D.C. Councilman Harry Thomas Jr. to pay $17K for student loans

Neal Augenstein, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – As federal prosecutors and defense lawyers for D.C. Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. discuss a deal that would avoid a criminal charge for misappropriating $300,000 in city funds, Thomas agrees to begin making payments tomorrow on a long-defaulted student loan.

Court documents show Thomas has agreed to pay the federal government more than $17,000, or $494.96 monthly, to settle a 2006 civil suit.

Thomas’s attorney, Frederick Cooke, had argued to seal the details, but Judge Deborah A. Robinson refused.

Sources familiar with the case say the student loan payment agreement is not directly related to the more serious charges of steering $300,000 from a student youth program for his own personal benefit.

It is not clear to what charges Thomas might plead guilty, although the Washington Post reports they would be fraud and tax-related.

Sources say Thomas has been telling friends he would be unable to avoid jail and would have to resign his council seat.

Prosecutors and Thomas’ lawyers declined comment Thursday morning.

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