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Hosts of Gray's victory party owe city $860K in taxes

marc_barnes.jpg

The owners of Love nightclub -- where presumptive mayor-elect Vincent Gray and presumptive council chairman-elect Kwame Brown have scheduled a victory party tomorrow night -- owe the city nearly $900,000 in unpaid taxes, WRC-TV's Tom Sherwood reported this evening.

The club is owned by Marc Barnes and wife Ann, who have long been prime shakers in the local nightlife scene. They have also been prodigious political fundraisers, hosting events for city officials. Gray has hosted yearly events at the Barnes' other club, the Park at 14th, to commemorate the annual Congressional Black Caucus conference. His campaign recently also hosted a volunteer event there.

In late July, the Barneses and their corporate entities filed for bankruptcy -- months after city authorities shut down love for three months following a New Year's Eve stabbing there. Last week, city liquor authorities approved the sale of the club to another impresario, Dean Smothers, whose club The Scene has been in tax trouble of its own. It is unclear if the deal has since been consummated.

According to bankruptcy court filings, as of Aug. 4, the Barneses owed the city $233,662 in personal income taxes, penalties and interest plus $630,381 in various business taxes.

"I don't really know a lot about Marc Barnes' financial challenges but he's always been someone you can work with," Gray said in an on-camera interview with Sherwood, adding that his campaign had gotten bids on hosting the victory bash.

The party will go on, Gray's campaign said in a statement.

After presenting his report, Sherwood emphasized that he had been tipped by "several close associates" of the soon-to-be mayor, concerned that the venue presented the "wrong image for Gray."

WRC anchor Craig Melvin had an additional question for Sherwood: "How is a business allowed to even operate when it owes that much in back taxes?"

Photo by Dominic Bracco II/The Washington Post

By Mike DeBonis  | November 1, 2010; 6:35 PM ET
Categories:  DCision 2010, The District, Vincent Gray  
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Comments

If these folks owe an excessive amount of back taxes that have not been collected, it is the fault of the executive branch, not the Council. So what is the point of this article? That Gray has some friends and associates that have financial trouble? I guess we all know some people like that.

Posted by: tacard1 | November 1, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

This is another sorry axx attempt by the Post and it sorry axx reporters to try and embarrass Gray.

I can remember when Fenty used city funds to pay for a party for his frat brothers.

Posted by: guylady201001 | November 2, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Typical DC - yeah right, he got bids... Everyone knows that Orange always holds his "lavish dinners" and parties at this venue. Looks like business as usual in DC. Poor judgement and not a good way to start a term as Mayor.

Posted by: Logan1245 | November 2, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

tacard1 and guylady201001:

Why are you bashing the Post for running this story? They are just telling you what NBC 4 already reported. Will every negative story about Gray or his judgement be considered an attack by the media or the media just doing its job. Get used to it. He is in the spotlight now and all the bright lights are on him. I'm sure we'll learn more.

Posted by: RCDC | November 2, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I hope Gray will not come into office messing up and being corrupt. I voted for Gray because Adrian pissed me off with his being nasty and kicking black D.C. voters to the curb. After this election, I will not have anything else to do with politicians, Democratic or Republican. They can all go to he%%.

Posted by: Ward4DC | November 3, 2010 3:35 AM | Report abuse

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