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Posted at 10:58 AM ET, 07/12/2012

Jeffrey Thompson leaves accounting firm he founded


Jeffrey E. Thompson has withdrawn from his longtime business interests since the federal raid on his home and offices. (C-SPAN)
The day federal prosecutors accused Jeffrey E. Thompson of spending $653,800 on an illicit “shadow campaign” for Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), the accounting firm he founded and built into a national powerhouse announced his departure and its renaming.

What was once Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio and Associates is now Bazilio Cobb Associates.

A spokeswoman for the firm said that CEO Ralph Bazilio had purchased Thompson’s stake in the company, listed as 79 percent in a 2007 report done by city insurance regulators. The spokeswoman, Barbara Hutto, declined to discuss the terms of the deal.

Thompson had stepped down from the firm’s management in March, weeks after federal agents raided its offices. In April he relinquished his role as chairman of his health-care firm, D.C. Chartered Health Plan. He is said to be pursuing a sale of that company, which does more than $320 million of business with the District yearly.

Karen Dale, a spokeswoman for Chartered, said Thursday that sale discussions continue. “We have some offers, and we have a special committee of the board that is designated to review those offers, and we’re in that process at this time,”she said.

Thompson and his lawyer have remained mum on the investigation, and he has not been named in open court or unredacted court filings. But three people familiar with the federal investigation said Thompson is the “co-conspirator” named in the prosecution of Jeanne Clarke Harris — a close Thompson associate who has admitted to participating in the shadow campaign and long-running straw donation schemes.

Court records indicate a “Company B” was the source of the illicit shadow campaign funds, and there are indications the reference is to the accounting firm.

Thompson is said to have been “majority owner” of that company, while being sole owner of a “Company A.” He is the sole owner of Chartered and its subsidiaries, but was, as mentioned above, only a partial owner of TCBA. Further, in court Tuesday, Harris said Thompson wanted her to help falsify documents that concealed the campaign money because he “had to get it off his accounting firm’s books.”

Questionable business practices — such as funneling illegal campaign contributions using company accounts — are troublesome for any firm, but they can be particularly problematic for an accounting and auditing firm, which must certify the fairness and accuracy of other companies’ books.

Hutto said she did not know whether the Bazilio Cobb was taking steps to address Thompson’s alleged dealings, such as an independent audit. “That’s just not information I am privy to,” she said. ”We’re moving on.”

By  |  10:58 AM ET, 07/12/2012

 
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