By Tim Craig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 26, 2010; B04
The Internal Revenue Service claims that D.C. Council member Marion Barry owes $15,000 in unpaid taxes for 2005 through 2008, so it has issued a lien to try to collect the money, according to records filed with the city.
"We have made a demand for payment of this liability, but it remains unpaid," the lien states. "Therefore, there is a lien in favor of the United States on all property and rights to property belonging to this taxpayer for the amount of these taxes."
According to a copy of the lien, Barry (D-Ward 8) owes $649 for 2005; $4,907 for 2006; $8,679 for 2007; and $1,022 for 2008.
The lien, filed with the recorder of deeds in the Office of Tax and Revenue, appears unrelated to Barry's early troubles with the IRS and federal authorities over his failure to pay his taxes.
Barry, 74, is on probation after his conviction in 2006 for failing to file tax returns. At the time, Barry admitted that he had not paid the bulk of the taxes on $500,000 he earned from 1999 through 2004.
To repay that debt, the IRS has been taking $1,350 every two weeks from Barry's salary since late 2006.
In May, Barry's probation was extended by two years after a judge found that he had failed to file his 2007 tax returns.
Fred Cooke, Barry's attorney, said Thursday that the latest IRS lien "isn't a new thing."
"This is an administrative thing that the agency does to lots and lots of people to evidence the fact he owes them money," Cooke said. "It's an assessment of an amount that is owed. . . . He paid the tax that he had the money to pay."
Cooke said he thinks that Barry has already paid his 2008 taxes in full. But Cooke said he plans to review the lien, which was first reported on by the Washington Times. Cooke stressed that Barry will continue to make payments to try to clear his IRS debts.
"We are meeting our obligations," he said.
The IRS did not return a call seeking comment.
Earlier this month, the D.C. Council censured Barry,who was also stripped of a committee chairmanship, after an independent investigation found that he took a cut of a $15,000 personal-services contract he had secured for an on-again, off-again girlfriend. He was also stripped of a committee chairmanship. The allegations of public corruption against Barry have been referred to the U.S. attorney's office for possible prosecution.