Former D.C. Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. defaults on settlement agreement

Mark Segraves, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Former D.C. Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. has defaulted on a settlement agreement to repay District taxpayers $300,000 he admittedly stole, WTOP has learned.

D.C. Attorney General Irv Nathan tells WTOP his office is aggressively working to recover the money Thomas owes.

“He’s definitely in default,” Nathan said. “We’re in discussions with his attorneys and we definitely want to get satisfaction for the full amount.”

When reached by phone, Thomas declined to discuss the matter and referred questions to his attorney, Fred Cooke. Cooke has not returned phone messages left over the past two days.

Thomas is awaiting sentencing in federal court. He faces between 37 and 46 months in prison. Two of his associates have also pleaded guilty to helping Thomas defraud the city.

According to his settlement agreement, Thomas agreed to repay $300,000 in $50,000 payments. Thomas made one payment but missed the a second payment, which was due Dec. 31.

At the time of the missed payment, Cooke told reporters that Thomas intended to make good on the settlement agreement.

The settlement stipulates that if Thomas defaults, his company — HLT Swingaway — has 10 days to make the payment. “The District may use all means available” to recover the money if HLT Swingaway is unable to satisfy the debt, including attaching a lien to any property owned by Thomas.

According to public records, Thomas’ home in Ward 5 is owned solely by his wife. Cooke says it cannot be attached.

As for what means the city will use to recover the money, Nathan declined to say. But the attorney general did indicate he’s loosing patience with the negotiations.

“We’re still discussing it,” Nathan said, “But I expect to take some action in the relatively near future with regard to this.”

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)


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