The 76-year-old former mayor of the District has a past as colorful as it is controversial.
Created by tofubacon on Apr 6, 2012
Last updated: 04/06/12 at 12:49 PM
Tags: Marion Barry D.C. Politics
“We’ve got to do something about these Asians coming in, opening up businesses, those dirty shops,” he said in the course of laying out his vision for the ward. “They ought to go. I’ll just say that right now, you know. But we need African American businesspeople to be able to take their places, too.”
Backlash across the District soon follows.
From a Post article: Barry (D- Ward 8) accused Catania (I-At Large) of harboring a long-standing disrespect for “black men.”
At the time, it appeared Barry has failed to file a return or pay his income tax in full for nine of the past 12 tax years.
"Thousands of Americans have serious federal tax challenges; I, too, have them and everybody knows that," Barry wrote in a statement.
“When you live in the ghetto, this happens,” said Barry after an unknown driver hit his car.
The unprecedented sanctions stemmed from an investigation by Washington lawyer Robert S. Bennett, who concluded that Barry took a cut of a $15,000 contract he awarded to his then-girlfriend, Donna Watts-Brighthaupt. Barry violated conflict-of-interest rules and impeded the investigation, the report said.
"D.C. Council member Marion Barry hired his then-girlfriend as a city contractor two months after they began a relationship that eventually led to Barry's arrest on stalking charges, according to city records." - The Post's Tim Craig
Barry was taken into custody by the Park Police after political consultant Donna Watts-Brighthaupt, his ex-girlfriend, claimed he was stalking her.
An investigative report by Special Counsel said that Barry had personally benefited from a contract that he had awarded to Watts-Brighthaupt.
From a 2009 Washington Post article: "All hell is going to break lose," Barry said while speaking to reporters. "We may have a civil war. The black community is just adamant against this."
"Washington's new Madame Tussauds wax museum is giving the city's Mayor for Life an extension of his seemingly endless reign."
Barry was sentenced to three years probation in 2006 on charges of failing to pay federal, local taxes. He also underwent drug counseling.
In 2009, Barry was ordered back to court after he failed to file his 2007 return. U.S. District Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson extended Barry's probation.
Barry was succeeded by Anthony A. Williams
The D.C. financial control board has stripped the mayor of much of the power he once wielded over city programs and contracts.
Barry was sentenced to six months in federal prison shortly before the November election, which he lost – in the first (and to date only) electoral loss of his career.
The outgoing mayor ran as an independent for the at-large D.C. Council seat.
From a 1998 Washington Post article:
Barry's personal problems first surfaced in 1983, with the "This Is It" scandal. Barry was accused of using cocaine at a nightclub party – though a Post inquiry showed no evidence of wrongdoing. The police department was paralyzed by conflicting reports and allegations.
The culmination of a series of embarrassing incidents was an FBI sting that caught Barry on a videotape smoking crack cocaine at the Vista Hotel with a female acquaintance.
During his 1990 trial, Barry's lawyer, R. Kenneth Mundy, acknowledged the mayor occasionally used cocaine. Barry was convicted of one of the 14 charges pending against him – a misdemeanor charge for possessing cocaine in November 1989. Jurors acquitted him of one of the other charges – of possessing cocaine in September 1988. On the other 12 charges, jurors were so deeply and passionately divided they could not reach a verdict. "I believe [the government was] out to get Marion Barry," one juror said. U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson declared a mistrial on the 12 deadlocked charges.
The mayor was sentenced to six months in prison in October 1990, while he was in the midst of a campaign for a D.C. Council seat.
The mayor is arrested at the Vista International Hotel in downtown Washington on a misdemeanor charge of possessing crack cocaine.
Two D.C. police detectives, investigating drug allegations involving Barry acquaintance Charles Lewis at the Ramada Inn here, leave the hotel after discovering that Barry is in Lewis's room. Lewis is arrested and convicted in the Virgin Islands on two counts each of cocaine possession with intent to distribute and cocaine distribution. AUG. 30, 1989 Lewis tells federal investigators that he smoked crack cocaine with Barry in December 1988. Barry denies ever seeing or using drugs while he was with Lewis.
Barry's friend, Karen K. Johnson, pleads guilty to drug conspiracy charges. Later, she is cited for contempt of court for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury investigating allegations that Barry had used cocaine.
1987 - The FBI finds financial records in the home of Karen Johnson suggesting she was paid for her silence before the grand jury by friends of the mayor. She tells investigators she had been paid $25,000.
Barry attends a Christmas party at "This Is It," a downtown bar. There are inconclusive allegations that Barry either had used cocaine at the party or was present while others used the drug.
Each year of Barry's first term (1979-1983) saw a budget surplus of at least US $13 million. Political reporter Jonetta Rose Barras characterized the first Barry administration as "methodical, competent, and intellectually superior."
The couple divorced in 1993 but Effi would continue to support Barry's political efforts; Effi died in 2007
Barry was shot near his heart during the two-day 1977 Hanafi Muslim Siege in which hostages were held by the terrorists and which was finally defused by the FBI and Muslim ambassadors.
Barry would win re-election in 1976.
Barry and Mary Treadwell cofounded Pride, Inc., a Department of Labor-funded program to provide job training to unemployed black men. The pair would separate in 1977.
Barry organizes a program of free food distribution for poor black residents whose homes and neighborhoods had been destroyed in the rioting.
Barry moves to D.C. from Knoxville, Tenn., where he was a doctoral chemistry student and where he lead protests against racial discrimination. Barry opens a chapter of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in D.C. and strongly supported home rule.
Barry, the third of ten children, endured extreme poverty in Itta Bena, Miss. But he would later become an Eagle Scout and earn a master's degree in chemistry from Fisk University in Nashville before moving to the District.