Barry Accuses Catania of 'Disrespect' as Feud Grows
Is Council member David A. Catania (I-At large) out to get Marion Barry because Barry was the only council member to oppose the legalization of same-sex marriages performed in other states?
Barry (D-Ward 8) thinks so.
In an unusually personal and public letter from one council member to another, Barry is accusing Catania of being "rude" and "disrespectful" because of a "personal vendetta" over same-sex marriage.
On Friday, Catania walked out a Council press conference announcing that attorney Robert S. Bennett will investigate Barry's decision to give his then-girlfriend a city contract. Catania said he ran out when Barry began speaking because he didn't want to give off the perception that the Council is rallying behind the former mayor.
"May I suggest that you turn the page and stop being disrespectful and unprofessional as it relates to me, personally and professionally, and other members," Barry wrote in his letter, which he released to the media this evening. "You and your emotionally charged actions (are) causing a great divide."
Barry, trying to rebound after a bad week, fired off his letter a few hours after Catania called for the Office of the Inspector General to look into a City Paper report that Barry steered money to several organizations in Ward 8 that didn't initially formally exist.
Barry called it "a lie" for Catania to suggest that one of the programs in question - Clean and Sober - is "supervised by myself or Brenda Richardson," a Barry aide.
"I call upon you to stop spreading these lies and false perceptions as it pertains to this," Barry wrote.
Barry said his relationship with Catania soured after the same-sex marriage vote. Barry said Catania, a key supporter of the legislation, verbally abused him after the vote.
"To say that you used choice words when speaking with me would be an understatement - you literally cursed me out," Barry wrote. "Since that time, you have been rude, disrespectful, and will not even speak to me when spoken to."
Barry said Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) has tired to arrange a meeting between the two, but Catania has refused to attend.
"Lets meet and see if we can come to an amicable resolution," Barry wrote.
In an interview, Catania called Barry "desperate."
"I think Marion is very worried and understandbly so, so he is just lashing out," Catania said. "He is lashing out to deflect attention from his own action."
The full text of Barry's letter can be found below:
I have been perplexed, appalled, hurt by your increasingly levels of disrespect. On several occasions Chairman Gray has asked that you and I meet, and you have refused. Most recently, you walked out of the Chairman's press conference making an emotional public statement. I attribute your latest actions to my "no" vote on recognizing same sex marriages from other states. Prior to the vote, we worked together cordially and with respect to one another.
As you may recall, soon after the vote you came down to my office. To say that you used choice words when speaking with me would be an understatement - you literally cursed me out. Since that time you have been rude, disrespectful, and will not even speak to me even when spoken to. Furthermore, you have taken upon yourself to draw in on what essentially is a personnel matter for the Board of Directors of Clean and Sober and Youth Leadership Council. This is unprecedented in your affairs with DC City Council.
As you very well know, the community investments in question were approved by the DC City Council. These community investments are administered by the agencies where they are placed. As you further know, Council members DO NOT HAVE contract authority. For you to imply that the "Clean and Sober" community investment is administered or supervised by myself or Brenda Richardson is a lie. I call upon you to stop spreading these lies and false perceptions as it pertains to this.
To add insult to injury, you have not involved any of the other four members of the Committee, including myself, in the issue of "Clean and Sober." Independent of any other Member of the Committee, you on your own, has asked the Inspector General to investigate this matter. David, this is under the purview of the entire Council and not you independently. Just because you have a personal vendetta against me, an equal member of the Council with the same voting rights as you, does not mean that you should not be professional and discuss this matter with me and other members of the committee prior to making any calls of an investigation.
May I suggest that you turn the page and stop being disrespectful and unprofessional as it relates to me, personally and professionally, and other Members of the Council. You and your emotionally charged actions is causing a great divide. In a Democracy, there is room for dissent and disagreement. It happens in Legislative bodies all across this great land. Let's meet and see if we can come to an amicable resolution.
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