The feds have caught up with Rev. Anthony Motley. It turns out that the pastor and Marion Barry confidante whom the Afro newspaper calls one of Ward 8’s “most influential activists” also has a penchant for stealing grant money, according to a guilty plea Motley filed late last month.
In 2008 and 2009, according to the plea, Motley illicitly made off with $52,063 from various grants. The charges, filed on April 28, help explain why the usually outspoken Motley shrank away from last month’s special election.
The investigation into Motley dates back to the Bennett Report, the 2010 D.C. Council investigation that revealed the many innovative ways that Barry, Motley, and their associates siphoned off city grant money.
Motley appears prominently in the report, improperly pooling grant money and cooking up supporting documents after being subpoenaed by investigators. After the report fingered Motley as one of Barry’s most accomplished henchmen, Washington City Paper declared Motley, then working on a doomed at-large Council campaign against David Catania, as the report’s biggest loser.
Motley used his organization, Inner Thoughts Inc., as his primary tool for scooping up grant money. While the plea doesn’t name Motley’s confederate in one scheme besides calling him “Co-Conspirator #1,” similar descriptions in the Bennett Report make clear that the majority of the money Motley took came from a $291,000 grant given to the National Association of Former Foster Care Children of America, Inc.
When the NAFFCCA couldn’t administer the grant because of its own enormous tax debts, Motley and his organization were hired to run it. Instead of taking a customary 5 percent of the grant and running it with NAFFCCA, Motley dumped much of the money into a shared bank account with NAFFCCA and placed $101,850 into an account only his organization could access. Motley then stole the money by cutting checks to himself or other organizations he controlled, making off with a total of $36,230. Another $15,833 in Motley’s haul came from other grants that LL couldn’t identify.
If Motley shared Barry’s taste for getting in trouble, he also has his late patron’s ability for avoiding the consequences. As part of the plea deal, Motley will have to pay back the five-figures he made off with, but prosecutors won’t ask for jail time or oppose a probation term. Taking the plea also helped him avoid felony theft charges.
Motley and his attorney declined to comment. His sentencing is scheduled for June 24.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery