D.C. AG Nathan seeks to block Graham probe of Harry Thomas Jr. case

The D.C. attorney general called on the D.C. Council to block council member Jim Graham from receiving subpoena authority to investigate how Harry Thomas Jr. stole more than $300,000 from the city, saying it would “interfere” with ongoing criminal and civil probes.


Former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas, Jr., makes a statement to the media following his guilty plea at the United States Federal Court House on January 6, 2012, in Washington, DC. (Jahi Chikwendiu/WASHINGTON POST)

In a letter sent to all council members Monday afternoon, Irvin Nathan said his office, the Office of the U.S. Attorney, and the D.C. Auditor all have ”active investigations” into Thomas’s interaction with the Children’s Youth Investment Trust Corp. during his scheme to steal the money.

Nathan stressed it may be a conflict for council members to look into a matter that could also touch their own offices as the ongoing probes intensify.

Thomas, who stepped down from the council in January after pleading guilty to stealing nearly $350,000 from taxpayers, will be sentenced on Friday.

Last Friday, Graham released a preliminary report that concluded some Trust officials did not do enough to monitor what was happening to the money that Thomas earmarked in 2007 for “youth sports activities.”

Graham said the Human Services Committee needs subpoena authority to compel more witnesses to testify about the matter. The other committee members voted to authorize the move Friday, but Nathan and Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) are hoping to quash the council probe.

“I respectfully urge the council to refrain further investigation of the CYITC at this time as to avoid unwarranted interference with the three other investigations, ” Nathan wrote to Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown (D).

In the letter, a copy of which obtained by the Washington Post, Nathan also confirms that his office is investigating the Trust.

“As I noted to Council member Graham via email on April 28, we are investigating the handling of the District’s funds,” Nathan wrote. “With particular emphasis on a number of non-profits, why they were selected, and what they did with money that remains unaccounted for.”

Given the council’s ties to Trust funding, Nathan suggests all 12 members of the body steer clear of the matter until authorities complete their investigations.

“In light of the revelations involving the diversion of Trust funds by then-Councilmember Thomas, Jr., and questions that have been raised about the role of some members of the Council and staff relating to funding of the Trust over the years, we respectfully request that no committee of the Council should conduct its own investigation into the Trust at this time,” Nathan wrote.

During his monthly press briefing on Monday, Brown said he planned to talk with Graham later Monday to discuss the matter. The full council would have to vote to give Graham subpoena authority.

Tim Craig is The Post’s bureau chief in Pakistan. He has also covered conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and within the District of Columbia government.

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