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Prosecutors in court papers described how the trust doled out money to several organizations at Thomas‘ direction, paving the way for him to redirect funds to his for-profit and nonprofit organizations, then pocket the money.

The Washington Times has since raised further questions about spending at the trust, which handed more than $100,000 to other groups not registered as nonprofits and others that don’t exist in city records. The Times also reported that in early 2009, while facing a multimillion-dollar deficit, the group decided to pay more than $400,000 to a Kentucky company to rent a giant heated tent and other equipment for RFK Stadium during the week of President Obama’s swearing-in.

Witnesses from groups that rely on the trust lined up to testify in support of its existence and budgetary needs at the hearing.

Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown had suggested the trust should be shut down in the wake of Thomas‘ plea. Since then, he has emphasized the vital services the trust provides to children and families and called for patience while investigators look at the issue.

“We’re at a crossroads,” council member Tommy Wells, Ward 6 Democrat, said Monday. “And we have to be very thoughtful.”