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D.C. Officials Confirm Barry's Visit to Model

By Victoria Churchville and Arthur S. Brisbane
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, May 3, 1987; Page D01

Top aides to Mayor Marion Barry acknowledged last week that Barry visited a 23-year-old part-time model on March 28 at her apartment and argued about the propriety of the visit with the woman's Capitol Hill landlady, who telephoned a former D.C. Democratic Party chairman for help in dealing with the mayor.

The landlady, Jan Evered, 36, gave an account of the incident to her sister, a features editor at The Washington Times. The Times published the story in a gossip column on April 24, stirring intense interest within District political circles, where the mayor's personal life has always been the subject of speculation and chatter. The item appeared under the headline "Droit du seigneur," a French phrase describing the sexual perquisites of lords in feudal Europe.

Barry's legal counsel, Herbert O. Reid Sr., and his press secretary, Annette Samuels, confirmed last week that Barry had visited Grace T. Shell at the apartment, but said he did so at her invitation after the two had exchanged numerous phone calls during a one-month period.

Evered and Shell's 18-year-old roommate, a niece of Evered who spoke on the condition that her name not be used, said the mayor persisted in seeking a meeting with Shell despite her efforts to ward him off, and that on the day in question Shell invited him over in hopes of telling him in person not to bother her.

Reid said, however, that Barry had no romantic interest in Shell, and that Shell had called Barry the day before the incident to invite him over to meet her 3-year-old son. "The landlady took exception to his being there," Reid said, adding that Evered had caused the dispute and "had no notion of what association" existed between Barry and Shell.

Shell declined to give a detailed account of the incident, but said that the mayor's attention was unwelcome. "The man never touched me," said Shell, who is scheduled to appear photographed in a swimsuit as "Beauty of the Week" next month in Jet magazine. "The man never got what he wanted, and I know what he wanted."

Theodis R. (Ted) Gay, the former Democratic party chairman who received the call from Evered, said he was "upset" that Barry had detoured from his public duties to meet with Shell and become entangled in a confrontation with Evered. "The implication was that he was downstairs putting the make on this young girl," Gay said.

The March 28 incident marks the second time the 51-year-old mayor has triggered controversy by his visits to the apartments of single women. In August 1984, in the midst of a grand jury investigation, Barry acknowledged occasional visits during more than a year to Karen K. Johnson, then a 32-year-old city employe; Johnson was convicted of distributing cocaine in a case that did not involve the mayor.

Barry initially branded the Times' account of his visit to Shell as "gossip" and "nonsense." He said last Wednesday morning, "It's a pack of lies." Later that day Reid confirmed the visit, but said Barry would not comment further. "His interview would give {the story} a status and respectability that it doesn't deserve." On Friday, Reid said, "There was not any romantic relationship," and added the mayor was upset that the Times' account had implied one.

According to Evered and her niece, Barry first noticed Shell at the Washington Convention Center last August when she was passing out promotional pamphlets at an event. They said that Barry sent a member of his security detail to request Shell's phone number -- a request they said she rebuffed.

Barry encountered Shell earlier this year at Natural Motion, a hair salon, where both were having their hair done. There, Reid said, Shell approached Barry, wrote her telephone number on a piece of paper and gave it to the mayor. Shell, however, denied giving the mayor her phone number, saying, "That's a lie." Shell's roommate said she and Shell speculate that Barry copied the number from an appointments log at the salon.

The phone calls started about one month before the visit, according to the accounts. Shell disputed Reid's statement that she initiated some of the calls. Shell's roommate said that Barry called more than two dozen times and that she and Shell repeatedly told him to quit calling because Shell has a boyfriend.

"At first it was funny," the roommate said. "She was like, 'Why are you calling me?' He called more often than the guys we do date. He would always give his whole title, 'Marion Barry, Mayor of Washington.' "

On March 28, Barry called the Capitol Hill apartment around midday, asking to come over, the roommate said. Shell agreed to the visit, telling her roommate, "Maybe if I tell him to drop dead in person he will get the message, because the phone {approach} is not working," the roommate recounted.

Evered and Shell's roommate said Barry arrived a half-hour later in his official Lincoln Town Car, dressed in a blue velour jogging suit, wearing a cap inscribed "Mayor" and carrying a walkie-talkie. Evered and the roommate admitted the mayor to the downstairs apartment shared by the two women.

Evered said she was surprised by the mayor's visit and asked him, "What are you doing here?" She said he replied, "These young ladies are friends of mine. I just came over here to see these young ladies." Evered recalled telling the mayor angrily that he should meet friends in public, reminding him that he is married, and saying, "I really think you should leave."

Evered said she took Shell's son upstairs to her own apartment and called Gay. "I said, 'Ted, can you get him out of here? I want him out of the house," she said. "Ted said, 'Is his car there?' . . . He said, 'I will call the {mayor's} command center.' "

Gay, in an interview Wednesday, said he told Evered that "this is not a good situation, Jan. Let me see what I can do about it."

"She wasn't saying, 'How can I get him out of here?' " Gay recalled. "I think there was some of that awe about the mayor being in her home. I think there was some anger about him being there . . . to see the two young girls. And then there was maternal feeling {on her part}."

Gay said he made a phone call and learned the mayor was scheduled to appear about that time at a conference on U.S.-Soviet relations. "I really knew that he didn't have time to be lingering there," said Gay, a prominent Ward 6 political activist who characterized his relationship to Barry by saying, "Sometimes, I am in and sometimes I am out."

After Evered left to call Gay, Shell and her roommate tried to persuade Barry to leave, according to the roommate. She said that Barry left the downstairs apartment only after receiving a call on his walkie-talkie. Evered said that Barry went to her door on the way out, attempted to apologize, and said, "I want to make sure we are straight."

"I said, 'No, everything is not straight,' " Evered said she replied.

© The Washington Post

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