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Later today, Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham will be hosting officials from the Children & Youth Investment Trust Corporation for a yearly oversight hearing. Graham told The Washington Times that he will be asking “substantial questions” of the CYITC, which disgraced former Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. used as a vehicle to steal $350,000 in public money.
One question LL doubts will get answered today is the identity of the unknown organization that, according to court records in Thomas’ plea deal, gave Thomas a kickback. According to federal prosecutors and Thomas, the CYITC funded three different organizations that then turned around and gave Thomas a significant chunk of the cash. Two of them we already know: Langston 21, whose principals have already pleaded guilty to helping Thomas steal, and Youth Technology Institute, whose director Danita Doleman had some sort of connection to Millicent West, the former CYITC director who recently resigned as director of the city’s homeland security agency. Neither Doleman or West have been charged with a crime.
Court records describe the third group, known at ORGANIZATION #1, as a for-profit company that provides “arts-oriented youth programs” and gave Thomas a $25,000 cut on a $60,000 grant from the CYITC back in 2007. The CYITC surely knows who the organization is, but has been on lock-down since the Thomas affair broke. Graham’s promised to issue a report on CYITC shenanigans, but he recently told LL he’s not had any luck figuring out who the mystery organization is.
Rest assured that LL will keep trying to figure out the kickbacker’s identity, but there’s a strong chance we’ll have to wait until U.S. Attorney Ron Machen tells us who it is. Machen has said his office continues to investigate the Thomas affair, and more prosecutions could be forthcoming. The guilty pleas of the Langston 21 officials suggest that other groups who gave Thomas kickbacks are likely headed for trouble as well. Let’s just hope ORGANIZATION #1 isn’t getting more city money in the meantime.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery