- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 30, 2003

District Mayor Anthony A. Williams yesterday said he has instructed his staff to review any irregular dealings between his campaign and the Washington Teachers' union to end any and all suspicions about his connection to the union's embezzlement scandal.
"I am so mad and disgusted about the campaign that I am sick that people I trusted let me down," Mr. Williams said during his weekly press briefing.
Visibly agitated, Mr. Williams expressed weariness about answering questions about his ties to former union President Barbara A. Bullock and her former assistant, Gwendolyn M. Hemphill.
The mayor said his office and the image of the union's 5,000 members have been damaged by accusations of wrongdoing.
Staffers in the executive office are searching for records of any irregular dealings between the mayor's re-election campaign and former union officials. Mr. Williams said if there are any instances in which mayoral staffers used or asked the teachers union to spend money on any kind of event, "we ought to go out there and raise the necessary dollars to repay them."
Miss Bullock, Mrs. Hemphill, former union Treasurer James O. Baxter II and several others are at the center of a federal investigation into the misappropriation of more than $5 million from the union. The three were named in an FBI affidavit that was used to raid their homes and those of some family members last month. Federal agents seized thousands of dollars worth of luxury items and financial documents from their homes.
Mr. Baxter, Miss Bullock and Mrs. Hemphill, the former co-chairman of the mayor's re-election campaign, have denied any wrongdoing.
Federal authorities on Monday charged Leroy Holmes, a chauffeur for Miss Bullock, with conspiracy to launder proceeds of an unlawful activity. Mr. Holmes is the first to face criminal charges in the case. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
Mr. Williams also has asked the U.S. attorney for the District to continue investigating the petition scandal that got him kicked off the Democratic primary ballot last summer. Mrs. Hemphill resigned as campaign co-chairman after officials found thousands of forgeries among the mayor's nominating petitions.

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