Inside the Barry Love Triangle Did the Ward 8 councilmember offer his girlfriend's ex-husband money to go away?

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On a mid-June evening, Delonta Brighthaupt found himself in a familiar role as caregiver to his ex-wife, Donna Watts-Brighthaupt, and her two children. Donna was suffering from cervical cancer and had started another round of chemotherapy; she was laid up in bed. Delonta stepped in and promised to cook everyone dinner at her Ridge Place SE home.

Delonta got started in the well-stocked kitchen, frying chicken, simmering his greens, and preparing mac and cheese—all family favorites. As he prepared the meal, Donna’s two children, Olivia and Briana hung out in the den.

Then Marion Barry showed up. The Ward 8 councilmember formerly dated Donna after she joined his primary campaign the previous summer. The two had broken up before his kidney transplant surgery in the spring. But Barry still came around.

Though Barry wasn’t invited or expected, he’d arrived at just the right time. There he was, hobbling through the front door, smelling Delonta’s cooking.

“What’s cooking?” Barry asked, Delonta remembers. “I can’t wait.”


Delonta recalls Barry kept repeating his request, turning it into a bit of a taunt.

“Delonta, is it ready yet?” Barry asked, in Delonta’s recollection. “Is it ready yet?”

Barry eventually went upstairs to see Donna, 40, who was recovering from treatments for the cancer that she’d fought on and off for 12 years. At one point, Barry walked to the top of the stairs and demanded delivery of his food. “He was just egging me,” Delonta says. “I told him he could come and get his plate.” Barry came down the stairs and got his dinner.

The man had to be served. It was just one of the highhanded demands that the councilmember made when he stepped into Donna’s house. With his legendary sense of entitlement and his neediness, Barry routinely managed to wear out his welcome there. The result was a number of awkward moments among himself, Delonta, and Donna.

The group dynamic, however, didn’t derive its tension entirely from Barry. Delonta and Donna had their own stormy history. They’d had a difficult marriage and a contentious divorce. But by the time Barry came along, in the summer of 2008, they were developing a quiet, platonic relationship in which Delonta would help out with any number of tasks at Donna’s house.

It was this relationship—between Donna and Delonta—that the 73-year-old councilmember couldn’t abide. And before long, he’d seek to deploy the powers of his office to undo it.

Our Readers Say

Kudos for Donna and Delonta being able to be civil and caring despite their divorce. Another example that these are not "crazy" or "unstable" people. Marion Barry is a narcisistic and a control freak and he is dangerous. For him to think he can control someone elses personal relationships is insane. He is a text book example of "abuse of power".

P.S. Pretty picture of Donna Watts-Brighthaupt. I hope she is able to find a job soon. She seems like a nice person and a responsible person.


I was apprehensive about my picture on the front page....yet again, but this one comment - from a fellow W8er has me grinning for days. And ya know what? I can see a little light at the end of this dark tunnel. It truly is going to be alright.

PS - As a Poli Sci student, one strives for named recognition - not this way though. But hey, I got it.
@DBrighthaupt - Keep your head up! It's going to be alright because you are telling the truth - something MB is incapable of doing and you have a shred of integrity which is something that MB wouldn't know if it sent him a certified letter.

It will be more than okay and you will be the better for it. Being in front sometimes means taking some of the early shots but you aren't alone. Anyone who lives in Ward 8 knows you are speaking the truth - even if they aren't ready to admit it themselves. Whether you consider it God, the universe, heck call it karma something is saying it is time that this stuff comes to light and hopefully come to an end.

