For those of you still trying to process this last week’s events, which saw former Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. resign in disgrace and plead guilty to stealing more than $350,000 in city funds, here’s some more meat to chew on. In 2007, Washington City Paper published a lengthy profile of Thomas right after he took office. It’s a mostly positive piece that portrays Thomas as a spunky up-and-comer who wears baseball caps with suits and is eager to live up to his late father’s legacy. One of the more interesting tidbits is Thomas cheerleading of then-newly elected Mayor Adrian Fenty:
Thomas considers himself Fenty’s political kin—a young, high-energy guy who seems to be everywhere all the time.
Shortly after they were both elected in November, Thomas served as Fenty’s personal guide at the Turkey Bowl—the District’s annual football showdown for the championship of the District of Columbia Interscholastic Athletic Association. Thomas was in his element as he led Fenty through the crowd at Eastern Senior High School, shaking hands, hugging spectators, and introducing the newly crowned mayor.
His support for Fenty has been almost mindless. At a pre-election rally for Democratic candidates, Thomas led the crowd in chants of “Adrian!” The raspy-voiced mayoral cheerleader sounded a little too much like a bloodied Rocky Balboa screaming out for his wife from the boxing ring.
And during the highly publicized December field trip to New York City, Thomas was never far from the city’s latest political darling. When the council basketball squad mugged for the camera, Thomas tried to get Fenty in the shot. At photo ops, Thomas made sure to stand right next to the star.
At one point during the trip, New York City officials gave Fenty and his council pals a school tour. Fenty entered a classroom with Thomas on his elbow. After a teacher explained that the students had recently written a letter to New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, Fenty offered a new topic for student lobbying: a vote in Congress for D.C. The concept was a foreign one to the grade-school students, so Fenty began a slow and careful explanation of the city’s disenfranchisement.
The ever-present Thomas was apparently prepared to clear things up for the still-perplexed students. Three different times after Fenty paused during his minilecture, Thomas leaned forward, held up his fist, and chanted: “Fifty-first state! Fifty-first state!” Each time, his mantra was followed by curious looks and an uncomfortable silence.
The two would go on to despise each other. Read the whole thing here.