On one occasion, dozens of upset Hawkins workers descended on the Sixth Street office and demanded payment, saying they had not been compensated, according to Gray campaign staff members who spoke on the condition of anonymity to comment freely about what they witnessed.
One of the staffers said the Gray campaign feared that the media would find out about the workers’ demands and report what could become a negative story just days ahead of the crucial primary.
Lloyd Jordan, who was brought into the campaign to help organize field operations late in the run-up to the primary, said he also challenged Hawkins after “a bunch of people” showed up late one night at the Gray campaign headquarters.
“People came down, and we wouldn’t let them in — 30-plus,” Jordan said. “I think that was the first night I found out he was trying to do something independently.”
Ties to Jeffrey E. Thompson
According to Harris’s indictment, an alleged co-conspirator funneled money to her firm to fund the shadow campaign. The funds helped cover $58,000 for field workers’ pay, more than $200,000 for other staffers, nearly $128,000 for campaign materials, and $265,000 for hotels, vans and other expenses, the prosecutors said.
U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. also has said the shadow campaign bought supplies and election tchotchkes from the companies the Gray campaign used.
The shadow campaign also paid to change an awning that hung on Gray’s campaign field office in Ward 4 to display that it was a headquarters for the candidate, according to two people with knowledge of how it was done but who requested anonymity to speak candidly. The awning was initially green, Fenty’s campaign color, and the Gray campaign wanted it changed. It is unclear who requested that the shadow campaign incur that expense.
Several people with knowledge of the federal investigation have said the alleged co-conspirator is businessman Jeffrey E. Thompson, whose health-care firm and accounting firm held millions of dollars in city contracts. In court documents, prosecutors have described the co-conspirator as a sole owner of one company and the majority owner of another, which some people with knowledge of the campaign said describes Thompson — whose home and office federal agents raided this year in connection with the campaign probe — and his health-care and accounting firms.
Thompson has ties to Hawkins that reach back to before the 2010 campaign. According to tax documents, Thompson and his companies donated more than $140,000 to Union Temple Baptist Church and its nonprofit group in 2008 and 2009. Hawkins was a longtime administrator of the church and at one point was listed as chief executive of the church’s development corporation. Chartered Health Plan, one of Thompson’s companies, also reported writing off about $200,000 in loans to the church’s nonprofit group from 2008, according to documents filed with insurance regulators.
Brendan V. Sullivan Jr., Thompson’s attorney, declined to comment.
The Rev. Willie Wilson, pastor of Union Temple, described Hawkins as a “good man” and spoke highly of Thompson.
This summer, when a handful of council members were calling for Gray’s resignation over campaign irregularities, Wilson rallied ministers in his defense.
“You would think all of these people had robbed 10 banks and killed five people,” he said.
“I don’t think what has happened merits the kind of attacks that have come out in terms of what is going on. . . . I hate to see such people be maligned as they have been.”