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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:

Dear David,

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.

Marion Barry

By Tim Craig  |  July 13, 2009; 7:58 PM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Next: Aide to Jack Evans Found Dead in Baltimore


I would love to see those two in a cage match- i got a fifty on Barry-round 2 knockout

Posted by: gladtoliveindc | July 13, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

If there is anyone who is entirely deserving of universal disrespect, it is Marion Barry.

Lock the man up. Please. Save what little honor and pride the DC Council still has.

Posted by: RealityCheckerInEffect | July 13, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse

I love Catania. The guy is intelligent and thoughtful and he cares deeply about government of this great town. Ever since he bolted from the Rep party, my fondness for him has been growing. On this Barry issue--he's right on.

Posted by: IHeartDC | July 14, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, but you'd have to be a fool to respect Marion Barry after all his antics. This lecture about unprofessionalism rings just a tad bit hollow given his fondness for crack, prostitutes, and corruption. He is a never ending spectacle and I pray he gets locked up again soon so Ward 8 can move on.

Posted by: monongahela79 | July 14, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Notwithstanding the questionable activities of Barry, I believe every word he says about David Catania. He is a very petty, winey, mean spirited, drama-drivin, blow hard (no pun intended).

I'd like an IG investigation into how many of his friends/cronnies are running programs through private contracts at the Department of Health of whom his committee oversees.

In 2010, I'd like to see Barry retire and Catania defeated.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | July 14, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

David Catania is trying to not dignify carzy Barry's antics with an answer. He should leave every room the crazy pervert Barry enters and he should never dignify his attacks by agreeing to meet with him or addressing him. Barry the crook and thief and perverted parasite should be locked up and the keys thrown away. Maybe then we dc tax payers will save some money and maybe ward 8 people will get off their bottoms and work for a living.

Posted by: genevieve2000 | July 14, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

If Catania is found to be wrong he should step down! Pointing the finger at Barry when your no better than he is I find that very troubling. I do believe Barry when he states that Catania has been angry and coming after him since Barry did not vote his way on the "Same-Sex Marriage" issue! Goes to show all DC Residents if your against the Gay movement, then you'll become their next target! Never will I vote for Catania again, he has proven that he does not represent my best interest and many others in DC!

Posted by: ifordc | July 14, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

concernedaboutdc and ifordc, I totally agree with you both...

Posted by: winston61 | July 14, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Catania's unprofessionalism toward Barry? In Committee/Subcommittee meetings, Catania doesn't even try to pretend professionalism or respect for anyone that disagrees with him, whether fellow Councilmembers or witnesses. He doesn't even take the time to hear that perhaps the person isn't disagreeing. He is consistently and arrogantly rude and infantile. I don't think it would surprise anyone in the room if Catania suddenly hurled himself out of his seat and started pounding his hands and fists against the floor in a 2-yr-old-type tantrum. You can say what you like about Barry's person life, but I have never seen him treat a witness before the Council with disrespect.

And just how is pushing legislation that will make one's friends happy so vastly different from helping friends out with jobs that you think will benefit them and the city? It all looks like politics to me.

Posted by: wondering42 | July 15, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

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