WASHINGTON – Civil rights leader and former congressional delegate Walter Fauntroy was arrested Monday at Dulles International Airport on a 5-year-old charge of writing a bad check in Maryland, authorities said.
Fauntroy, 83, had been living abroad for the past four years, and relatives and friends had expressed concerns about his health. He told The Washington Post in a telephone interview last week that he was coming home and that he believed the bad-check issue was resolved.
Fauntroy was arrested Monday morning upon his arrival on a flight from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on charges of fraud and failure to appear in court, the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. He was booked and will be arraigned Tuesday.
A retired Baptist minister, Fauntroy helped plan the 1963 March on Washington with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., a close friend. He served for 20 years as the District of Columbia's first elected delegate to Congress. The city's delegate can vote in committees but not on the House floor. He stepped down to run for mayor in 1990 but lost that election.
Attorney Arthur Reynolds, who is representing Fauntroy in the bad-check case, said Monday that he had not yet spoken to Fauntroy and could not comment on the case, which relates to a $55,000 check Fauntroy wrote to help pay for a 2009 ball he organized for President Barack Obama's first inauguration. Reynolds has said previously that Fauntroy had paid back some, but not all, of the $55,000.
Fauntroy left for the UAE in early 2012 after a bench warrant was issued for him in Prince George's County, Maryland, to answer charges in the case.
Fauntroy told The Post in the interview last week, his first since moving abroad, that he had been homeless for brief stretches during his stay in the UAE and that he lived for months at a time with families he befriended there. He said he was working on green-energy projects.
His longtime personal attorney, Johnny Barnes, did not immediately return a telephone message from The Associated Press on Monday. However, Barnes told The Post that Fauntroy was "disappointed" by the arrest but that overall, he seemed "much improved and in good spirits."