There are those that are going to discourage you, attack you and humilate you but that is because they fear (and rightly so) that the Marion Barry gravy train is going to end. There are those that are sufficient with scraps and those of us who only want to make our own bread. It's time for Ward 8 to stop begging for scraps at the table of Marion Barry and his "Motley" crew of bandits.
Barry's a disgrace. If he still has any conscience, it's buried far beneath his arrogant, smug veneer. He should fade away and end this bad dream.
Anyone who would entertain the idea of sleeping with Marion Barry cannot be taken seriously, certainly not credible or deserving of our sympathies. You are just as unstable and dangerous as Marion. You are a disgrace as a mother and not anyone who should be held up in public as a role model. Marion Barry is scum, and if you continued to date a married man after what he did to you in Denver, then you probably deserve each other. I will give you some small credit for exposing him and helping to get him arrested. Maybe this will be his end. I might even be grateful for your participation. However, I hope that taxpayers will not be shelling out more tax dollars to you by way of a lawsuit. You've stolen enough of our hard-earned money through this lucrative contract. You and your pimp should peddle your body in another city. The Wilson Building is already tapped out.
This is just strange and perverse. I agree that that is a very lovely picture of DWB and it makes one wonder why such a beautiful woman would be involved with such a raggedy old man in failing health? Especially one who antagonizes her ex-husband/caregiver and makes her children uncomfortable by putting them in the middle of adult business. Marion Barry is more than seventy years old! How could he try to involve children in this nonsense? He's an old, old man who should know better and just in general shouldn't be engaged in this type of nonsense. I'll say it again, he's over seventy. This is collegiate-level foolishness. But he's obviously sick (mentally) and lacks any good judgment or sense of propriety.

We all know Barry is sick, but when do the maternal instincts kick in to protect the children from a man who has clearly crossed the line? It's bad enough allowing Barry to humiliate and antagonize the ex-husband, but allowing him to torment the kids too? This article kinda supports the suggestion by Barry's spokeperson that DWB is mentally unstable. How could she allow this circus to continue once he crossed the line and started involving her children? As poorly as all this reflects on Barry, he could not have done any of this without DWB actively participating and enabling him.

You can't blame a shark for biting. That's what sharks do. You can't blame a bird for flying. That's what birds do. And you can't blame a fool (Barry) for acting like a fool. But if you don't consider yourself a fool too (DWB), then you have to accept the blame for all this nonsense. Anybody in DC older than 30 knows that Barry is going to do what he's going to do and quite often, what he does is something ignorant. You can't jump in the pool with that old, raggedy-ass shark and then try to blame it on him when you get bit.

Let me be clear: I do not support Barry or take his side in this. I am sick of that corrupt old man. He's just a tick suckling on the city and he's exploiting the people he purports to be championing. Were it not for his council seat/salary/healthcare, he might not still be here. He can't get hired anywhere at his age, with his reputation, and certainly not at his council salary. That dude was knocking on death's door when he got elected to that seat and now look at him. He ain't the picture of health, but he doesn't look like a walking skeleton anymore either. Ward 8 saved his life. I do not support Barry. But I also find it impossible to feel sympathy for someone who willfully cavorts in his sewer and then complains about how bad they end up smelling. DWB was not victimized by Barry. She was victimized by her own foolishness.
I Cram To Understand U...well stated, the first thought that came to mind whn i heard this story was that she involved HERSELF with him. Now was it politically motivated?...IT DAMN SURE LOOKS LIKE IT...she is 40 and looks good, its no way in hell she would have gave MB any play if he wasnt COUNCILMEMBER yeah, her fame has came, but it has possibly ruined her entire life b/c she has clearly made herself look like it was a motive behind being with this dude... and to top it off, SHE ACTUALLY GOT INVOLVED WITH THIS OLD ASS hat goes off to Delonta for being a real man taking responsibility whn his ex-wife is in dire need, but her and MB are NUTTS
Sound like 3 escapees from St. E's...

Allowing this nonsense around children? Young girls seeing their mother playing herself for an old fool sends WHAT message to them?
I am a DC native and Marion Barry has been DC's politics as long as anyone can remember. I do appreciate what Barry has done in the past for the youth and elderly of this city but I have a tendency to agree, his time has come to relinquish his council seat. He has NOT become a disgrace to this beautiful city but a reminder of what and who not to become. As for Brighthaupt, every one has issues and problems, most of us keep them inside of our homes. If Barry disturbed you this much you should have done the same thing you did to your ex-husband, hit the courts and get a CPO, but you didn't. This leads me to think that you knew what Barry was up to and wanted your 15 minutes of fame.

