The D.C. Council Secretary's office was served with a court order yesterday asking it to withhold $3,938 from any future payments it makes to Donna Watts-Brighthaupt, who is Council member Marion Barry's ex-girlfriend.
The writ stems from an unpaid judgment against Watts-Brighhaupt, according to court records reviewed by the Washington Post. Although the details of the lawsuit against Watts-Brighthaupt are still unclear, a Superior Court judge ruled in June she owed HRAC LLC $2,305 plus attorney fees and court costs. The suit stems from a failure to pay "a retail installment contract," according to court records.
"I'm in debt," Watts-Brighthaupt said today when asked about the case in small claims court. "I have problems. Yes, I do, but a lot of Americans do."
She added she worries she will have difficulty finding a new job "He should have called me before doing those press conferences," she said. "I am going to continue to get judgment because of this whole mess. How am I going to take care of my family?"
Following Barry's arrest on a stalking charge, news broke this week that Barry had hired Watts-Brighthaupt as a contractor for his office shortly after they began dating. The stalking charge was dropped Wednesday night, but Barry still faces questions about why he gave a city contract to his then-girlfriend.
According to the Council Secretary's office, the city has already paid Watts-Brighthaupt $15,000. She has also been approved for an additional $5,000, but Barry's office has yet to submit an invoice for payment, Council officials said
Ronald Collins, assistant secretary to the Council, said today his office has returned the writ to the court. He noted city payments are handled through the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.
"We returned it to the court because we don't do garnishments," Collins said. "According to our records, we don't owe her any money. Besides, we don't control any funds that can be garnished."
--Tim Craig and Meg Smith