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The two tours that follow will take you to the list of homes, office buildings and offices that make up Washington's Worst Addresses. Locations marked with the are within easy walking distance in downtown Washington, so you can take a short detour from your trip to the White House or the Smithsonian to check out some or all of these infamous sites. Or join local comedy group Gross National Product for the official Scandal Tours bus trip.
Let the gawking begin!
Downtown Eavesdropping to Uptown Pimping
Tour One takes you from lower Northwest Washington, through the middle of downtown, and up through upper Northwest to Chevy Chase, Md.
Watergate: 2600 Virginia Ave. NW -- Nixon's Undoing
If you're a real Watergate fanatic, you may want to visit these other Washington addresses immortalized by the scandal.
Tidal Basin: Maine Avenue SW -- The Fanne Foxe Affair
Rep. Wilbur Mills of Arkansas managed to have one of Washington's more scandalous affairs. Mills' longtime girlfriend was Annabell Battistella, but she has gone down in history by her stage name: Fanne Foxe, the "Argentine firecracker." After a night of partying, Foxe, Mills and a couple of friends were stopped on their way home for speeding by the U.S. Park Police. Foxe jumped out of the car and dove into the nearby Tidal Basin, where she had to be rescued. An alert TV cameraman was on hand and caught the incident on film. Mills later resigned from the powerful Ways and Means Committee after another highly publicized incident with Foxe. He declined to seek reelection in 1976.
Mills shakes off denial to admit he was there.
Fanne Foxe showed a literary flair with her contribution: "The Stripper & The Congressman."
National Security Council Headquarters, Old Executive Office Building: 17th Street & Pennsylvania Avenue NW -- Iran Contra Paper Trail
The Iran-contra hearings were undoubtedly enlivened by Fawn Hall's testimony. Hall earned herself a place in political history by offering crucial details that proved the extent of the NSC's cover-up of the diversion of profits from Iran arms sales to aid the Nicaraguan contras. Hall testified that she altered some documents and absconded with others, hiding them in her clothes. Most memorably, she shredded so many documents that the office shredder jammed and broke down. Hall's good looks, devotion to North and apparent lack of remorse -- she testified that "sometimes you have to go above the written law" -- set the stage for a media blitz.
The article on Fawn Hall's testimony.
Lafayette Square Park -- Another Reason They Call It Dope
George Bush's televised speech in September 1989, unveiling a new anti-drug policy, was a clear get-tough message on crime. Bush underlined the drastic state of affairs in the nation with an arresting visual: a bag of crack cocaine, purchased by undercover DEA agents in Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House. Questions arose about the shocking purchase. A few queries by the Justice Department shed light on the matter: the DEA agents had lured the suspect to Lafayette Park in order to purchase the drugs there. Luring him was no mean feat, as the dealer did not even know what or where the White House was.
Bush's set-up revealed.
Hay-Adams Hotel: One Lafayette Square NW -- A Nest for Spies
The Hay-Adams Hotel bespeaks quiet gentility and the city life of a century ago. Both make it the perfect place to plot nefarious deeds. Who would suspect you in such well-mannered surroundings? The hotel restaurant was the site of meetings to solicit contributions for the Iran-contra operation.
A cozy place to plot and plan.
In an earlier day, another famous Washington scandal swirled around this same corner adjacent to Lafayette Square Park. The site where the hotel now stands formerly held two homes: the residences of John and Clover Adams (John Adams was a descendant of the Presidents Adams), and of John and Clara Hay; all were members of a late 19th-century social set. In 1880, an anonymous political novel about scandal among the politically powerful caused an uproar. The author still is unknown, but has long been suspected to be one of the Adamses, who were close friends of the nation's leaders. More spice for this story: Clover died in 1885 after apparently killing herself with a lethal dose of cyanide.
The Jefferson Hotel, Suite 205, 16th and M Streets, N.W. -- Former Political Consultant, Sucks Toes, Will Travel
The sensational story broke across the top of the Star tabloid hours before President Clinton was scheduled to accept his nomination as the Democratic candidate at the party convention in Chicago. "White House Call Girl Scandal," they called it, and for several subsequent issues the Star reprinted the diaries of Sherry Rowlands, a $200-an-hour prostitute who claimed that her client was Clinton adviser Dick Morris. A photo of Morris and Rowlands being amorous on the balcony of his hotel suite clinched the story. Rowland's more damning claim was that Morris shared administration secrets with her and allowed her to listen in on his phone conversations with White House officials, including Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Sherry Rowlands has a book in the works, tentatively titled: "If You Think You Know Morris, You Don't Know Dick." The more interesting book in this case, however, is that of Dick Morris himself. "Behind the Oval Office," Morris's memoir about the presidential campaign, was published by Random House as the result of a secret $2.5 million deal inked before the scandal. The book does acknowledge Morris's dalliance with a prostitute, but never mentions Rowlands by name.
The Vista Hotel, Room 727, 1400 M St. NW (on Scott Circle) -- The Barry Bust
The "b---- set me up" was the phrase that had all of Washington abuzz shortly after Mayor Marion Barry was caught with his close personal friend, Rasheeda Moore, in an FBI sting. Moore, a former model turned government informant, invited Barry to her hotel room at the Vista. The room was monitored by FBI agents, who burst in to catch Barry with crack pipe in hand, capping years of federal investigation into Barry's alleged drug use. Barry was brought to trial to face 14 separate drug charges but was convicted on only one count of cocaine possession. Though Barry sat out one term as mayor in the early 1990s, he returned with a message of redemption and forgiveness to win the mayoral election in 1994.
The sting operation's success; the mayor's disgrace
Moore's tell-all: "Coming Clean: The Feds, the Mayor, the Drugs and Me"; the book remains unpublished due to "editorial differences" with the publisher.
4407 W St. NW -- The Abscam Sting
Every sting operation has to happen somewhere, right? The Abscam sting, which netted five members of the House and one senator for bribery and corruption, happened here in Washington. But more specifically, it happened in the home of Washington Post reporter Lee Lescaze, after he rented it out (unknowingly) to the FBI. After the sting went down and Lescaze found out to what ends his home was being used in his absence, he wrote about it for the paper. If you've ever considered renting your home to the feds, read this first. You should always be suspicious when your tenants suggest footing the bill for extensive renovations.
President's Building, American University, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW -- Weird Hang-Ups
It was a story too shocking to be true, which is the best kind for a scandal. Women in Fairfax County reported receiving obscene phone calls at home. One of the unhappy recipients was the wife of a Fairfax police officer, who put a trace on their home phone line. The calls were traced to the American University campus . . . and then to the president's building . . . and finally to the president's office. The shock throughout the city was palpable; Richard Berendzen, university president, Harvard-educated astronomer, obscene phone-caller? Berendzen quickly resigned as president, but later he was offered a hefty settlement package from the school, which raised even more eyebrows.
Phone calls traced, president disgraced.
Chevy Chase Elementary School: 4015 Rosemary St., Chevy Chase, Md. -- A Lesson in Stupidity
Our story unfolds when Rep. Barney Frank decided to hire a man he once used as a prostitute to be his housekeeper. Frank fired the man, Stephen Gobie, after learning he was running an escort service from his apartment. When The Washington Times broke the story, it also reported that Gobie had been plying his trade out of Chevy Chase Elementary School, using a guidance counselor's office after-hours. The principal resigned. A man of no public remorse, Gobie claimed he thought of himself as a male Mayflower Madam.
Stephen Gobie ruins a principal's career.
He never wrote the book, but Gobie suggested that if he did it would be called "Capitol Offenses: The End of the Innocence."
Capitol Revelations to Espionage Riches
Tour Two takes you around Capitol Hill and across the Potomac to North Arlington, Va.
Capitol Steps, U.S. Capitol Building -- Things To Do at the Capitol
The only appropriate response to this case is farce; a comedy troupe in Washington has even named themselves "The Capitol Steps." Art Buchwald's column was classic.
The scorned woman's book: My Capitol Secrets, though she'll probably be better remembered for her film career, highlighted by the classic "Zombie Island Massacre."
Longworth Building, Room 1506, Independence and New Jersey Avenues SE -- Can't Type? No Problem
After two years, Elizabeth Ray had had enough. She had been on the payroll of Rep. Wayne Hays of Ohio, chairman of the House Administration Committee. But while she had a desk, a phone, a typewriter and a healthy taxpayer-funded salary, Ray claimed she was paid not for her office work but for being Hays' girlfriend. When she brought her story to the Post, she was being paid $14,000 a year. She told The Post that she couldn't type and wouldn't answer the phone, and that she was worried about losing her "job" after Hays married his longtime secretary. The revelation ended Hays' Hill career; shortly after it hit the newspaper, he almost ended his life with an overdose of prescription pills. Despite investigations into his indiscretions (with the payroll more than the girl), he was never tried.
Elizabeth Ray's confessions made page one.
Her book: "The Washington Fringe Benefit."
517 6th St. SE -- The Gary Hart House
Rumors of Gary Hart's philandering ways circulated for months leading up to his presidential candidacy in 1987. He threw down the gauntlet, challenging reporters to follow him around and claiming that there was nothing to see. Much to his chagrin, the Miami Herald took him up on it, sending reporters to stake out his Capitol Hill townhouse. Donna Rice came to visit one fateful Friday night in May and didn't leave until the following evening. This news story--along with earlier photos of Hart and Rice aggressively pursuing public displays of affection on a friend's yacht, "Monkey Business"--threw Hart's campaign into a tailspin. Three weeks into his bid for the presidency as the early front-runner, Hart pulled out of the race.
The stakeout pays off big.
In this post-literate age, Rice never did publish a book about her experience, but she did make a short-lived career out of being a model for "No Excuses" jeans.
2512 N. Randolph St., Arlington, Va.-- Ames Spy Scandal
It was the biggest spy scandal since the Rosenbergs. Aldrich Ames, an officer for the CIA who had access to almost all top-secret U.S. operations in Russia, was selling secrets to the Russians. Ames and his wife Rosario weren't the kind to hide their newfound wealth. He and his wife bought a Jaguar and $500,000 house in North Arlington with the proceeds from his espionage.
The Ameses are arrested at home
Those interested in the Ames case may also want to head over to Georgetown to see the infamous mailbox at 37th and R streets, which Ames would mark with chalk to communicate with his Russian contacts.
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