Former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. is expected to be sentenced to prison Thursday for stealing $350,000 in government grant money that had been intended for youth organizations.
Thomas pleaded guilty to two felonies and resigned from the council in January. He wrote to Judge John Bates over the weekend apologizing for the theft, saying his conduct was inexcusable and pledging to rebuild his reputation.
Prosecutors want Thomas to serve almost four years in prison. They say Thomas’s theft was gross misconduct. For his "corrupt conduct," U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen said Thomas should serve the full 46 months in prison allowed by law. He "breached" the public trust, stole money from the very people he was "elected to serve" and tarnished the D.C. Council's reputation, according to prosecutors.
Monday in the council, advocates for the homeless battled budget cuts and what they said is a council that doesn't care about the poor. Council Chairman Kwame Brown said he's focused on that, not Thomas's sentencing.
The full council will have to work hard to erase the corrupt and uncaring image. Ward 6 Council member Tommy Wells said he's worried the full council hasn't received the message.
A special election to replace Harry Thomas is May 15. Early voting in that race begins Saturday.