- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 9, 2003

Mayor Anthony A. Williams yesterday said he has suspended his director of community outreach, Lawrence Hemphill, in light of the federal investigation into the involvement of Mr. Hemphill's wife in the Washington Teachers Union scandal.
"He has been placed on administrative leave. We both came to a mutual agreement on this that it would be the best thing to do and that is all I'm going to say on the matter," Mr. Williams said at his weekly press briefing.
The mayor said Mr. Hemphill will use his accumulated personal days until Jan. 24, after which he will no longer be on the city payroll.
Mr. Hemphill's wife, Gwendolyn M. Hemphill, is being investigated by the FBI, the Department of Labor, the Internal Revenue Service and other agencies in the misappropriation of more than $2 million from the teachers union. Being investigated with Mrs. Hemphill, the union's former assistant to the president, are former union President Barbara A. Bullock and former union Treasurer James O. Baxter.
No suspects have been named in the case.
A source close to the investigation said that a federal grand jury has been impaneled in the case and has subpoenaed the union's financial records, most of which have been turned over.
An FBI affidavit names the Hemphills, Miss Bullock and Mr. Baxter among accusations of misappropriation of union funds. Last month, agents raided their homes and those of their relatives, and seized scores of financial documents, antique furniture, designer handbags and luggage, mink coats, fine china and other luxury items.
Among the items seized from the Hemphill home was a $13,000, 50-inch plasma television.
Mr. Hemphill earned between $70,000 and $90,000 a year, according to a city official.
Mrs. Hemphill's annual union salary was $66,950, according to paperwork filed by the union with the Labor Department in 2001. Miss Bullock's salary was $106,840 and Mr. Baxter's was $55,709.
The teacher union inquiry began in September after the union's parent organization, the American Federation of Teachers, audited the local's books in response to complaints about members being overcharged on dues.
Officials from the U.S. Attorney's Office said they would not comment on grand jury matters, and would not confirm or deny information about the subpoena.
"We are looking at everything and following up on every lead we get," said Channing Phillips, spokesman for U.S. Attorney Roscoe Howard.
Miss Bullock and Mrs. Hemphill resigned their union posts in September under pressure from the union board. Mr. Baxter has been suspended.
Mrs. Hemphill recently resigned her post as executive director of the D.C. Democratic State Committee, an unpaid position, and resigned her post as co-chairman for Mr. Williams' re-election campaign in September.
News of the resignation surfaced after The Washington Times reported last week that D.C. Democratic leaders were looking for a way for Mrs. Hemphill to quietly step down.

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