Mayor Marion Barry charged yesterday that U.S. Attorney Joseph E. diGenova "talks more than he produces," and said diGenova had prolonged his investigations of corruption in the D.C. government in an attempt to discredit Barry.
"As long as there are suspicions . . . about massive corruption . . . it masks all the positive things we have done," Barry said, hours after his longtime political confidant, former deputy mayor Ivanhoe Donaldson, began serving a seven-year prison term for stealing city funds in the biggest scandal to touch Barry's administration.
Barry vehemently defended his personal integrity and the honesty of his government, declaring, "I want the whole world to know you can't buy this administration. You can't buy a vote."
In a wide-ranging interview, Barry also looked ahead to running for a third term, but stopped short of formally announcing for reelection.
The mayor, reacting to diGenova's statement Monday that the Donaldson case exposed "raw corruption" in the District government, said there "is no massive corruption . . . in this government."
"Why doesn't [diGenova] close these cases?" the mayor asked. "He's been trying so hard to discredit this administration. He's tried so hard to get me into something that he never could get me into."
Barry said he believes the U.S. attorney's office has obtained his personal bank records.
"I'm sure they've got them," Barry said. "Several banks that I don't have accounts at, people have called me saying they have gotten requests from the U.S. attorney to let them know if I have bank accounts there."
He added, "I know what my bank account looks like. I wouldn't care if they subpoenaed my bank account night and day. They can do that. I know what I spent my money on . . . . I wouldn't be surprised if they haven't subpoenaed some other people's bank accounts that Donaldson knew to see whether or not money was being funneled from him to us."
Law enforcement officials have said they found no evidence that Barry received any of the more than $190,000 Donaldson stole from the District government or that Barry was involved in any wrongdoing.
DiGenova has said the Donaldson case investigation continues, along with ongoing investigations of the D.C. lottery and the city-financed Bates Street redevelopment project. He could not be reached for comment last night.
Barry said he realizes most observers expect him to run for a third term and believes it is "academic" that he has not formally announced his intentions. Squaring his shoulders and grinning, the mayor said, "If I run . . . I'll take on all comers . . . . I want a strong race. I'd love it. I want it."
Donaldson, who served as Barry's general assistant, acting director of the Department of Employment Services and deputy mayor before leaving the city government, pleaded guilty last month to diverting city government funds over four years and then orchestrating a coverup of his misdeeds.
"My strong feeling is that what he did was wrong. It was a betrayal of the public trust and of me," Barry said of the man who ran his two successful campaigns for mayor.
Yet, Barry said, "Donaldson is still a personal friend in a sense . . . . I couldn't come into a room and he's standing there and I wouldn't talk to him, even though I am deeply hurt about what he did."
The mayor recalled that he last saw Donaldson around Christmas at Joe and Mo's restaurant, where they discussed Donaldson's recently adopted young daughter, Tiffany, and exchanged "Christmas cheer."
He said he has not discussed Donaldson's wrongdoing with Donaldson since the D.C. inspector general referred the case to the U.S. attorney's office in late 1984.
Prosecutors said Donaldson's thefts appeared to grow out of serious financial problems stemming from an extravagant life style. Barry said he had been unaware of Donaldson's financial problems.
"He didn't tell me except one instance with Jeff Cohen," Barry said, referring to a $78,000 loan Donaldson received in 1982 from the National Bank of Commerce.
Cohen, then the bank's chairman, had called Barry to say that Donaldson was behind on his loan payments and that "we don't want to cause any embarrassment to any of your top officials," Barry recalled.
Barry said Cohen, a political supporter and one of the godfathers of Barry's son, asked him to discuss the late payments with Donaldson, but Barry said he simply told Donaldson to get in touch with Cohen. Cohen said last week he did not recall having such a conversation with the mayor.
Prosecutors, in a sentencing memo filed last week, disclosed that Barry had told investigators of the call from Cohen.
Prosecutors also revealed that a Barry associate said a $2,500 check Donaldson cashed at the Hawk and Dove restaurant may have been used for poker playing with unnamed high D.C. officials.
Barry said it was "no secret" that he played poker with Donaldson and other friends, but said he doubted that his former aide may have had poker losses that contributed significantly to any financial problems. "We really play for recreation. Nobody is trying to make a buck," the mayor said.
Barry said he was concerned about the disclosure by prosecutors that a team headed by Western Development Corp. agreed in April 1984 to pay Donaldson $250,000 in consulting fees if it won the rights to develop the Portal site in Southwest, the last remaining large redevelopment parcel in the city.
Although he said he is unfamiliar with Donaldson's precise arrangement with the Western group -- which he said he first learned of from the prosecutors' court filing -- Barry noted that under D.C. law former government officials are not permitted to lobby the city government on matters for which they were responsible inside the government. Western officials have said that Donaldson did not directly lobby city officials, and instead was hired to work with Southwest community groups.
Barry said he was considering requiring private firms and developers appearing before D.C. boards and commissions to disclose if they have hired any former D.C. officials to assist them.
The city's Redevelopment Land Agency voted 3 to 2 to last September to award the multimillion-dollar Portal project to Western.