Activists in the posh Sheridan-Kalorama neighborhood of Northwest D.C. acknowledge that the embassies and chanceries in their midst look stately and pristine. But behind the marble and ivy lurk repositories of trash and vermin, they say. To prove the point, a few neighborhood residents recently gave Ron Mlotek, a D.C. resident and general counsel to the State Department’s Office of Foreign Missions, a three-hour tour of the trash, compost piles, and other eyesores that frequently pop up in neighborhood complaints to State. The worst offender, says tour leader Marie Drissel, is the Embassy of Guinea, at 2112 Leroy Pl. NW. According to Drissel, embassy staffers bring their trash from Virginia and dump it in the alley. “For 17 years, the embassy has never paid for its own trash collection,” Drissel claims. This is the same embassy that owed the District $3 million in overdue parking tickets a few years back, second only to the former Soviet Union in unpaid parking violations. While alerting Mlotek to the embassy’s bad habits, