Posts Tagged ‘shelton


Breaking: Former Area ANC Chair to Plead Guilty

As the Insider reported on last August, William Shelton, former ANC5B Chairman, has been charged with theft of $29,000 from ANC funds for personal use. See the charging documents here. As I said in August, this is a positive step forward for Ward 5. Regardless of his long time connections and activism in the community, Mr. Shelton stole from all of us and betrayed our trust as an elected leader. It has been reported that Mr. Shelton will plead guilty to the charges. It is irreprehensible that we should feel any sympathy from those elected officials that take advantage of their “power” for personal gain. Continually on this blog I have said “Wake Up, Ward 5″…. with upcoming Council elections, we need to stay vigilant, so STAY AWAKE, WARD 5!

As reported by Mike DeBonis from the Washington Post:

Less than a week after former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. was charged with and pleaded guilty to stealing city funds, federal prosecutors have accused a former advisory neighborhood commissioner in his ward of doing much the same.

William C. Shelton, the former chairman of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5B, is charged with a single count of “access device fraud” alleging he used an ANC debit card “knowingly and with intent to defraud.” The Post’s Del Wilber has more at the Crime Scene blog.

Like Thomas, Shelton has been charged by information, indicating a plea deal is likely. Worth noting: The federal prosecutor on the case, Bridget M. Fitzpatrick, was also involved in the Thomas probe. Shelton is represented by Troy W. Poole.

The fraud allegations have their roots in a D.C. Auditor investigation into the ANC’s finances. WUSA-TV reported in June that Shelton used some of the money to make payments on his Lexus, among other things.

Shelton entered an agreement last month with D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan to repay the city nearly $29,000 in “misappropriated” funds. The federal authorities are seeking a judgment for $28,526.21 taken in connection with the alleged fraud. That’s less than one-tenth of what Thomas admitted to stealing.


Who’s Next?

We are unique in Ward 5. We have one of the few proposed Wal-Marts. We have a street that is called the “Diamond in the District”. We have Catholic University.

…And, it seems, we have the most corruption.

According to the Washington Times, Robert V. Brannum, head of the Metropolitan Police Dept. 5th District Citizens Advisory Council (5DCAC), a political appointee of Mayor Gray, and an ally of Harry Thomas, Jr., has been accused of misusing the 5DCAC’s business checking account. The matter has been referred by the DC Auditor to the Inspector General’s office for investigation. It seems that a debit card was obtained (which is in violation of the group’s bylaws) and being unable to account for missing funds. Mr. Brannum is also the president of the DC Federation of Civic Associations and is Vice Chair of the Ward 5 Democrats, which he is currently running for Chair.

Another complaint filed, this time against ANC5B current Chair, Regina James, alleges that Ms. James used DC Government time and resources for and during her election and official duties for the ANC. The documents state that Ms. James used her DC government office phone number as her campaign phone number and has also used her DC government email to conduct official ANC business. The complaint was filed by a fellow ANC5B commissioner, Vaughn Bennett. Interestingly enough, Ms. James is attempting to remove Mr. Bennett from his position as Recording Secretary without announcing why although she claims she wants to bring transparency back to ANC5B.

Why transparency? Probably because the former Chair, William Shelton, has been accused of stealing nearly $30,000 from the ANC5B funds over the last 6-8 months. He has since resigned from the ANC. The other ANC members have a lot of public anger aimed at them for their failure to do their jobs and allowed Mr. Shelton to steal the money under their noses including the treasurer, who is still the treasurer of the ANC5B, who self-described her unknowing of the theft due to her not doing her job. Yet, Ms. James has yet to demand her resignation.

And the topper, as we all know, is the ongoing investigation into Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. I won’t dig up particulars as we are all aware of this one (just remember Hooters, an Audi, and missing money from a youth program). Mr. Thomas has claimed his innocence but has offered to pay back the nearly $300,000 that was missing because that is what innocent, public figures do. Offer to pay money back that they didn’t misuse.

So, who’s next, Ward 5? Tired of being the punching bag and laughing stock of the District? Ready to demand more from our elected officials? The blame for all of this is on ALL OF US! If we do nothing, it keeps happening and we, as residents, keep getting screwed. Wake up, Ward 5!


