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The Barry Years: Triumphs and Troubles

Compiled by Jane Ashley
Sunday, January 21, 1990; Page A18

Marion Barry comes to Washington as a fund-raiser for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He had joined SNCC the year before, after quitting school at the University of Tennessee, where he was working toward a doctorate in chemistry.

Barry leads a boycott of downtown businesses. He is rated fifth, after four longtime Washingtonians, in a poll asking who had done the most for blacks in the area.

Pride Inc., an inner-city self-help organization, is founded by Barry and Mary Treadwell, his wife from 1972 to 1977.

Barry is elected president of the D.C. Board of Education.

He is elected to the D.C. Council, getting the second-highest vote total in the race.

MARCH 1977
Barry is shot by Hanafi Muslims during siege of Islamic Center, B'nai B'rith offices and District Building.

FEB. 17, 1978
He marries Effi Cowell, a health inspector for the D.C. Department of Environmental Services.

Barry elected mayor.

His administration overcomes financial crisis that was brought to light in first audit of the city.

DEC. 22, 1981
Barry attends a Christmas party at "This Is It," a downtown bar. There are inconclusive allegations that Barry either had used cocaine at the party or was present while others used the drug.

Barry's nine-week D.C. Summer Youth Employment Program provides jobs for at least 16,000 youngsters.

Barry is reelected mayor with 80 percent of the vote.

After receiving the highest creditworthiness rating for short-term borrowing from Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's, the District enters the bond market, giving the city the ability to raise funds independently of federal government for the first time.

JUNE 1984
Barry's friend, Karen K. Johnson, pleads guilty to drug conspiracy charges. Later, she is cited for contempt of court for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury investigating allegations that Barry had used cocaine.

JULY 18, 1984
Barry places the name of Jesse L. Jackson in nomination for president at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco.

LATE 1984
Barry hands over to U.S. Attorney Joseph E. diGenova three canceled checks that incriminate Ivanhoe Donaldson, the former deputy mayor, in the misuse of city funds. Donaldson pleads guilty in 1985 to stealing $190,000 from the city. Barry is not implicated.

Barry is reelected mayor with 61 percent of the vote.

JAN. 15, 1987
Former deputy mayor for finance Alphonse G. Hill is indicted on 11 counts of extortion, income tax evasion and defrauding District government. He later pleads guilty.

MARCH 1987
Barry is reported to visit 23-year-old model Grace T. Shell at her Capitol Hill apartment. Shell denies that she had asked the mayor to drop by to meet her 3-year-old son.

MAY 22, 1987
The FBI finds financial records in the home of Karen Johnson suggesting she was paid for her silence before the grand jury by friends of the mayor. She tells investigators she had been paid $25,000.

NOV. 20, 1987
Barry's staff creates uproar over hiring of Californian Sallie Melendez, who began work Oct. 1 at a $63,185 annual salary but has no job duties for two months.

The Washington Post reports that Barry met Bettye L. Smith in the Bahamas. The mayor explains that he has often visited her at her Capitol Hill home, but says the relationship is not romantic, that she is a "family associate" known to his son as Aunt Bettye.

MARCH 8, 1988
Barry arrives in the Virgin Islands for a meeting with island officials. He stays three days at a beachfront hotel along with six D.C. employees. The island government later refuses to pay $2,000 of expenses submitted by one employee, who did not go to the island to work.

DEC. 22, 1988
Two D.C. police detectives, investigating drug allegations involving Barry acquaintance Charles Lewis at the Ramada Inn here, leave the hotel after discovering that Barry is in Lewis's room.

Lewis is arrested and convicted in the Virgin Islands on two counts each of cocaine possession with intent to distribute and cocaine distribution.

AUG. 30, 1989
Lewis tells federal investigators that he smoked crack cocaine with Barry in December 1988. Barry denies ever seeing or using drugs while he was with Lewis.

SEPT. 15, 1989
Dixie Lee Hedrington, a legal secretary from the Virgin Islands, testifies before a grand jury that she saw Barry in a hotel room with several women and what she believed to be cocaine during his visits in March 1988. Barry reacts to allegations by saying federal authorities are conspiring with The Washington Post "to get me out of office." He cites as evidence a photo of Hedrington with the FBI. "How would they know what time she was coming to National Airport?"

JAN. 18, 1990
The mayor is arrested at the Vista International Hotel in downtown Washington on a misdemeanor charge of possessing crack cocaine.

© The Washington Post

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