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Millicent West says she was interviewed several months ago by FBI agents about Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. and the Children & Youth Investment Trust Corporation.
West was CEO of the CYITC during part of the time Thomas was allegedly using the organization to funnel city money to himself. West notes that 1) she joined CYITC after it had already started awarding grant money that’s linked to Thomas and 2) unlike most of the competitively bid grants the group awards, the D.C. Council legislated that the $400,000 go to the group of Thomas’ choosing. “Our organization just served as a pass-through,” says West. According to the D.C. attorney general’s civil suit, the council earmarked $400,000 of funds from the CYITC to go to only for “youth baseball programs.” Thomas then told CYITC officials where to direct the grant.
West, who now heads the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, says the FBI didn’t just focus on the CYITC money that allegedly found its way to Thomas. She says they also asked about “several” other recipients of CYITC funding that have no obvious link to Thomas. (Flashback: When then-Chairman Vince Gray banned earmarks, Thomas used the CYITC to get around the ban.)
And, by the way, West says she hasn’t hired a lawyer and doesn’t feel like she’s done anything to need one.