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Amid Rumors, Queries, Barry Soldiers On

Barry's financial deals, first reported by the Washington City Paper, included a few transactions involving airports, including a $107 million bond issue with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. He helped broker a $3 million housing revenue bond deal for the D.C. Housing Finance Agency.

For two years, M.R. Beal paid Barry $5,000 a month, which, with his $34,000 annual pension, gave him a comfortable nest egg. But business slowed in 2001, and retainer payments to Barry were cut in half, according to financial reports filed by the company. This year, the company reported paying Barry retainer fees of $7,500; Barry said his total retainer is $30,000 a year. The company's spokesman said Barry can get fees in addition to the retainer.

Barry, vying for the Ward 8 council seat in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary, speaks at last month's candidates forum. (Bill O'leary -- The Washington Post)

An Aug. 9 profile of Marion Barry incorrectly described his service on the D.C. Council. Barry served as an at-large member, not a Ward 8 representative, before becoming mayor. He was elected to the council from Ward 8 before his return to the mayor's office.

_____The Barry Legacy_____
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Bernard B. Beal, who hired him, described the former mayor as "an incredible guy. Very smart. Hard-working. Because he has a keen sense of business judgment, he gives me advice on issuers, municipalities and different products."

Detroit Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick said that Barry, whom he said he has always respected, introduced him to Beal's firm. "It was because of who [Barry] was he gained access to this office," Kilpatrick said.

"The mayor's job in the firm was to bring in business," he said. "I don't think his job was to be the financial expert but to maximize the resources of his relationships to bring in business."

Not all newer elected officials are so receptive, Barry said. "The hardest thing for me, initially, was to call people, and they wouldn't call me back," he said. "I had to call them probably a half-dozen times. . . . When I was mayor, they'd call me back in three seconds."

Locally, Barry has used his popularity to lobby residents east of the Anacostia River to support some unpopular projects. In 2000, he went to Ward 7's far northeast with a hard sell: a halfway house in a residential community. The residents said no. He was luckier in Anacostia; he worked with a Virginia-based developer to smooth over opposition from residents in Fairlawn against building the Woodmont Crossing apartments.

Barry acknowledged that his income is still less than steady, describing investment banking as iffy. "I still have financial problems," he said, adding that several contracts he had were not renewed. "So I lost $100,000 of income last year, and I ain't too proud to beg."

Over the past year, he has even borrowed money from one of his opponents -- Sandra Seegars, once a strong supporter. On two occasions before he announced his candidacy, Seegars said, she lent Barry $50, which he paid back. He said the first time he had lost his debit card but couldn't recall the circumstances of the second time.

Others have come to his aid. Last year, H.R. Crawford, a developer in Southeast and former council member, established a trust fund to help with Barry's personal expenses.

The trust is just a way for Barry's friends to help him make ends meet, Crawford said. "We're going to make sure he's comfortable," he said. "I don't think any of us want to see him down and out. Somebody should give him a job. He's a brilliant individual, and he needs employment."

The $92,000 for a part-time salary is an attractive incentive to run for council, Crawford said. But Barry said his finances did not influence his decision.

"I've never run for any office for the money," Barry said. "Never have and never will. I think you run for office because you care about the people in Ward 8."

Cora Masters Barry said: "It just makes me sad, all the things going on with his health and the campaign. I want him to have peace in his life, to be able to be comfortable and secure and not worry about his future and finances."

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