Well now you got it and it ain't pretty. Barry is used to having all his laundry out there for all to see. You cannot tell me you have never read about Barry at some point in time. So what I have to say to you is now you will be forever known as the woman who Barry put out 'cause you didn't suck his dick!!!
Damn Cram, Ward 6 and KWoods - From your comments I'll venture to guess you have not delved into the entire saga. You allowed your emotions and hate filled opinions guide you through this short story. I read somewhere that Barry was once important to the family (girls included) Now I read Barry would call the girls when momma wasn't around. I also read Barry could arrive unannounced at any moment. I heard she never considered herself a girlfriend. I also read there was a 'break-up' months ago. I still don't understand enough to have an opinion But I do give kudos to a mother who's raised a girl to be 16 years old and still want to stay 'in a childs place'. --THAT SPOKE VOLUMES TO ME

Now this all stemmed from Stalking which Momma never charged. So I'm going conclude she really wanted to keep this mess in her house - but the Media and Barry's group are going to do what they do best - Tell it loud and tell it wrong. Additionally, if momma had filed an unnecessary CPO, I believe you downers would be typing the same old shit. So what I say to your tarrot cards and biblical striks at their characters....fuck ya

Nope noones angelic in this soap opera - not even Delonta for seeking City Paper out in the first place. But unless you three are sitting on some golden thrown that makes your shit smell sweet, your predictions and small talk of a woman who knows the game is grimey.........and by the way, never complained, whined or shouted STALKER need to shut the hell up! What u could do is...

1. Seek out the chronological timeline of stories before rendering a comment
2. Read the other interesting articles this paper has to offer and when you see Barry - turn the page.
3. Pass the hat around for her daughters' tuition if you claim you care so much about them. LOL

Carry on
If Mrs. Watts-Brighthaupt wished to advance her political career, there were numerous avenues she could have explored rather than being mentored by a philanderer such as Barry. She willing allowed herself to be influenced by a man who has a preyed on the naivety of Ward 8 residents and pursued his own immoral agendas, leaving us taxpayers to pick up the burden. Mrs. Watts-Brighthaupt should be ashamed of taking money from the city and should be held accountable for her actions.
As the old adage goes: You play with fire and you get burned.
@w4resident -
"naivety of Ward 8 residents"....did you mean all W8 residents?
It was not my political career I wished to advance. I don't have one. "If" you had sought a little more info........
At 40 with a bachelor's those numerous avenues dwindle and narrow into 1-way dirt roads. I'd say this is a lesson for the young who falsely believe they have all the time in the world.
I submit to you sir that my unwillingness to be influenced by this man got me typing to you today.
I should never be ashamed for taking the little money I earned.
Trust me - I'm being held accountable for not only my actions, but others who refuse to take accountability for their own.

I laugh and joke, but I definitely do not play. I did get burned but you better bet I'm all the better for it.

Good day Sir..or madame
@Realist, I'm going to venture to guess that you have really made a mess of your life if you think that someone has to be sitting on a "golden thrown" [sic] in order to express dismay at two people who've allowed their dysfunction to become a regional/briefly national (Barry on CNN) scandal.

You don't have to be a goody-two-shoes or in any way hyper-judgmental to shake your head at somebody who ends up on the front page of a newspaper with the caption "You put me out in Denver 'cause I wouldn't suck your dick."

That's major-league dysfunction right there. Well-deserving of condemnation and ridicule. That's not the kind of thing that could have happened to anyone amongst us. The overwhelming majority of people--even those who get into some drama here and there--live their whole lives without their name ever being in the news for anything. Most people (drama kings/queens and saints) absolutely don't end up as part of the historical record like this. And if your life has taken the kinds of turns that would make you think that something like that could happen to anyone and people must be "hate filled" to judge it as reckless and irresponsible behavior, that's a testament to your own dysfunction.

It's interesting you blame everybody except the central figure in all this. You blame the commentors, the media, Barry's people, the Park Police (since according to you, they made up the stalking charges...nobody asked them for any help in the park that evening, they just decided to arrest a city councilman and make up a charge...DWB just happened to be an innocent bystander who got dragged into a Park Police conspiracy), and you throw a little dirt on the supportive ex-husband too, just for good measure.

