City Paper is not for tourists
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich might be headed back to Marietta, Ga., but he’s not done meddling in District affairs. Gingrich buried a $7.1 million gift to the D.C. chapter of Boys Town in the D.C. appropriations bill. Congressional sources say that Gingrich, who chaired a fundraising committee for the Boys Town facility, lobbied heavily for the money which will make the outfit one of the most well-endowed child-welfare facilities in the city. Boys Town did not request the money, according to sources at the organization. “It’s a slap in our face as District residents,” says Cynthia Reid, a leader of Concerned Neighbors in North Michigan Park, where Boys Town is located.
White Chocolate There was a time when white D.C. alt-rock fans also dug the city’s dynamic go-go scene, but those days quietly ended years ago. It took a band from Cincinnati to supply the coda. At the 9:30 Club Sunday night, in front of a lily-white crowd in the erstwhile heart of a majority-black city, Afghan Whigs singer Greg Dulli surveyed the audience and exclaimed, “Y’all probably don’t even know Trouble Funk or EU.” Judging from the less-than-overwhelming response to a mention of the local legends, he was probably right.
On a Wing and a Prayer The Redskins’ disgraceful season has done its share of collateral damage: ruining an entire autumn of Sundays, sundering once-happy families, and generally making life miserable for anyone who still cares about the ghost of Sammy Baugh. Now even District businesses are skidding along with the Skins’ fortunes. Ever since Norv Turner’s acne flared into permanent red alert, business has been pitiful at the D.C. Farmers Market, where the Skins’ performance can mean the difference between a good and an average year. “It’s been a big disappointment,” says Harvey Chidel, longtime meat vendor at the market. He says sales of wings and ribs are way downnot to mention shanks, chitlins, and other tailgating delicacies.
Breaking the Bank In the summer of 1997, Janet Atkinson picketed in front of the Inter-American Development Bank on 13th and H Streets NW, believing that the institution should garnish her ex-husband’s wages to fulfill the terms of her divorce
settlement. Unlike most protesters on D.C. corners, Atkinson attracted a lot of attention from bank employees. Many knew her from ritzy parties of the pastAtkinson was married for 27 years to Robert Kestell, who is the bank’s representative in Jamaica. “These same people [walking by] were always sucking up to me because my husband had an important position,” Atkinson says. Since her divorce in 1993, Atkinson, a Rockville attorney and mother of five, has been receiving child support and alimony but has not gotten the $130,000 lump sum due to her. The bank has refused to garnish Kestell’s wages, claiming immunity under the International Organizations Immunities Act. When her protest failed to sway bank officials, Atkinson went to court, but the District Court sided with the bank. Atkinson appealed, and last month, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals also rejected Atkinson’s arguments. Now Atkinson, who represented herself against three Arnold & Porter attorneys hired by the bank, intends to take her case to the Supreme Court.
Barry for Precedent Marion Barry would like to go down in history as Washington’s Mandela, but he might end up as Washington’s Miranda instead. Late in his impeachment testimony, Kenneth Starr decried Clinton attorney David Kendall’s questions about prosecutorial leaking, mentioning the “Barry standard” for high-profile D.C. cases. “The law of this circuit, under the Barry case…is essentially a hair trigger,” said Starr. “All it takes is a letter from Mr. Kendall saying, ‘Here’s an article with ambiguous sourcing, I believe it may relate to grand jury matters, and a prima facie case…may be established.’” Is Barry a precedent? “Barry vs. U.S. was over alleged leaks which were found not to exist…” explains former U.S. Attorney Joseph DiGenova. “I don’t know that it’s cited very much anywhere, but obviously it would be cited in this jurisdiction if someone made that complaint, since it’s the controlling law in the District of Columbia.”
Reporting by Eddie Dean, John Dugan, Amanda Ripley, Michael Schaffer, and Elissa Silverman.
##Please send your City Desk tips to Elissa Silverman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 332-2100 and ask for my voice mail.