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Tom Lindenfeld‘s candidate won the District’s mayoral race last night, but he’s in no position to celebrate. The former strategist to Muriel Bowser, Adrian Fenty, and Anthony Williams pleaded guilty today in federal court in Philadelphia to a wire fraud charge.
Lindenfeld, the District political mastermind who was booted from Bowser’s campaign over the summer, had been connected to the federal investigation of Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) when one of Fattah’s staffers described him in a guilty plea. Lindenfeld hasn’t responded to LL’s requests for comment on the charges, and he stayed just as quiet in court today.
According to his plea, Lindenfeld (pictured here shaking hands with ex-D.C. Councilmember Michael A. Brown) helped orchestrate an illicit $1 million loan to Fattah’s unsuccessful 2007 mayoral campaign from an unnamed benefactor. Lindenfeld signed a promissory note for the money, which put him on the hook when Fattah, who hasn’t been charged, failed to pay back the money. In order to get the loan repaid, Lindenfeld participated in an elaborate scheme to funnel federal grant money through shell nonprofits.
Lindenfeld’s plea also reveals another part of his alleged scheme with Fattah: “Blue Guardians.” In order to pay back another campaign debt to Lindenfeld, the unnamed official who resembles Fattah allegedly tried to appropriate National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration funds to go to the Blue Guardians nonprofit, ostensibly devoted to coastal clean-ups. In reality, according to the plea, Blue Guardians was a front set up by Lindenfeld to receive federal money to pay off the campaign debt.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery