Internal emails from a public-private agency at the heart of the Harry Thomas corruption scandal reveal that senior officials were concerned that money was being improperly spent as early as 2008, according to The Washington Post.
Worried about a lack of oversight, the Children and Youth Investment Trust Fund vice president of finance Timothy Fitzsimmons told colleagues in February 2008 email that he feared the fund was becoming a “check-on-demand place.”
Fitzsimmon's voiced his concern as the agency prepared to release $98,000 to Langston 21st Century a week ahead of schedule.
The Langston 21st Century Foundation is a charity that stands accused of facilitating illicit payments to Thomas, a former D.C. City Council member.
Thomas pleaded guilty last month to embezzling $350,000 in taxpayer money, which passed through the trust and Langston.
By late September 2008, emails reveal that trust officials discussed how the Langston foundation failed to enter data into Webstar, an online oversight tool, and did not properly document its work. Payments from the trust to Langston continued regardless.
The emails were uncovered by Council member Jim Graham, as part of his investigation into the Children and Youth Investment Trust Fund's relationship with Langston 21st Century.
Graham revealed the content of the emails at a D.C. Council hearing on Monday.
Although Graham declined to make the emails public, a person with access allowed The Post to review them.
At the hearing, the trust's current CEO Ellen London also testified that, in addition to Langston, 21 other grant winners were behind on compliance requirements.
According to The Washington Informer, the trust now “lies in limbo, with its administrators having to explain to a City Council committee why the fund should continue to exist” despite witness testimony that “changes have been put in place to avoid repeat instances of embezzlement.”