Sources that attended a closed-door D.C. Council meeting yesterday say that Council member Harry Thomas Jr. may be asked to take a paid leave of absence after his house was raided by federal agents and many items -- including an SUV and a motorcycle -- were confiscated Dec. 2.
Embattled D.C. Council Member Harry Thomas Jr. may be asked to take a paid leave of absence, according to sources at the Wilson Building. Federal authorities are investigating allegations that Thomas used public funds for personal gain.
The D.C. council met to discuss Thomas Monday afternoon for an hour in an unusual closed-door meeting that the press was barred from attending. According to sources at the meeting, Thomas -- whose home was searched last week by FBI and IRS agents -- may be asked to take a paid leave of absence, although one source says it's unlikely Thomas would agree to go on leave.
The closed-door meeting was called by Council Chair Kwame Brown, but his office is not confirming whether the chair will ask Thomas to take a leave. In a short public statement after the hearing, Brown said only that he is going to have a conversation with Thomas.
Meanwhile, as the council deals with allegations against Thomas, as well as the federal probes into Mayor Vincent Gray and Council Chair Kwame Brown, ethics reform legislation will go before the entire council today for a vote.
The bill was almost derailed during a markup Monday when some changes were made that caught a few members off guard. One of the new provisions would make it mandatory for a mayor or council member to step down if convicted of a felony. Right now, elected officials must be incarcerated -- that is, physically behind bars -- to be disqualified from office.