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D.C. ‘Community Organizer’ Blew 100K in Government Grants to Fund Gambling Habit

21st Century Wire says…

Former boxer and DC community organizer, Keely Thompson, is facing ‘substantial jail time after fleecing US taxpayers and business donors who funded his community projects.

With the government shutdown in full mode, many Americans are left wondering where all the money disappears to, and how it’s spent. The moral of the story – you have to be sure it’s being spent wisely, and not in a casino.

Thompson has been described as “politically connected”, and no doubt used his high level DC contacts to leverage over a million dollars – which were put to good work to support the following activities: gambling, luxury cars, furniture, and boat cruises.

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White House-friendly mouthpiece, Voice of America, featured Keely in 2010 in an installment of their program, Making a Difference. That was before they found out what he was really up to.

WUSA 9 reported last November:

“Keely’s District Boxing and Youth Center was a non-profit organization with locations in Northwest and Northeast Washington. The operations were funded with grant money. The organization received more than $1.5 million in government and private funding between 2004 and 2010. The money was to be used to provide youth development and physical fitness programs to at-risk children living in the District of Columbia.

“Instead, the Thompsons allegedly used much of it for personal goods, entertainment and services, including over $100,000 for gambling at Bally’s Casino in Atlantic City, and on board a Norwegian Cruise Line, as well as on vehicle leases on a BMW 525i and Lincoln Navigator, furniture for their home, and various other personal items,” officials said.

According to court documents, the Thompsons also issued themselves over $100,000 in handwritten checks from the charitable company’s bank account with no accounting records or receipts. They also are accused of spending over $135,000 on a 2009 fundraiser at a District hotel that raised approximately $23,000 for the charitable company.”

The Washington Post reports today…

Ann E. Marimow
Washington Post

Federal prosecutors are seeking “substantial” jail time for a former professional D.C. boxer who diverted thousands of dollars in government grants to fund his gambling habit.

Keely Thompson, former executive director of Keely’s District Boxing and Youth Center, is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday and faces more than two years in prison under federal guidelines.

Thompson pleaded guilty in June to a federal charge of wire fraud. As part of the deal, similar charges are expected to be dropped against Thompson’s wife, Bianca, who was deputy director of the youth center.

He admitted using $105,000 in grant funds meant to help at-risk youths to gamble at Bally’s casino in Atlantic City and on board a Norwegian cruise ship. Thompson also used grant money to pay for concert tickets, speeding tickets and clothing, authorities alleged.

Thompson grew up in the District and fought professionally as a lightweight in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He opened his center in a church basement on Columbia Road in 2004 with help from a local government anti-gang grant. From 2004 to 2009, Thompson’s center received more than $1.4 million in city grant funds.

In the government’s sentencing memo, prosecutors praise Thompson for his “invaluable assistance to at-risk children” in the District and for providing them with a “safe and positive environment.”

Read more at Washington Post




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