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Council Chairman Kwame “Fully Loaded” Brown‘s office announced just a minute ago that Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. has resigned as chairman of the power economic development committee.

Thomas had little choice to step aside as it was clear that the majority of the council was ready to take the committee away from him after Attorney General Irv Nathan filed a blistering lawsuit Monday accusing Thomas of stealing more than $316,000 in city funds earmarked for youth sports.

Says Thomas, in a letter to Brown:

I hold our institution in the highest regard. Therefore, any diminution of my personal prerogatives must be secondary to the Council and its perception among District residents. As we have discussed, the recent allegations made against me,though still simply allegations, are very serious. I remind this body that I have the right to defend myself against those allegations. I am adamant in my belief that as this matter is fully vetted, there will be a positive outcome and resolution for all involved. It is my full expectation that I will be restored to the chairmanship of the Council Committee on Economic Development once this matter comes to the resolution that I anticipate.

Brown says he’ll pick a replacement for Thomas after the summer recess.

Two quick thoughts: One, LL was just listening back to his audio recording of Thomas’ Monday news conference. Thomas was adamant about not stepping down from either the council or his committee because he says he’s done nothing wrong. After giving that news conference a second listen, it seems clear that Thomas didn’t initially understand what a world of hurt he is.

Two, Brown knew full well there were serious questions about Thomas’ non-profit, Team Thomas, before giving Thomas the keys to the economic development committee at the beginning of this year. Granted, the quid pro quo issues raised last year about Team Thomas’ undisclosed relationship with developers never panned out, but Brown still bet that the attorney general’s investigation wouldn’t amount to much. Brown lost that bet, and now his judgment takes another hit.

Photo By Darrow Montgomery