Millicent West, the former head of the Children & Youth Investment Trust Corp., was charged with tax fraud today, court records show. The charges are related to her role in former Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.’s theft of more than $350,000 in city funds, says a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
West headed CYITC when Thomas took $110,000 from the CYITC meant for drug prevention programs to pay for an epic blowout at the Wilson Building celebrating President Barack Obama‘s first inauguration, according to court records from West’s and Thomas’ cases. Thomas first tried to get the CYITC to give the D.C. Young Democrats the money for the party, but West advised one of Thomas’ aides to “change the name of the entity that would receive the funds,” court records show. The money was then sent to an organization run by a woman named Danita Doleman (who pleaded guilty in connection to the Thomas case last year, also on a tax charge) who then wired more than $100,000 to the Young Democrats.
In today’s court records, the feds say West “did corruptly endeavor” to have the trust file faulty tax returns by helping to conceal payments to unnamed “political entities and individuals” who were not “eligible to receive the funds.”
Last year, West told LL that she was not part of any attempt to steer the money to the Young Democrats for the party. She said she was told that the inaugural ball would help the city’s children celebrate a special occasion. “It was a youth ball, was what I was told,” West said, even though the party was never billed as a youth event.
West always maintained her innocence. When LL first reported in December 2011 that she’d been interviewed by the FBI, West said she hadn’t hired a lawyer because she didn’t need one. Her current lawyer did not immediately return a call seeking comment. West was forced out of the Gray administration last year from her role as head of the city’s homeland security agency.
West is the fourth person besides Thomas charged in connection with the former councilmember’s theft. U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Bill Miller says the federal investigation continues. (For a look at who else might have some exposure on the Thomas affair, see here and here.)
Here’s the court filing: [documentcloud url=”https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/606741-west.html”]
*This post has been updated.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery