Marion Barry's Other Woman Ward 8 Councilmember steers social services contracts to another girlfriend.

Ward 8 councilmember Marion Barry. Inset: Sharon L. Bowen

Marion Barry likes his girlfriends to work on reducing poverty.

The Ward 8 councilmember was arrested on July 4 for allegedly stalking his estranged girlfriend Donna Watts-Brighthaupt. Public documents later revealed that Barry had arranged for a $5,000-per-month contract for Watts-Brighthaupt to work on an anti-poverty project.

A similar pattern played out with a Barry girlfriend who preceded Watts-Brighthaupt.

Sharon L. Bowen of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, also saw her personal ties with Barry blur into a professional relationship in 2007, with tens of thousands of dollars in public money at stake.

Like Watts-Brighthaupt, Bowen was tasked to work in the area of poverty research. According to her personal-services contract with the District, Bowen was paid to “conceptualize, design, plan and execute” a poverty summit for the council’s housing and urban affairs committee, which Barry chairs.

Bowen was paid $5,000 per month for her services. Records indicate she was paid $50,000 total between June 2007 and April 2008. Watts-Brighthaupt made $15,000.

According to four sources with knowledge of the situation, Bowen was also Barry’s girlfriend at the time.

Sharon Wise, who headed up nonprofits formed by Barry and worked with Bowen out of his Anacostia ward office, says the relationship got to the point that “she was calling herself Sharon Barry.” (Though Barry's still married to Cora Masters, the two have been estranged for years.)

Who is Sharon Bowen?

Currently residing in a suburb of Columbus, she is the widow of William F. Bowen, a powerful state senator from Cincinnati who died in 1999. People who have met Bowen describe her in similar terms: “a class act.”

It is unclear how Barry and Bowen met, but in early 2007, Bowen knew Barry well enough to get a consulting contract under her corporate moniker, the Bowen Group LLC (motto: “Beyond the Expected”).

That same year, source says, Bowen was staying with her daughter, Shawnda N. Wilkinson, a marketing and PR consultant who lives in Potomac.

Reached by phone, Wilkinson refused to shed light on how her mother ended up working in Ward 8. “I have no idea,” she said. Asked if her mother had a relationship with Barry, Wilkinson replied: “I don’t have any comment. I’m not interested in having any conversation with you.”

Washington City Paper, over the past month, has placed dozens of calls to Bowen. None have been returned.

Bowen’s initial agreement lists her various duties as including working closely with the office of Carol Schwartz then an at-large councilmember, attending meetings regarding the poverty summit, developing a strong working relationship with the Ward 8 Business Council, submitting reports and materials on deadline, and ensuring “that the vision of Councilmember Marion Barry is fulfilled.”

At some point, Bowen’s job expanded to include more than planning a poverty summit. In the fall 2007, according to Bowen’s own documents, she described her job as “Public Relations and Out Reach Services” for work with the Ward 8 Business Council “to mobilize and promote clean-up and pride in Ward 8 and Poverty Summit.”

Documentation of Bowen’s role in organizing that event is hard to come by. Documents provided to Washington City Paper through an open-records request did not contain documentation of Bowen’s work beyond brief monthly invoices that she had submitted.

As for her other work, James Bunn, executive director of the Ward 8 Business Council, remembers Bowen being tasked with going door-to-door to identify area businesses.

Of Bowen’s $5,000 per month gig, Bunn says: “It’s not a rocket science.”

If Bowen wrote up a report of her findings, Bunn says, he never saw one, nor does he recall the Ward 8 Business Council receiving one. He adds that he has no knowledge of her contracts. And he certainly has no knowledge that the two were dating. “That’s not one of my privileges,” Bunn says.

Schwartz doesn’t recall any contact with Bowen: “To my knowledge she did not work at all with us,” the former councilmember says. “Councilmember Barry had asked that we work on the poverty summit, but I don’t think we ended up doing that.”

Sources do recall Bowen’s role as a Barry companion. She made appearances with the councilmember at various functions around the District, including a Board of Trade dinner honoring the District’s mayors. Washington Life magazine photographed Bowen with Barry and Barry’s likeness at Madame Tussauds unveiling of the wax councilmember in October 2007.

“She drove him around like Donna [Watts-Brighthaupt] did,” says a source. “Everything Donna Watts did, Sharon did before....She was known as the girlfriend.”

