Millicent West resigns as D.C. director of homeland security and emergency management

Millicent West (photo courtesy Homeland Security and Emergency Management )

(AP, ABC7) - The D.C. director of homeland security and emergency management has resigned her position, saying she doesn't want to be a distraction amid an ongoing investigation into D.C. Council corruption.

Millicent West resigned Tuesday and Mayor Vincent Gray accepted her resignation, according to a spokesman for the mayor.

Spokesman Pedro Ribeiro says West told the mayor she didn't want to be a distraction.

SEE photos of the FBI raid on Harry Thomas' house.

West was referred to, though not identified by name, in court papers this month charging former D.C. Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. with diverting public funds for personal use.

She was one of D.C.'s shining stars, appointed by former Mayor Fenty and kept on by Gray.

West's previous job was to run the Children Youth and Investment Trust Corporation, which paid out $400,000 in phony invoices that ended up in the pockets of former Council Member Harry Thomas, who pleaded guilty to theft.

West denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged.

West did not immediately return a call seeking comment. The resignation was first reported by Washington City Paper.

Council member Phil Mendelson spoke with West Tuesday and said, "That's an agency critical to the city's ability to respond to emergencies and she felt it was becoming enough of a distraction he couldn't run the agency well."

For members of the D.C. public, this just comes as more bad news.

"It's a setback," said one. "I think it's a black mark against the city."

Thomas pleaded guilty in early January to stealing more than $350,000 from the District of Columbia and filing false tax returns.

Since then, two others have pleaded guilty in connection with Thomas' theft case.

Marshall Banks pleaded guilty in federal court to receiving and redistributed grant funds to Thomas.

Banks is the president of a nonprofit that provides golf programs for youth.

James Garvin, 55, a board member of a non-profit organization that operated youth programs in D.C., pleaded guilty to a felony charge for failing to report and concealing the misappropriation of $392,000 in government grants.