Millicent D. West, director of the District’s homeland security agency, said she resigned Tuesday because of the ongoing investigation surrounding former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr., who recently pleaded guilty to stealing more than $350,000 in city funds.
“There’s an ongoing investigation. It’s not advisable for me to talk about right now,” she said in a brief interview.
West, whose resignation was first reported Tuesday by the Washington City Paper, said she stepped down from the post she has held since 2009 “to ensure the work of the agency can carry on without any distractions. ... It’s in the best interest of the city and in the best interest of the agency.”
The money Thomas stole was funneled through the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corp., which provided money to nonprofits which then kicked back funds to Thomas. West was the trust’s president and chief executive in 2008 when Thomas took some of the funds.
Two people involved in nonprofits that funneled money to Thomas have also pleaded guilty.
Pedro Ribeiro, director of communications for Mayor Vincent C. Gray, said West submitted her resignation letter Tuesday morning. He said he was not aware of Gray asking for the resignation. West described her departure as voluntary.
In the letter, submitted to Gray this morning, West wrote that, “[g]iven the current distractions, I believe that this is the best decision for both my family and the District.”
West is one of the city’s top managers who survived the transition between the administrations of Gray and former Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.
Gray kept her on as director of the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.
The full text of her letter:
This post has been updated since it was first published.