Watts-Brighthaupt had met Barry at his campaign kickoff event in June 2008. The two soon began a tumultuous relationship that also involved contract work. City records show Watts-Brighthaupt earned $600 for driving Barry around during the campaign. She later earned another $15,000 in contract work on an emerging leaders program—an arrangement that is not illegal under District law and council rules. That relationship had begun just as the Bowen–Barry partnership had come to an abrupt ending.

In April 2008, Barry had agreed to extend Bowen’s contract through the following September. Bowen signed a new personal services contract that varied slightly from her previous contract. It stipulated that she would “develop and execute an aggressive and solid plan to work closely with the Ward 8 Business Council.” It also required Bowen to work with Bunn to “help mobilize the Ward 8 merchants” and “make on-site visits to solicit support to help fix up and clean up the community.”

For the first month of the contract—May 2008—Bowen, as before, was to receive $5,000 for such work. But by June, Bowen’s work apparently had come to an end.

In a letter to Barry dated June 16, 2008, Bowen wrote that she was terminating her contract because she had not received her payment for her May work.

Bowen explained that on the week of May 28, she had been informed by Bernadette Tolson, Barry’s chief of staff, that there were issues with her contract “regarding the budget.”

“I was shocked because I thought that everything had been worked out,” Bowen wrote. “Ms. Tolson said that she was going to speak with you and try to get it worked out and get back with me. To date, I have not had the courtesy of a phone call or any correspondence regarding this matter.”

Bowen went on to detail her devotion to her various projects: “I worked many hours each day at your constituent office, attended meetings both during the day and evenings, developed a data base for the Ward 8 merchants, visited Ward 8 businesses, got pledge cards signed and did a considerable amount of work on initiatives with Mr. Bunn and the Ward 8 Business Council.” She closes: “Mr. Barry, I truly appreciate the opportunity to work with you on the Poverty Summit, the Ward 8 Business Council and other Economic and Business Development initiatives. I wish you good health and much success in all your endeavors.”

Perhaps budgetary concerns led to Bowen’s dismissal. Here’s another account, from a source familiar with Bowen’s work for Barry: “The relationship ended and he cut her off.”

In an interview, Tolson vaguely recalls Bowen. “I know that she helped with the poverty summit,” she says. “But I don’t know about the quality of her work…I know what everybody else does that’s because they were doing the work. She was just around for a little bit.”

Asked whether Bowen had a relationship with Barry, she said: “I can’t speak to that. That was really before my time. I just don’t know. When I saw her, it was always in a very professional kind of setting.”

Whatever issue there was with Bowen’s contract, Tolson says, “it must have been worked out.” But Tolson does not recall seeing Bowen working in Barry’s office after that May.

In an interview last month, Barry defended his contracts with Bowen as proper, saying that “whatever she got, she worked for it.” The lack of a paper trail documenting her work doesn’t concern him. “Every contract does not require a work product,” he says.

And he denied having a romantic relationship with Bowen: “I resent these implications that if I got out with a lady that there's something personal going on,” Barry said, referring to their public appearances together.

“She and I got no personal relationship,” he continued. “I got a lot of enemies out here. They make up stuff, and they spread rumors, they insinuate things....I urge you to take things with a grain of salt.”

Our Readers Say

If paying someone five grand a month isn't an anti-poverty project, I don't know what is. I just wish all pimps, playas, and mac daddies were as generous with their anti-poverty initiatives as they are with keeping their pimp hands STRONG.
Let us not forget that Barry had city contracts given to Rasheeda Moore as well.

Rasheeda Moore is the woman who Barry got caught smoking crack with at the Vista. She's the bitch in "that bitch set me up!"
monkeyrotica, you took the words out of my mouth. Anti-Poverty indeed...for Ms. Bowen.

I blame Barry, but I also blame the system that setup such earmarks without full disclosure and auditing.

