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Posted at 04:39 PM ET, 06/07/2011

D.C. Council meets privately to discuss allegations against Thomas


D.C. Council members Michael A. Brown (I-At Large), left, Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5), Chairman Kwame R. Brown (D) and Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) before a closed meeting to discuss allegations against Thomas. (By Mike DeBonis/The Washington Post)

Members of the D.C. Council gathered inside a John A. Wilson Building conference room shortly before 3 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the allegations leveled against member Harry Thomas Jr.

In a lawsuit filed Monday by Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan, Thomas (D-Ward 5) stands accused of steering city funds into two organizations he controlled, then using the money and illicit charitable contributions to buy a $60,000 SUV, rounds of golf and plane tickets.

The meeting was closed to press after the Council members voted to take advantage of an exception in the city’s open meetings law for discussion of “matters relating to the employment of government employees, appointees, or officials.”

In a nod to yesterday’s dramatic hearing, which saw mayoral accuser Sulaimon Brown testify in sunglasses, Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) donned shades as she walked into the meeting.

Security guards are stationed outside the doors of the meeting room, near Chairman Kwame Brown’s office on the fifth floor of the Wilson Building.

The meeting broke up after less than an hour, with Brown telling reporters that an announcement regarding Thomas would be made tomorrow.

Thomas had few words after meeting, saying only that we would continue to fight the allegations. When pressed, he did not reaffirm his earlier comment that he had not considered giving up his committee post.

Three council members who spoke anonymously out of respect for Brown’s wishes described a somber tone in the meeting. Thomas, who spoke first, did not directly address the allegations in Nathan's complaint but said he would be vindicated. Each member spoke afterward, with several suggesting that Thomas should step down from the Economic Development panel. 

This post has been updated since it was first published.

By  |  04:39 PM ET, 06/07/2011

 
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