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An associate of disgraced former Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. pleaded guilty today in federal court to not reporting and concealing Thomas’ theft of more than $300,000 in public funding.
Marshall Banks, a 71-year-old former Howard University professor, was the founder and president of the Langston 21st Century Foundation. According to the statement of offense filed today in court, Banks allowed and helped Thomas use the nonprofit as a pass-through to enrich himself with city dollars. As part of his plea deal, the maximum amount of prison time prosecutors will seek is six months. A judge has the final say in Banks’ sentencing, which is scheduled for May.
“While Harry Thomas lined his pockets with money meant to benefit children, he was unable to do so alone,” says U.S. Attorney Ron Machen in a statement. “Marshall Banks stood by while Thomas stole the money and instead of reporting it, actively helped to conceal the fact that grant funds were being funneled back to Thomas. Today’s guilty plea underscores the importance of standing up and speaking out against public officials who are on the take.”
The statement of offense Banks signed also appears to implicate Jimmy Garvin, another principal at Langston 21. “Garvin and Banks participated in the grant process and thereby concealed Thomas’ misappropriation of funds,” court records say, which go to note that “Garvin and Banks did not report to authorities the improperities” concerning the grant Thomas used to enrich himself.
Garvin has not been charged with any crime. He and Banks are represented by the same attorney, who did not immediately response to a request for comment.
Here’s the statement of offense:
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