for-profit version of Team Thomas.”

So how was that money, intended for youth baseball, then used? The lawsuit alleges that Thomas directed $75,000 in checks be given to him, which were he then put into his bank account. Shortly thereafter Thomas bought himself a $59,000 Audi.

During a press conference today, Thomas denied allegations of wrong-doing and vowed to clear his name.