Also, there is a noticable slant in this article Jason and Mike. The statement, "Wilkinson refused to shed light on how her mother ended up working in Ward 8", yet you quote her response as “I have no idea,”. If that is a refusal, then Former President Ronald Reagan, REFUSED to give testimony regarding Iran Contra. You guys can do better than this. Let the story speak for itself, WITHOUT THE NOTICABLE SLANTS.
Man yall sure got it in for ole Marion Barry.
We got congressmen and senators that are phedophiling lil boys and all yall can do is think about barry.
Find something else to write about.
Barry has looked after the"little" people of DC his entire career.
remember that as teh little people have now been gentrified right out of DC and remember that when the Summer youth Employment program is not operating effectively and remember that when you cant get a job in DC>
WCP must not have the juice to do such an intensive investigation of corrupt politicians on the hill involving millions of dollars. Their obsession with Marian Barry and his ladies is overkill. People have already formulated whatever opinion they are going to make about Barry. The more you demonize him in the press, the more likely he is going to be reelected by his ward constituents. That is a fact. You make him out to be Robin Hood.

A better story to pursue is what Fenty and Ronald Molten of the Peacaholics do in that downtown Ritz Carlton. I'll give you a lead, start with the housekeeping staff.
@ Q - YEA JASON AND MIKE...." Watts-Brighthaupt made $15,000."

I EARNED $15,000. And my original contract required a product not a service.


Gotta a have a sense of humor through this mess - I'll still respect your journalism is ya don't.
....nah but take that out.
@ concernedaboutdc - You have a point - you have quite a point. And if I were to put what little I know in a puzzle with what little you've hinted - that would be quite a point. hummmmmmmm

correction "if you" don't. not 'is ya don't. oops that dang grammar of mine.
Barry takes care of the "little people." Please that's bullshit and how many times are you folks gonna repeat that line again.

"Marion Barry has done more for poor people. Marion Barry cares about black people." Blah, blah and fucking blah.

Give me and example of what Barry has done for anyone other than himself, his hoes and Anthony Motley in the last 15 years?

And by the way all of the "little people" you have referred to have RUN with their District government jobs to reside in Prince George's county and have turned PG county upside down.

If Barry gets anyone a job in DC government do know that pussy is connected. And if it ain't his pussy he's getting DC government jobs its pussy that belongs to Motley, HR Crawford or one of those other Reverend Pimp Daddies he drinks cognac with at Players.

And voters beware, Vince Gray on the inside has the same politics and crooked personal life as Barry...he just speaks better...and doesn't make white folks feel uneasy.

Whoever wrote this story stay on his ass like white on rice, Barry has fucked over more "little people" than helping them.
Mike Debonis
How about looking into information regarding the illegal practices of PETER NICHOLS and the MAYOR....I am soo tired of you guys picking on Council Member Barry. How about the tens of thousands of dollars Michelle Fenty received from the Anacostia Waterfront Project in 2006. Contact Debra Nichols from the DC Auditor's Office. How about further information regarding the 10.9 million contract that Lomax received... I am still waiting for a list of the deliverables. How about Catania and what deliverables he received from his earmarkings.
Ward 8 Resident here--keep up with the news articles--don't let this go away. It's time for Barry's reign to end.
Vince Gray continues to look incredibly foolish with each story that comes out highlighting the Council's inability to properly govern itself with taxpayer money. How much money has been wasted by the Council on increased staffs and bloated personnel budgets? How much shady money has been raised for Council "constituent funds"? How many deals have been hatched behind closed doors and then rubber stamped at a Council meeting? How much money has been wasted on IT upgrades that produce one of the absolute worst legislative tracking websites?

Vince Gray has been an absolute failure when it comes to ensuring the Council spends taxpayer money wisely.
Clay Davis lives!
Another Ward 8 resident here. Please keep the articles coming. This foolishness has been allowed to continue far too long. We deserve proper and legal representation here in Ward 8.
@dbrighthaupt when will you stop the back and forth. You really need to shut up. You gave the paper permission to print whatever they want about you and your family and they have exploited you. How can you be so foolish!!! I was pissed that the paper would publish your children names but you allowed it. Don't you think they have suffered enough from you!!??? If it's not for your insane relationships, childish grown-ass men you deal with to nearly loosing their Mom to cancer you go and publicize their names. Shame on you!!!! I am raising teenagers and I try my best to keep our family business private. You know when they go to school this in a couple of weeks their friends, class mates, teachers and school administrators will all look at them funny and talk about them. Why would you do that??!!! Why!!! This is not cute. I had originally felt empathy for you now all I feel is rage. Every time they print an article about Marion Barry there you are commenting. Damn I thought you were employed. When do you have time to do a Q&A session for the city paper? Are you working for them? I’m starting to believe what Barry said about you are nuts!! Please stop! Any good friend or attorney would tell you to do so. You're contract is under scrutiny. The feds will soon look into and hear you are texting your life away. You have no class. I feel so sorry for you children Shut up!!!!