But mama gets kudos for raising her children to know their place. Interesting that she doesn't deserve any censure in your opinion for continuing to cavort with a dude who was trying to force that child to not be in a child's place.

There's no hate in my words. I just expect adults to be accountable for their actions. If you think someone is a hater because they expect people to adhere to minimum standards of conduct and behavior, you really have some maturing to do, assuming you're even capable.
Dear Ms. Watts-Brighthaupt: I'm really struggling with this story. The relationship you have with your ex-husband seems so stable, a good friendship... I read here that you had a tumultuous divorce, and are raising two girls. So, at 40 years old (and I'm 35 myself) I ask you: What were you thinking about hooking up with Marion Barry?

First, he's old enough to be your dad. Not that there's anything necessarily wrong with that, but he is wearing everyone of those years.

Second, he hits on anything in a skirt. I've seen it and been the victim of it, so I know how he is. Why was this attractive to you? And not just that, but his whole sordid history. The crack. The prostitute(s). The tax evasion - WHICH WAS RECENT! Girl, come on: Do you really need to be involved with a man with THESE problems? I know there aren't a lot of dudes out there, but you can and should do better than this.

Third, after the incident in Denver, you didn't realize how unstable and unhappy and undeserving of any more of your attention he was? Any man that would require a woman to perform a sex act or hit the streets - knowing that there is almost NO CHANCE she will find alternative lodging (Denver during Convention?) - what kind of "man" is that?

I just struggle with these questions. And reading this, it is even more confusing, the split between what appears to be a good relationship with your ex and your choice of this clown. I just can't see anything about Marion Barry that says "I'll make a good mate."

Oh, yeah: And he's still married.

I'm not telling you anything you don't already know, but you don't owe any of us an explanation. But girrrrrrrllllll, I would love to hear how you let this happen.
@zoorph - giirrrllllll I would love to tell ya how I let this happen as soon as I figure it out. - From here we simply try to find the positives.

Yes you did tell me what I already knew
What you don't know is a day-to-day account of my marriage where sometimes living apart is really for the best. Nor do most of you know what I've learned about Marion.
After reading, studying and analyzing the statistics of black women and cancer I decided to take out my bucket list. While still planning for another 40 years, today seemed just as fine to do whatever the hell I want.

I'm struggling for proper context - because you the blogger have only a snippet of the big picture, thus the confusion; but.......let me see....OK

Before I married - I used to criticize women who'd put up with all types of mess from their husbands. I had opinions, advice and revelations on what this woman should do with her life. "Giiiirrllllll I wouldn't take that mess from him If I were you...I'd be gone. She's crazy to deal with that mess.", ect.

Then I got married. I had no idea how much I was willing to put up with. Could not believe the power of forgiveness, forgetfulness and sacrifice I had. And with every last one of us- enough is enough when only you've had enough - right?
So you understood that during these conventions, there wasn't even a park bench available - huh?

Oh! and on that note - I've attended political conventions before and had planned to attend this one over two years ago. I booked two rooms last year but they were no where near the DC Delegations. I wanted to be with the DC Delegation. Also I purchased my own flight before MB decided to go himself. WCP could vouch for this.

Since you asked as kindly as possible given the subject matter..... I never thought of Barry as 'a good mate'. It wasn't any of my business whose skirt he chased. Everyone who knows me knows where my interests were (wink).

I hadn't thought of MB as my W8 leader until last year. But guess what? He is our W8 leader and I'd need to work with him, not angrily against him, to get things done in my Ward. I got a lot of things done for my Ward through him.

As far as age is concerned - if a person has more knowlege in a subject I'm interested in, I'll listen. This 73 year old knows politics in this Ward.

In an effort to bring Community back to my block, I'm trying to renew our annual block party. You are more than welcomed to come with others and if time permits - I'd welcome you to ask anything you'd like. As long as the anger is left at home. I can take it. :) You'd think these blogs were harsh - you should be a fly on the wall when those who love me hatch away at this unfortunate issue.
@ Cram to understand - Realist is young and hasn't lived enough of her life to make a mess of it. But I will say to have a home and working on her master at 28 isn't bad.

