Thomas associate admits role in D.C. lawmaker’s theft

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The director of a golf-oriented nonprofit in Northeast D.C. admitted in federal court that he failed to disclose his role as a pass-through for public funds stolen by former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. from 2007 to 2009.

Marshall D. Banks, 71, pleaded guilty Friday to concealing a felony and could face up to three years in prison for his role in managing funds earmarked for youth sports program at the Langston 21st Century Foundation.

His deal is contingent upon a guilty plea by Jimmy Garvin, a Langston board member who runs the Ward 5 golf course affiliated with the nonprofit.

Vandy Jamison, the attorney for both men, said Mr. Garvin plans to plead guilty as soon as this week.

U.S. District Judge John D. Bates set a status hearing in May to assess the progress of the cases before sentencing Banks.

Banks on Friday stood in the same courtroom as Thomas had seven days earlier. Thomas, who resigned from his council seat before pleading guilty to stealing public funds and filing false tax returns, faces more than three years in prison at his May 3 sentencing.

Charging papers sat the Langston foundation agreed to act as a nonprofit recipient of public funds, part of which Thomas wanted for activities in Ward 5.

The Children & Youth Investment Trust Corp. granted $392,000 in city funds to Langston for youth programs, yet Thomas‘ nonprofit and for-profit entities Team Thomas and HLT Development were never mentioned in the grant agreement, according to prosecutors.

The trust provided quarterly payments to Langston, and Mr. Garvin or Banks would issue payments to Thomas‘ groups that in the end totaled $306,000, court papers say.

Prosecutors said Thomas‘ staff — not Langston — prepared reports for the trust and Banks “knew [the reports] would not accurately reflect the portion of the grant funds expended by Langston 21.”

Banks also knew the grant funds were not being spent on city youth programs and continued to disburse them to Thomas even though he realized some of the funds would be used for Thomas‘ personal benefit, according to court papers.

Under the plea deal, Banks is responsible for $392,000 in restitution, along with the other men cited in the investigation.

Banks’ ties to the scheme first came to light in a lawsuit filed by D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan in June.

Mr. Nathan’s office reached a settlement with Banks and Mr. Garvin for $86,000, the amount of earmarked funds retained by Langston.

Mr. Jamison described Banks, a professor at Howard University with no prior criminal record, as “heartbroken” by what happened. He also emphasized Banks’ long record of service to youth.

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