Guest Commentary: Backstabbing, Squabbling, and Utter Denial – What Else Would We Expect From ANC 5B?

Transparency was the word of the evening, rolling several times off of the newly elected commission chair Regina James’ tongue as she and other commissioners attempted to breeze past the financial scandal and hide a maneuver to oust one of their fellow council members. The constituents clamored for resignations and explanations, citing the financial scandals as only the tip of the iceberg in the ways in which the commission has failed the people. The overwhelming response from the commission was hostility and refusal to accept blame.

 In the spirit of ANC 5B ambiguity, the commission could do no more than plead ignorance and provide dodgy answers when confronted. In regard to the recent financial scandal brought on by former commissioner Chair William Shelton, the only consistent response was that the commission had simply been too trusting and that they too had been betrayed, which she cited this as being akin to a spousal betrayal. Ms. James also could not provide one concrete reason as to why she and others felt that Commissioner Bennett was not fit to serve as recording secretary (Commissioner James motioned to call a special meeting to review quarterly reports, which were not prepared. When pressed by Commissioner Bennett on the agenda, only then did she admit that they would also be reviewing a commissioner’s service in office. Additional prompting led James to name Bennett as the person to be reviewed for removal from office. How’s that for transparent?), even though there was no mention of removing the commissioner, Treasurer Patricia Daniels-Brown, for her very concrete failure to notice $30,000 disappearing from the ANC 5B account. According to Ms. James, there were “issues they felt inappropriate” in regard to Mr. Bennett, and it was “taxing” on the commission. The meeting continued in this fashion as she also railroaded through her agenda, ignored public request for clarification on business matters (e.g., refusal to read aloud an ANC letter of request for money) and a mad motion after motion without providing any detail to the public regarding the business being conducted. (editor’s note: The commission disregarded Robert’s Rules of Order, the governing system of conducting public meetings, which would have allowed public comment on new business motions brought before a vote.)

 Just as the intensity of the public sentiment reached a boiling point, the citizens in the audience were finally allowed to comment on the ongoing scandal and abuse of power by the commission. The commission’s reaction was at times, less than respectable. One commissioner replied to a citizen’s comment with something to the effect of, “who are you to tell me that I belong in my position?” Commissioner James’ knee jerk reaction was to motion for dismissal when at least half dozen constituents still had not been heard. At least one commissioner had the decency to make a plea for the people and shame the rest of the commission into agreeing to hear additional comments.

 The conclusion of the meeting was no disappointment. In an attempt to clear her name, Daniels-Brown made a clueless and inept statement that because she is a reverend (irrelevant), she would not and did not steal money. She then admitted that she did not prepare one quarterly report since January because she “didn’t have time.” What Daniels-Brown and most of other commissioners ultimately failed to grasp is that that the people clearly asked those commissioners who failed to do their jobs to step down.

 In all fairness, some of the commissioners were less vocal than others and not all immediately jumped on the Ms. James’ bandwagon. However, if the rest of the commission doesn’t start reading their bylaws and standing up for their citizens, then they should enjoy their remaining time in office, because as one citizen put it, “the ANC 5B commission got off easy tonight”.

 Note: The special-but PUBLIC-meeting to review quarterly reports and to review the recording secretary Vaughn Bennett’s position will be held either September 14th or 15th. Plan on attending. If it’s anything like the September 1st meeting, you won’t forget it.

Editors Note: The above commentary was written by a resident of ANC5B who attended the commission’s meeting on Sept 1, 2011. It is apparent that the commission made no efforts to be open and transparent at this meeting and Regina James’ attempt to oust a fellow commissioner because he has opposing views on how the commission’s business should be run (according to bylaws and rules, no less) shows that as a leader, Ms. James fails miserably. A lesson in leadership is being able to accept differing views and negotiate to a compormise. This is lost on the new Chairperson of the commission. I wanted to thank Commissioner Davis for her resignation and service, as she gave her 30-day notice to step down. For anyone’s interest:

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