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For most people, being involved in disgraced former councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.‘s schemes to plunder the city treasury would be a disqualifier from ever returning to the District government. But a conviction didn’t stop one-time Thomas crony Ayawna Chase Webster from returning to a top position in Muriel Bowser‘s Executive Office of the Mayor.
Webster, the ex-Ward 5 councilmember’s former chief of staff, plead guilty in 2013 to her role in Thomas’ crimes. In court documents, Webster admitted that, while she ran the D.C. Young Democrats, she helped Thomas funnel more than $100,000 meant for drug prevention to cover the bill on a lavish 2009 Wilson Building inaugural ball. To cover up the transferred money, Webster submitted a bogus tax form on behalf of the D.C. Young Democrats.
Given her history, Webster is the exact kind of person who should never be anywhere near public money again. But somehow, Bowser’s administration hired her to work as the director of operations at Serve D.C., the mayor’s office on volunteerism.
It’s not clear how long Webster worked for Bowser. Yesterday, multiple people told LL that Webster still worked at Serve D.C. After LL asked about Webster’s position, though, mayoral spokesman Michael Czin said in an email that Webster no longer works for the District.
“The Bowser Administration is conducting a top to bottom review of hiring practices and procedures for appointed positions,” Czin writes. “Residents of the District need to have confidence that public servants in government meet the highest standards.”
Reached by phone, a woman who identified herself as Webster denied ever working in Serve D.C., much less being fired from it. Webster’s attorney didn’t return a request for comment.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery