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Source: D.C. Council To Ask Harry Thomas Jr. To Take Leave Of Absence

No decisions made in closed-door meeting

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A tow truck drives off with an SUV and a motorcycle confiscated from D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr.'s garage Dec. 2.
Jessica Gould
A tow truck drives off with an SUV and a motorcycle confiscated from D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr.'s garage Dec. 2.

Update, 5:30 p.m.: According to sources within the Wilson Building, council chairman Kwame Brown will ask Harry Thomas Jr. to take a paid leave of absence. Those same sources reportedly believe it's unlikely that he will do so. Brown's office will not confirm either point.

Update, 5:00 p.m.: The D.C. Council held a closed-door meeting Monday afternoon to talk about the ongoing investigation into council member Harry Thomas Jr. Last Friday, FBI and IRS agents searched the council member’s home as part of a federal probe into allegations Thomas used public funds for personal gain.

When today’s meeting -- which was closed to the media and public -- ended, Council Chair Kwame Brown emerged, but offered little specifics about what was said during the hour-long hearing. Brown says right now no action will be taken, and that he will talk with Thomas, who was not at the meeting, about what was said by the other members of the council.

Council Member David Catania says during the meeting some members said they believe Thomas should step down, but he most on the council do not believe anything should be done.

Thomas has already stepped down as chair of the powerful economic development committee, so there are few options left the council can take against Thomas. There is currently no way to force a councilmember to resign. According to D.C. law, an elected official must only step down if he or she is incarcerated. 

Meanwhile, the council’s attempt to overhaul the city’s ethics laws took a big step forward today, as the reform legislation received the green-light by a council committee and will now face a full vote tomorrow morning.

Original Story: The D.C. Council is expected to meet today to discuss last Friday's raid by federal authorities at the home of D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. Council members will likely hold a closed-door meeting at some point to talk about the latest development involving Thomas. 

FBI and IRS agents searched the council member's home in Northeast D.C. Friday as part of an ongoing investigation into allegations Thomas diverted public funds for personal gain. Agents removed items from Thomas's home, as well as an SUV and a motorcycle from his garage. 

When the investigation over the diverted $300,000 was announced in June, the council held a similar closed-door hearing and Thomas agreed to step down as chairman of the economic development committee. Thomas has said he is innocent, but he agreed to repay the $300,000 -- which had been slated for youth baseballs programs -- shortly after Attorney General Irv Nathan filed a lawsuit against him.

Meanwhile, the council is continuing to push for an ethics overhaul. Members of the committee handling ethics reform are scheduled to hold a mark-up hearing on a comprehensive ethics reform bill at 10:30 a.m. today, setting up a possible vote before the full council Tuesday.

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