City Desk

Marion Barry Arrest: Barry Camp Says Accuser Is Nuts

Natalie Williams, spokesperson for Marion Barry, called a late-night press conference in front of the Wilson Building in order to respond to a Washington Post story today saying that he had given a city contract to alleged stalkee Donna Watts-Brighthaupt. Before the nightly news reporters and a few print reporters, Williams said that due to "continued false allegations," she would reveal the "truth surrounding Mr. Barry's relationship" with Watts-Brighthaupt.

That relationship came into play on Saturday, after Barry was arrested on a misdemeanor stalking charge for allegedly following Watts-Brighthaupt in his car.

Williams started out with the allegation that Watts-Brighthaupt was under the care of a psychiatrist and that she'd been diagnosed with "compulsive behavior disorder and clinical depression."

At that moment, Watts-Brighthaupt, who was standing unnoticed behind the cameras listening to the proceedings, blurted out, "That's not true."

Williams, a bit unsettled, continued with her statement, defending the awarding of a contract to Watts-Brighthaupt, explaining that the purpose was to create an "emerging leaders program." The idea was to "identify, recruit, and develop" youth leaders in Ward 8; the funding was to be $60,000. Williams said the award was proper. Only $20,000 of the award was disbursed.

"For the record, it is not unusual, nor is it illegal, to award contracts to friends or family members who qualify and can provide the services required," said Williams, who went on to say that a bidding process is not required. Williams finished by attacking Watts-Brighthaupt's credibility, calling Saturday's events and her "rambled statements to the media" proof of her instability.

As Watts-Brighthaupt was pulling away in her vehicle, she said this: "Looks like they're scared of something. I must be bad."

Additional reporting by Jason Cherkis
Video courtesy of WRC-TV

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  • The Advoc8te

    Please note that this "Emerging Leaders" Program that Barry allegedly had this woman working on came coincidently right after the announcment and subsquent success of the RIVER EAST EMERGING LEADERS (reel) event that was held in Feb at Honfleur. After the success of the event (which Barry did not attend) it was communicated to the REEL steering committee by the Barry camp that Barry was upset he was not given credit (despite not doing anything) for the creation of this group.

    While there is plenty of room for multiple groups to promote ermerging leaders in Ward 8 the time couldnt be more concerning. Marion Barry needing a new pet project to compete with a highly successful and sincere group that was created beyond his control and a job needed for his girlfriend.

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  • The Advoc8te

    What would be the need to spend $60k for a new group when there was already a group that was getting off the ground doing the same thing? A group that was created for Ward 7 and 8 Emerging Leaders by Ward 7 and 8 Emerging Leaders - and which was founded with not one goverment or Ward 8 dollar being spent. The steering committee was made up totally of volunteers from River East.

    I would love to know when this contract was first submitted and compare that to when the media annoucments and first event was held for the reel event.

  • The Advoc8te

    This is my first blog post about the River East Emerging Leaders group (who had been meeting for months at this point):

    This is a link to the first event held at Honfleur:

  • Charles Wilson

    Dear LL & Readers,

    Please note that The Advoc8te's comments are 100% correct. Please do not confuse or even associate the River East Emerging Leaders (r.e.e.l.) program with Mr. Barry’s initiative. We began the formation of this great organization in November of 2008. Progressive residents from both Wards 7 & 8 came together over several months with the goal of creating an organization that would bring PROGRESS to our communities. We are a Progressive Network Created to Enlightened, Engage and Empower our River East Community.

    The River East Emerging Leaders are in no way associated with Mr. Barry.

  • Jacques Chevalier

    Now, I must pause and ponder the real/r.e.e.l. truth, ummm?
    Seems a lot has to be revealed and all records of contracts,cell phones,meal bills at the restaurant, criminal probes,and yes we should hope the Marion Barry and The Donna Watts-Brighthaupt work it out with success.

  • Angry Al Gonzales

    I hope Mayor Barry got some good sex for the $20,000 we taxpayers paid. This woman seems crazy enough, & as we all know, it's the crazy chicks who are the best at sex.

  • BobinDC

    “'For the record, it is not unusual, nor is it illegal, to award contracts to friends or family members who qualify and can provide the services required,' said Williams, who went on to say that a bidding process is not required."

    Let's be clear that if hiring your friends, family, and paramours isn't illegal, it certainly is unethical and is exactly the sort of thing that needs to end.

  • KCinDC

    Hear, hear, Bob! If changes to the laws are needed, that sounds like your next project after marriage equality is achieved.

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  • Skipper

    When can we expect our esteemed members of the City Council to ask for a DC Auditor or Inspector General review of this issue since taxpayer dollars were funneled to a person who was romantically involved with Barry?

    Surely Vince Gray will hold a hearing on the matter, right?

    After all, there's no doubt he wouldn't be clamoring for hearings if the Mayor had done something similar to what Barry did.

    Or does Vince Gray's concept of good government not apply when it's one of his colleagues that openly admits to unethical awarding of taxpayer money to a lover?

  • StopthePlaya

    Good question, Skipper. Where is Gray and Cheh and the rest of Council's investigatory zeal now?

    And people wonder why Fenty rolls right past Council.

    The media action is informative and entertaining, but let's see some ethical leadership from the city government.

  • Angry Al Gonzales

    I wish Mary Cheh would pay me $20,000 to sex her up - she is one foxy council member. Note to people who are upset about Mayor Barry using $20,000 in taxpayer money to pay for sex - fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice - well - as Pres Bush said - well, we won't get fooled again.

    Anybody surprised that Barry was using taxpayer money to pay for sex should look in the mirror. Giving Barry control of money is like giving a pile of meat to a dog - the money & the meat are soon devoured.

    No one on the city council should have any discretionary money whatsoever. Period. Except for Cheh, the rest of them steal & loot & pay their friends.

  • DCBob

    @KC, it looks like the conflict of interest law Sec. 1-1106.01 does not apply to paramours. Only immeadiate family: spouse, domestic partner, sibilings, parents children and the spouses and DPs of the same. We'll have to expand that to intimate relationships. Definitions may be tricky, but the workplace harrassment rules may offer guidance.

    I think that the law can be fixed fairly easily, but barry maybe off the hook, legally, on this one.

  • KCinDC

    So DCBob (same as BobinDC?), is Williams partly incorrect when she says "For the record, it is not unusual, nor is it illegal, to award contracts to friends or family members who qualify and can provide the services required"? I guess as long as the family members are not immediate it's true.

  • DCBob

    @KC, probably me, Bob Summersgill.

    The conflict of interest law (sec 1-1106.01) prevents a public official from hiring their wife, but not their mistress; and prohibits hiring their brother's wife, but not their wife's brother.

    It is a very poorly written law.

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  • candycane1

    Like I said before, get a woman with a job, drug free, closer to your age and one that is sane. If the woman was crazy and under psychiatric care then Barry should have left her alone. He is too old for this drama. He got played! She used him for the things she couldn't get with the ex and the ex evidently has never been quite the ex.

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