- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 7, 2003

The scandal in the Washington Teachers Union involving three top officers charged with misappropriating more than $2 million is spreading to the D.C. Democratic State Committee.
On Thursday, the 72 members of the Democratic Party will hold their monthly meeting, in which the party is expected to request the resignation of Executive Director Gwendolyn M. Hemphill.
"I have been told there will be a motion calling on her to resign at the Thursday meeting," said Phil Pannell, president of the Ward 8 Democrats.
A WRC-TV report yesterday said Mrs. Hemphill is expected to resign that day, whether a motion is entered or not.
A committee member, who did not wish to be named, said, "She will submit her resignation as executive director but will stay on as an elected at-large committeewoman."
Mrs. Hemphill, a former assistant to teachers' union president Barbara A. Bullock, is being investigated by the FBI, Department of Labor and the D.C. Inspector General for her possible involvement in embezzlement from the union and money laundering.
She resigned her post as D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams' campaign co-chairman in early September, for personal reasons, just weeks before the union scandal broke in newspapers and on television.
The Washington Times reported in its Jan.1 editions that a number of D.C. Democratic Party leaders were discussing a graceful way for Mrs. Hemphill to exit as the federal investigation continues.
Mr. Pannell said many members felt Mrs. Hemphill should resign, but no one wanted to say it publicly for fear they would be seen as "kicking someone when they're down."
D.C. Democratic Party Chairman Norman C. Neverson said members had not lost faith in Mrs. Hemphill and would not act against her even though her most recent troubles have hindered her ability to raise money for the party.
Mr. Neverson could not be reached for comment yesterday.
An FBI affidavit and search warrant executed last month accuse Mrs. Hemphill, Miss Bullock and Treasurer James O. Baxter of using union credit cards to go on personal spending sprees, overcharging teachers for union dues, siphoning off funds by writing checks to themselves, and using family and other associates to launder the money.
During a raid of Mrs. Hemphill's home, investigators seized numerous luxury items, including several works from the Ramee Art Gallery, an Onkyo CD player and stereo system, Herrend china, a fur coat and a $13,000 50-inch Panasonic flat-screen plasma television, all believed to have been bought with union funds.
Mrs. Hemphill's annual union salary was $66,950, according to paperwork filed with the Labor Department in 2001. Her position as executive director of the Democratic Party is unpaid.

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