Loose Lips

Barry Fined $13,600 and Censured Over Contractor Gifts

Money that Marion Barry took to possibly cover his expenses has left him with even more bills to pay. The Board of Ethics and Government Accountability censured Barry this afternoon for accepting $6,800 from two contractors and fined him double that amount.

Barry took $4,000 from F&L Construction and $2,800 in gifts from Forney Enterprises, even though he knew they were city contractors, according to the board's settlement with him. The board fined him $13,600 for breaking the prohibition on taking gifts above $20 from contractors, although it couldn't find evidence that Barry took the gifts in exchange for votes on city contracts.

Fred Cooke Jr., Barry's lawyer, hasn't returned LL's call.

The board also issued a violation notice for former Councilmember Michael Brown, who pleaded guilty last month to accepting $55,000 in bribes from undercover FBI agents. The plea opens Brown up to a BEGA fine for as high as three times the amount of the bribes: $165,000."There's big money at stake," Darrin Sobin, the board's director of government ethics, says.

Brown's fine could be much less if he negotiates a settlement with the board. BEGA didn't offer a timeline for settling with Brown, but board member Deborah Lathen asked for a hearing before his October sentencing, when Brown will likely start "living at taxpayers' expense."

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

Comments

  1. #1

    This seems appropriate for Mr. Barry. Kind of a Catch-22 for him after all - he winds up with a LOT more debt than he started out with.

  2. IAmNotALiberalDemocrat
    #2

    Marion Barry please retire and disappear from public life. Try to enjoy your life because at your age and frail health, you days are numbered on earth.

  3. IAmNotALiberalDemocrat
    #3

    your days

  4. #4

    Water off a duck's back. A censure with no meaningful penalty and a fine that's likely noncollectable given the dough Barry still owes in back taxes.

    At least the Ethics Board is rapping the knuckles of one city recidivists.

  5. #5

    Barry could not care less about the censure. But he does care about the fine.

    Will Barry pay the fine? He won't pay the fine unless he is forced to or unless someone gives him the cash to pay the fine.

  6. #6

    I'm sure he'll jump right on paying this fine, just like his taxes.

  7. #7

    'Slip up'?? What a joke. This reflects appropriately on the entire electorate who keep electing these clowns.

    It's a sad state of affairs when the Congress is the adult supervision.

  8. #8

    I thought the provision passed this fall allowed for removal of council members over ethics issues. Is this correct? I'm wondering if there are any penalties in addition to this fine he will face.

  9. #9

    Mabye the fact that they haven't found any evidence of pay to play is the reason he was only censured. Or is the new standard is that there are now no such things as censures...only immediate removal?

  10. #10

    Pharoah said "lets kill the male and spare the female"
    this just seems biblical. This was happening with the children
    of Israel.
    Did he ever do any good, Would you get as many comments
    if it was about President Kennedy or President Nixon or President
    Bill Clinton or George Bush. You get a trophy when you bring down
    a Blackman and sale more news papers online and print

  11. #11

    Lord help me, I'm with SEis4ME on this one.
    Absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence, but there is an absence of "play-to-play" evidence, and the fines exceed the initial "loan".
    I figure that unless the additional council investigation turns up pay to play than things are working as they should. He reported the contribution. He was investigated. He was censured and fined. He needs to pay that fine.
    If there is more to come out it will.

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Blogs Linking to this Article

  1. Marion Barry’s give and take

    [...] D.C. Council member Marion Barry has earned many distinctions in his long political career. First president of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Founder of Pride Incorporated. Four-term mayor. Longest-serving public official. On Thursday, he garnered a new, dubious distinction, becoming the first D.C. Council member ever fined for an ethics violation. In an agreement with the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability, Barry agreed to be censured and pay $13,600 to settle a probe into his acceptance of $6,800 in gifts from city contractors — while proclaiming in a statement that his “character and integrity remain intact.” He still could face sanctions from his council colleagues for the second time in four years, with Chairman Phil Mendelson set to appoint a five-member committee to recommend further action. More from WaTimes, AP, Loose Lips, DCist, WJLA-TV and WAMU-FM. [...]

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