D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown said Monday that he is urging council member Harry Thomas Jr. to “consider seriously doing what is best for his family and his constituents,” but the chairman stopped short of asking for Thomas’s resignation.
On Friday, Thomas (D-Ward 5) agreed to repay the District $300,000 to settle a city lawsuit that alleged that he diverted public funds from youth programs and used some of the money to pay for luxury cars and expensive trips.
Thomas did not admit wrongdoing, but council members David A. Catania (I-At Large) and Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) are calling on their colleague to resign.
Brown (D), who is facing his own ethical controversies, said he is “disappointed with the entire situation” surrounding Thomas. But in his carefully worded statement, Brown gave no clear indication on whether he wants Thomas to remain on the 13-member body.
“As chairman of the council, my highest priority is to ensure that the people of this city have faith in their government,” Brown said. “I have urged council member Thomas to consider seriously doing what is best for his family and his constituents as he moves forward from the settlement.”
Yet Brown appears to suggest that he thinks Thomas may have violated the council’s Code of Ethics, saying it “demands that members act solely in the public interest and not for any personal gain.”
“Members must keep the public’s trust and integrity of the District government at the forefront of any decision making,” Brown said. “No member is above reproach, and my colleagues and I will work to ensure that the council of the District of Columbia is in a position to continue to work effectively for the people of this city.”