If you haven't a blimish nor ever made a mistake in your life - nor even 1 family member or friend amongst you, then I'm sincerely happy to read that. Believe it or not, my family is straight and narrow as well with quite accomplished backgrounds.

Go live, make a mistake or two, write about it and dare the public to judge ya. Only then, will I take your opinion into any kind of second thought.

I guess if Realist were speaking for the other entities involved he/she would seek to find blame in me. For the record- I blame all parties involved because only we know the orgin and circumstances that got us here. I'd expect you to comment on what you've read and I see from your comment exactly what you took out of it.

I understand
Hey Delonta, how about instead of spending your time worrying about where Marion B is slanging his meat to your EX-Wife (who divorced you) why don't you worry about finidng a job, and doing something whith your life other than cheerleading this foolishness, and trying to tear down a fellow black man. You on this joint, commenting and carrying on about what another man is doing with your ex-wife, man stop trying to milk your 15 minutes of fame and go kick rocks. From the article it seems like them kids aren't your either, so you really had no business all up under your ex-wife, outside of sticking your nose in business, where you had none. You have milked your ex-wife, it seems like you tried to milk MB, and now you are milking this bullshit for as long as it will be milked, move on kid, just move on
My Mom said MB has always been a nut. Especially when it comes to women, look at his track record four marriages. This man is running a race, but he will never get to the finish line. He keeps running off course and finding himself on the side of the road in the gutter. Mr. Brighthaupt, have no worries for a good man never has to compete in a race, he is already at the finish line watching others trying to catch-up. So you keep standing at that finish line and keep you head up and your pride high.
@Big Tony - Have we met? JUST JOKING! In many instances he was sucked into this mess and I'll take the horrible comments. Yet in a shell:

DWB should have established thicker boundaries
MB shouldn't have abused his power at the Wilson Building
DB shouldn't have sought the City Paper with my personal phone voicemails.

I got used to having a male around executing those tasks we three never liked doing. He got used to us calling him to do it. DB is finding his niche and will make a wonderful companion for someone. I'd be the first to dance at his whatever.................if he doesn't sing.

"MB slanging his meat?" that was funny.
@DBrighthaupt - I don't know if this means much but you are maintaining as much dignity as one could in this situation. I applaud you. No one came out of this situation unscarred and everyone has some responsibilities but I see no need to blame you for what happened. At the end of the day Marion Barry was elected Ward 8 councilman and HE had responsibilities to the community which not only did he fail to uphold but exploited for his own personal gain.

I can see how MB can be inticing ( to me he is an A+ creep) but I can see how he can be persausive and I don't blame you for that. My mom always says sometmies you have to make the best you can out of a bad situation.

I know I said it before but keep your head up. Keep speaking the truth and know that in your heart of hearts only you know the full story and regardless what any detractors or supporters (because you do have both) may say at the end of the day only you have to live with your choices and only you know what is right for you and you and your family WILL be okay.

God puts people in certain places at certain times in order to learn or teach special lessions therefore regret not what happened - learn and grow from it and with any luck perhaps you have played some part in Ward 8 finally getting the attention and proper and adequete political and economic representation that we so desperatly need. There are learned, focused and honest leaders right here in Ward 8 who are ready to step up and take Barry's place and move us collectively to the next step.

Keep your head up! You have support!
I'm sorry, I just have to keep it real. Except for Donna's battle with cancer, NO ONE IN THIS SAD DRAMA DESERVES ANY SYMPATHY! In fact, all of the players involved here can best be described as trifling! Delonta strikes me as a man not only trifling but even ignorant. There's no way in the world a women with two children is going to respect a man who refuses to find gainful employment. And for him to feed these extremely embarrassing tapes to the public about a women he supposedly cares about demonstrates beyond any shadow of a doubt he is a loser. Women of DC help me out here; is the scarcity of men so dire that you're turning to losers like this?

Marion Barry? What can you say that hasn't already been said. The man is a disgrace and his behavior is appalling. Harassing 11 year-old children?

