Doing It Her Way

Still basking in the spotlight over the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation's announcement of a $100 million gift to the Kennedy Center, the foundation's controversial namesake complains to Mike Wallace that she has been woefully misunderstood.

The 45-year-old Reynolds is regularly accused by Washington social rivals of using the nonprofit's money to spend her way to the top, but she confides on this Sunday's 60 Minutes: "I'm not going to apologize for who I am. I appreciate that I'm the new kid on the block. But I've got to tell you, the people that are saying these things, they don't know me. As you well know, Wayne and I know heads of countries. We know Nobel Prize winners!"

Wayne is hubby Wayne Reynolds, who tells Wallace: "The society writers from The Washington Post said to me, 'Cathy has unnerved Washington society.' Because these people used to write checks for $1,000, $500, sit in the front row, bask in their celebrity. She said, 'Wait a minute. Let's elevate everything. I'll give $50,000. Let's make a difference here.' And they're like, 'Oh, my gosh!'"

Cathy Reynolds elaborates: "We also believe that the people that give the largest donation should sit in the front row. I mean, I know that's a novel thought."

She also defends her decision last February to rescind a $38 million gift to the Smithsonian after the institution balked at her vision of enshrining 'American Achievers' such as Oprah Winfrey and Sam Donaldson. "Oh, I had a very clear contract," she says. "This isn't 'Let me give you $38 million and then let's talk about what we're gonna do with it.' I read where one Smithsonian curator said, 'How dare her come in and tell us what to do in our museum.' Well, that's no more his museum than it's my museum. I mean, this is America's museum. And, you know, shame on me for thinking what a great place to showcase the current-day heroes and role models for young people."

On the broadcast, Wallace acknowledges that{hellip}along with hundreds of other celebrities{hellip}he's an honoree on the roster of Wayne Reynolds's so-called Academy of Achievement.

Judge Scofflaw?

* After the New York Times claimed Tuesday that Catholic University Law School Dean Douglas W. Kmiec is on President Bush's short list for a coveted seat on the Washington federal appeals court, one of Kmiec's Northwest D.C. neighbors helpfully pointed out to us that he keeps California plates on his cars.

Yesterday Kmiec, who moved in 2001 from Pepperdine University to assume his current post, acknowledged in a brief interview that one of the family cars does indeed display California plates, but said the other one is registered in the District.

"The car I drive to work is registered in D.C.," he told us. "The other one, which is my wife's car and about to be sold, is registered in California, and I didn't see any point in registering it here." Describing this vehicle as a seven-year-old Toyota Camry, Kmiec added: "The children use it go back and forth to California, where they're in school." Kmiec was vague about what portion of the year the Toyota is in California as opposed to Washington. "I would say it's months."

Asked if he's aware it's usually illegal to keep your vehicle registered out of state, Kmiec replied, "I'll take your word for it."

It is doubtful that such a minor infraction would sink a rumored judicial nomination, "but it is a delicious irony," said Tony Bullock, spokesman for Mayor Anthony Williams. "The law is not ambiguous," Bullock added. "In D.C. you've got 30 days, once you've established residency, to get your D.C. plates." There are exceptions, of course -- members of Congress, their families and personal staff, Senate-confirmed presidential appointees, active military personnel, students -- and, Bullock added with a chuckle, members of the federal judiciary.

THIS JUST IN...

* Popular morning drive-time radio personality Olivia Fox, until Friday the second banana on "The Russ Parr Morning Show," didn't quit Radio One-owned WKYS-FM, she insisted yesterday. Fox was "dismissed," her publicist revealed in a highly unusual news release: "Radio One and Ms. Fox had been in negotiations for continuing her contract, which was scheduled to expire December 2003. Ms. Fox had accepted Radio One's offer to increase her compensation for next year, but had asked for increases in the years to come that would be commensurate with her contribution to the popular morning show, which was syndicated in some 30 markets, including such major markets as Boston, Detroit, St. Louis, Dallas and, of course, Washington. In the midst of those negotiations, which had been proceeding amicably, Radio One unilaterally decided to halt the discussions and abruptly terminated her employment without cause." No comment from Radio One management yesterday.