Since Jan. 5, D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown has kept a yellow note next to his office's conference table.
"Harry has been indicted," the note reads in blue ink.
Although onetime Ward 5 Councilman Harry Thomas Jr. was never formally indicted -- instead, he agreed to a "criminal information," a charging document developed without a grand jury -- the note's implications remained the same: A distraction for city leaders, some of whom were under investigation themselves, would continue for months.
The sideshow didn't end Thursday when a federal judge sentenced Thomas to 38 months in prison for embezzling $353,000 from the city.
"I don't think it helps us move on while the other investigations continue," said at-large Councilman Phil Mendelson. "It's only when we get past all of the investigations, however they turn out, that we will truly be able to move forward."
District leaders acknowledged that the proceedings at the courthouse along Constitution Avenue weren't the only black mark for the city's government last week.
In an episode that some lawmakers privately described as a breakdown of leadership, the D.C. Council voted down two compromise versions of Mayor Vincent Gray's supplemental budget -- hours after some lawmakers mixed eggs and expletives at a public breakfast meeting.
Brown said tension was typical during budget season.
"Anytime you vote on a budget ... you're going to have an exciting legislative session," Brown said.
Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells, who let an expletive slip during a heated discussion, said the incidents over breakfast weren't significant, but that the week as a whole was a challenging one for the people of the John A. Wilson Building.
"While this is a tough week, I think there's more tough weeks to come," Wells said. He also said that despite the distractions, city government continues to function.
"We're still allocating budgets," Wells said. "I think that we're moving forward, but I also think that the ethics issues really are slowing down the kinds of things that we could be doing."
Pedro Ribeiro, Gray's spokesman, said the city's leader wasn't distracted.
"The mayor has a job to do," Ribeiro said. "That's what he's focused on."