George Holmes Jr., the former president of Bates Street Associates who was convicted last year on federal tax charges, is being investigated for possible bingo fraud in Norfolk and may lose a recently issued bingo permit in Virginia Beach, Va.
Aubrey V. Watts Jr., deputy city manager of Virginia Beach, said yesterday that tomorrow the City Council there will consider revoking a bingo permit granted to the Tidewater Community Development Corp. Holmes is a director of that organization.
Last week, Watts disclosed a brief memorandum that he had received from Virginia Beach Police Chief Charles R. Wall urging the council to revoke the bingo permit because of the Norfolk bingo probe and Holmes' tax fraud conviction in Washngton. The permit had been approved but not issued.
Wall told the Virginian-Pilot & Ledger-Star that detectives are continuing to investigate Holmes, and declined to comment further.
Holmes, a Virginia Beach developer, pleaded guilty in August in federal court here to filing a false federal income tax return in which he had failed to report $122,000 in salaries and fees that he took out of the District's troubled Bates Street housing development project in 1980. He was sentenced last month to six months in a halfway house and fined $5,000.
The Bates Street project, near North Capitol Street and Florida Avenue NW, is the most expensive housing redevelopment project undertaken by the D.C. government and was to be a showcase for Mayor Marion Barry. It was an attempt to create a community in the midst of one of the city's worst slums, but it remains incomplete.
Watts said that when the Virginia Beach City Council approved the bingo permit for the Tidewater Community Development Corp.last month, council members were unaware of Holmes's tax fraud conviction and the Norfolk bingo probe.
Watts said bingo permit applicants undergo routine police checks to ensure that permits go to reputable companies and that company officials have no criminal records. He said, however, that it sometimes takes time to obtain the required information.
In his memorandum, Wall listed other problems with the application. He said that the Tidewater Community Development Corp. has not been located in Virginia Beach for the past two years, as required for a bingo permit.
Also, in his application, Holmes listed a place called Plaza Bingo as the place where he would hold his bingo games. The manager of Plaza Bingo told police that he has no intention of renting the hall to Holmes, according to the memo.
Holmes, who currently is serving his sentence, could not be reached for comment.