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Dispute Cleans Out Barry's Coffers

By Monte Reel and Yolanda Woodlee
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, September 2, 2004; Page DZ02

Former mayor Marion Barry's financial woes hit a new low last week, when SunTrust Bank placed a hold on the cash left in his campaign account for the Ward 8 D.C. Council race.

The bank froze the account after a small claims court judge ruled that Dion Jordan, Barry's disaffected former campaign manager, was owed $3,700 in back pay.

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Alas, Barry's account did not contain $3,700. It contained $2,219.93. This week, the bank informed Jordan that the money was his, according to Jordan.

"I'm still owed the remainder," Jordan said in an interview.

The dispute between Barry and Jordan erupted in late June, when Jordan either quit or was fired -- depending on whether you believe him or Barry. The two immediately began trading verbal jabs: Jordan said Barry was mentally and physically unfit for office. Barry said Jordan was incompetent and inexperienced. Last week, Barry blamed Jordan for the campaign's inability to file a complete campaign finance report with the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance.

One of six Democrats challenging incumbent Sandy Allen in the Sept. 14 primary, Barry submitted a campaign finance report reflecting contributions through July that showed his campaign had just $1,168 on hand. It also indicated that Barry had received $17,242 in contributions. But the report failed to identify Barry's contributors, a fairly basic requirement of campaign finance laws. Barry said he couldn't provide the names because Jordan had taken the campaign's checkbook and canceled checks -- an allegation Jordan denies.

Meanwhile, Jordan filed suit against Barry in small claims court, claiming that the campaign still owed him wages. Barry didn't show up to defend himself. His attorney, E. Faye Williams, said Barry had hoped to resolve the issue with Jordan outside of court. Williams said that she has tried to contact Jordan, but that he does not appear to be interested in negotiating a settlement.

One possible reason: Barry contends the campaign owes Jordan about $2,000, Williams said -- not $3,700.

"He was being elusive and didn't want to resolve it," Williams said. "He wanted to make an issue out of it."

Barry plans to file a motion this week to appeal the judgment, Williams said. She suggested that it's in Jordan's best interest to deal with Barry directly instead of trying to pursue cash from the campaign account in court.

"The election is going to be over in a few weeks, and nothing will be in the campaign fund for him to get," she said.

Jordan said he had no intention of dealing with Barry or his campaign without the court behind him.

"I don't want to have anything to do with them," he said. "This has been a pain. It cost me time and money. It could have been easily resolved if he just paid me what I was owed."

Mayor Pays Consultant

In other news about political debts, D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) has finally forked over a portion of the $75,000 fee billed by a former political consultant nearly four years ago, according to a recent report submitted to the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance. In his midyear report filed Aug. 2, Williams reported that he paid Tom Lindenfeld $49,500.


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