PS. Washington City Paper keep the articles coming. I love Barry and all you do is give him free publicity. Every time you harass him you make every Barry lover go out to the polls and vote for him. I vote for Barry every year. Right his name in when I have to. ( ~ _ *)!
Please, let us get back to what is happening in the various DC government agencies. Don't take your eyes off Mayor Fenty please. The stakes are too high. I particularly enjoyed the articles on what is happening with fired DC employees. The Mayor is control information coming out from the agencies. In order to get the truth, journalists/reporters will have to dig. Please don't stop digging. I would like you to turn your eyes to the Department of Employment Services. Unfortunately, by engaging in an unsavory relationship with the most recently named woman, the public has been very turned off. I wish the paper had placed the ex-girlfriend's statement inside the paper inside on the front. I know that it may take you some time, but go back to digging into the agencies secrets. There is much to be written; attend the budget hearing, the oversight hearings, etc. You'll be surprised what you find. Look at what is occurring with agency unions. Just look beyond the sensational.
I agree with Evie, the City Paper should focus on Mayor Adrian Malik Fenty and his corrupt administration. Fenty closed and privatized the D.C. Department of Mental Health. Over 300 Social Works, Registered Nurses, and staff lost their jobs at the Department of Mental Health. Fenty is in the pockets of white wealthy Developers. I hope Mayor Fenty will fall soon like the former Hip Hop mayor of Detriot, Kwame Kilpatrick. Some scandalous dirt will be found on Mayor Fenty before 2010.
I am not a Marion Barry supporter and I wish he would disappear or move back to his native Mississippi. The Washington City Paper need to let it go, because they appear to be obessessed with Marion Barry. Why they don't investigated At-Large member David Catania pushing is gay agenda or only catering to white gays in D.C.? Most of the D.C. Council are corrupt as the majority of politicians are.
Fenty being a bisexual is going to come out soon in the near future. Being married and having children don't mean nothing. Do you remember the former Governor of New Jersey married with children, but he had a gay lover.
Inquiring minds want to know. Please do tell about what happen at the Ritz Carlton with the Mayor and Ron Molten?
Wow, this really does sound like I'm reading one of the current stories on Barry:

" Hazel Diane "Rasheeda" Moore, the ex-model who lured D.C. Mayor Marion Barry into an FBI sting operation, won a no-bid District contract in 1986 to provide "self-esteem counseling" to teenagers after her family company sent a proposal directly to the mayor, according to city documents released yesterday.

Moore's sister sent the letter to the mayor, who knowledgeable sources said was having a sexual relationship with Rasheeda at that time. In the letter, Mertine Moore, who is president of the Designer's Goldfinger Inc., told the mayor that the proposal for the $52,488 project was being submitted by "The Designer's Goldfinger/Rasheeda's."
It gets even more like the current story. It would appear Marion Barry has a pattern of directly asking women he has helped in some way for sex, and then punishing them if they refuse. He's a huge role model for the children of DC. Not surprising the school reform effort is finding unacceptable treatment of young women by young men in DC schools.

" Hazel Diane "Rasheeda" Moore testified yesterday that after she refused a request for sex from D.C. Mayor Marion Barry in May 1988, he said her city contract for a summer youth program might not be renewed.

Moore said that Barry made the statement at the Vista Hotel on an afternoon when she and the mayor had been smoking crack.

Yesterday was Moore's fifth and last day on the witness stand in Barry's drug possession, conspiracy and perjury trial. During that time, she testified that she took drugs with the mayor more than 100 times before agreeing to assist in the FBI sting at the Vista on Jan. 18. "
That other girlfriend Mr.s Brighthaupt must know that she was just one of the whores, on the payroll, Yeah and she back on the old dick again, I saw the two together at a ward 8 meeting, and another night up U Street.
"Can't believe ANOTHER bitch set me up."
Enough already! The more you bring up, the more you empower...
Mayor for life Barry has done alot of good things for D.C. This man come out of Civil Rights era and he is a very intelligent man , all the accusations in this article are unfound,Every man has short coming Barry no saint but he hasnt done anything illegal, Even his alledge drug trial was a joke any person arrested on misdeamnor charges get 6 months fed time Hmm? suspect you ask me, when U.S.taget a black leader its no holds barred

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