Tuesday, July 7, 2009;
In all his years in public life, Marion Barry has rarely been without a woman at his side.
"Womanizing had become an integral part of my lifestyle," he told a local magazine, Sister 2 Sister, in 1991, acknowledging that he brazenly flirted with other women in front of his wife. That same year, he went on the Sally Jessy Raphael TV show and told a nationwide audience that he was addicted to women and sex. "It got to be more than casual," he said. "It got to be excessive."
The former D.C. mayor's relationship with Donna Watts-Brighthaupt, the ex-girlfriend with whom Barry argued just before his arrest Saturday night on a misdemeanor stalking charge, is the latest in a long series. Whether they loved him or just considered themselves friends, the women around Barry typically are fiercely loyal.
"He was raised by three women, and so he truly understands women and he speaks to your need," said Kim Dickens, who donated a kidney to Barry last year. "And if there is no need, he will create the need for you to be with him. He knows how to get into your life."
Here are snapshots of several of those relationships.
-- By Carol Morello
Mary Treadwell and Barry were married from 1972 to 1977. They co-founded the jobs program PRIDE. She was convicted in 1983 of conspiring to defraud the federal government and low-income tenants.
He said "I get the distinct impression by words and action that Mary wants to be the executive director of the entire corporation with me working, if I am to work, for her. I totally disagree with this concept."
She said Barry had nothing to do with the project that led to her being sent to prison for 15 months.
* * *
Effi Barry met Barry in 1976. Their marriage lasted from 1978 to 1993. When she learned of his cocaine possession arrest in 1993, her only question was, "Who was she?" She died in 2007.
She said of their 1990 separation: "My marriage was stolen from me by alcohol. My husband had a drinking problem from Day One of our marriage."
He said about a recent documentary on his career: "I didn't say this on camera, but before she got ill, we were talking about getting back together."
* * *
Cora Masters Barry married Barry in January 1994, after they had been friends for 20 years. They separated in 2002 and are getting a divorce.
She said "I needed some time and space to pray, reflect and do a personal inventory of my life and my future. . . . . I love my husband, and I respect and admire his accomplishments and contributions."
He said "I put the well-being of Cora above the well-being of my political life, and I'm going to fight to get her back. I love my wife. She has stood with me, for me and by me for many years. I understand why she is doing this at this time."
* * *
Karen K. Johnson, a city employee, met Barry in 1980 at a downtown club, and they became an item. The relationship lasted until 1982. She pleaded guilty in 1984 to charges of drug conspiracy in a case not involving the mayor, and she later went to jail for eight months rather than testify about Barry's alleged drug use.
He said initially that he knew Johnson "vaguely." His attorney later said that they had a "personal relationship" and that Barry had visited her at her apartment.
She said She never "loved him but loved his company."
* * *
Hazel Diane "Rasheeda" Moore, a former model, invited Barry in 1990 to the Vista hotel, where he was caught on an FBI videotape smoking crack cocaine and asking for sex.
She said She and Barry used drugs more than 100 times before the FBI sting at the hotel.
He said "Bitch set me up."
* * *
Kim Dickensdonated a kidney to Barry this year. She said she acted out of gratitude for everything Barry has done for District residents. She characterizes their relationship as a friendship.
She said "I'll give you a kidney."
He said "Are you serious?"
* * *
Watts-Brighthaupt, a political consultant, had been dating Barry, but they broke up several months ago. Earlier this year, he bought her an $800 opera coat at a charity auction, even though he was struggling to pay back taxes.
She said He dropped her at home after lunch July 4, and he refused to leave. When she and her ex-husband went to watch fireworks, Barry followed them in his car.
He said They had lunch. He spent some time at her home. He was driving home when he was arrested.
Staff writer Hamil R. Harris and staff researcher Meg Smith contributed to this report.