They had hoped the matter would attract no publicity, but a spokesman for "21" in New York says it is true that they no longer are connected with the Jockey Club at the Fairfax Hotel here, and that there is a dispute between "21" and Fairfax Hotel owner John Coleman over whether Coleman owes "21" a "great deal of money."

"21" pulled out in July. The matter is now in the hands of lawyers.

Coleman, a "mover" in Washington society who dated President Carter's secretary, Susan Clough, for a while, has been getting a lot of media attention. He's the one who gave the recent party that brought Bobby Short, Gloria Vanderbilt and Lee Radziwill down from New York.

He also is listed in the current Harper's Bazaar as one of their most eligible bachelors.

Coleman's charisma also lured a Bon Appetit editor and photographic crew here from California for a color layout on the Jockey Club kitchen.

Bon Appetit is owned by the same people who publish Architectural Digest, they have been determined to make their gourmet publication the same kind of status symbol as their interior design magazine.

Coleman denied yesterday that he owes the "21" club any money and denied also that "21" ever had anything to do with the Jockey Club operation at the Fairfax.

A profile of Coleman in The Washington Post of Nov. 3, 1978, said he had been brought down from "New York's '21' to manage The Jockey Club." A Jockey Club ad in the 1979 Green Book (which dropped Coleman in its 1980 edition) stated, "The Jockey Club is now a member of New York's '21' Club family."

Sheldon Tannen, the executive vice president of "21," told a reporter in an interview in September, "We have given up our association with Mr. Coleman in Washington" as of July 1979.

Coleman, after telling a reporter, "Print whatever you like," had a lawyer, call to repeat the denial that "21" had ever had any connection with The Jockey Club or that there is any dispute with "21" over money.

For a while, it looked as if the historic moment had slipped through a crack in time.

President Carter's speech at the dedication of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library in Boston this fall was such a widely acclaimed political and public-relations success that the White House wanted it preserved for posterity.

Certainly it someday would be an important audio-visual exhibit for his own library, showing how gracefully he had performed on stage with his challenger, against the background of Camelot.

There was even talk of using snippets of the speech in television campaign spots.

But no one, it seemed, had recorded the speech in its entirety. A White House staffer involved in searching for a videotape of it says someone "goofed."

"Usually, we tape everything," he says. "But this time, for some reason, someone forgot to tape that speech."

The Kennedy Library's audio-visual staff also had neglected to have the event taped. Although some Carter aides reportedly were skeptical, the library was having just as hard a time as the White House locating any bits and pieces that had been aired on network or local news.

Finally, they found a commercial New England video company that had kept its cameras rolling through the entire program.

Rep. Charles H. ("Racehorse Charlie") Wilson (D-Calif.), who is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee on financial misconduct allegations, lives well.

Wilson, who would pull out $1,000 bills to make his bets at local tracks (hence the nickname) took 12 suits with him when he visited the Soviet Union for 10 days with a congressional delegation last year.

He and his Korean-born wife, Bok, had 11 pieces of designer luggage between them, says one congressional wife who counted.

They could have used all those twinkling little bulbs to wire Chip Carter into a suit like the one Robert Redford wears in "The Electric Horseman." Instead the Solar Lobby, for its premiere showing of the movie at the Jenifer Theatre tonight, used the solar-battery lights to trim a Christmas tree in the lobby for which Carter will flip the switch.