And finally, Donna Watts-Brighthaupt, although physically an attractive woman, is equally trifling as the other two. First of all, where did the children come from in the first place? There is nothing in these tawdry stories which indicate she was ever married to their father(s) (do they have the same father?). This sort of indicates to me that she was ghetto to begin with. Being unmarried with two children doesn't give a women very many options, so an ignorant loser like Delonta actually becomes a viable partner for the regular booty call...until of course the bills start pouring in and she don't want his raggedy ass anymore. But that's when she aims her gold-digging sights on a crusty, prostate cancer ridden 73 year Marion Barry. The whole damn thing makes me want to vomit.

This sh@t is trifling all the way around.
@ disgusted - I sincerely hope you can get over your disgust through your blogging. I'm truly glad to see you survived such disgust through reading the entire story and every blog to get to your obvious disgusted conclusion. Of course I, nor they deserve your sympathy. I nor they didn't ask for it. Nor do we three give two shits to have your sympathy. I've stated time and time again - and for the last time to disgusted people like you that this entire thing is a tragedy in which we all played a part.

There is no gold to be dug from anyone Disgusted. Though I will seek value in your comment and make it a value toward living my life forward.....maybe to not disgust you as much -huh?

Your indications of my backround and culture are certainly yours to have and the Women of DC who are willing to agree with you are certainly free to concur. Once your style of writing gives me some 'indication' that you are an educated woman, then maybe, just maybe I'll give your vomit filled guess work comments a 1st thought.

And as I humbly state to anyone who acts as if they are really thinking of my girls - give to the private school fund then say whatever the fuck you want - hell post it on a blimp why don't ya

Oh thanks so much for the disgusting 'physically attractive' compliment.

Good lonely night to ya
I'm going to get in trouble for responding to these comments. I'm supposed to ignore them for sanity sake. Shucks.....

Might I suggest a little book to those who feel as if they may vomit over my little life choices?

'The Greatest Salesman in The World'

Everyone in my home references it when we feel our attidudes are showing. Makes a difference in how one comes across to their fellow man.
Why don't we take all this disgust and aim it at the man who deserves it? Marion Barry! If you haven't already you should be on the phone/email/twitter/im - heck send a carrier pigeon to the FBI and demand an investigation. I think we all know that the city and the city council are not going to police themselves. Unfortuetly its going to take a federal investigation to get to the bottom of thisi and hold crooked folks accountable. Thanks to the WCP for doing its part shedding a light on Marion Barry's crimes! Because at the end of the day this all started with him and it stops with him - DW not her husband or her children were elected as Ward 8 councilperson MB was and he is the one holding all the cards and pulling all the strings. He swore an oath which he again exploited for his own personal gain. How the FBI is not in his office right now carting away boxes of evidence I have no idea. This is all so tragic and maddening!!! That pisses me off.
dwb- I just read the article and the blogs and want to commend you on your ability to respond to some of the ignorant comments in a dignified way We all make mistakes in life and should use them to educate ourselves to do better in the future. You have to live your life for you and your children and forget about the people out there who claim to live perfect lives.
I have re-read this article for a second time and thought that maybe I could gain some type of insight to all of this. NOT!!! It's just as sad and maybe a tad funnierto me from the first time I read it. I understand that we all have our issues to deal with but for them to come out in the light like this. SHAMEFUL. Women in general have a hard time making it, black women have a harder time. Picking up a bum from the streets, taking him home and cleaning him up would be better than dealing with Barry, and you wouldn't have to worry about being on Fox5 News or the cover of WCP.
Another piece of great reporting. I really miss the City Paper. When I worked in Bethesda I could find it at several places. After I left there I lost track of it and haven't seen a copy in years. Just recently reconnected online.
@ jc - Much appreciated. I hope you'll imagine, I, my family and friends are hard enough on me. Comments as yours help to focus on today and tomorrow.

@KWoods - You haven't said anything my mom hasn't already. And yes it is quite funny - the jokes my brother gets out of this are sitcom worthy. I did some standup comedy a few chapters back and when my skins a little thicker, I just may hit an Improv with it. Your comment is free to make - much respect.

@ Jack - Welcome back?

Peace & Butterflies

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