Nine D.C. Council members said yesterday that they had never received any offers of free hotel rooms, and several of them said it would be improper for them to accept such gratuities. The remaining four members could not be reached for comment.
The Washington Post reported Thursday that Mayor Marion Barry had accepted free use of a $1,500 suite at the Willard Inter-Continental Hotel during the July 4 weekend. Yesterday, The Post reported that the hotel's majority owner, The Oliver Carr Co., had recommended against giving Barry a free room last year when the mayor asked for one for New Year's Eve.
Barry said Wednesday he often received offers of free rooms from hotels and saw nothing improper about accepting them.
In interviews yesterday, council members John A. Wilson (D-Ward 2), Harry Thomas (D-Ward 5) and Frank Smith Jr. (D-Ward 1) said they had not received offers of free rooms. Also, spokesmen for council members Betty Ann Kane (D-At Large), Carol Schwartz (R-At Large), John Ray (D-At Large), Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4), James Nathanson (D-Ward 3) and H.R. Crawford (D-Ward 7) said they had not received any such offers.
"You will never write in the paper that I took anything," said Thomas.
Wilson said he, too, had not received any offers and would decline any that might come.
"What would I need a hotel room for? I live in Washington," Wilson quipped. "I'm jealous if they offered them to everybody else but me. Maybe I'm slipping."
Smith said the acceptance of such offers by Barry and other officials might be improper and would give the impression that the officials were doing something in return for the rooms.
"I don't think it looks good," he said. "I just can't condone it."
Smith opposed a move in 1985 for a reduced tax rate for hotels that saved the local industry an estimated $8.7 million a year, a measure that was supported by Barry.
Council Chairman David A. Clarke (D) and council members Nadine Winter (D-Ward 6), Hilda H.M. Mason (Statehood-At Large) and Wilhelmina Rolark (D-Ward 8) could not be reached for comment.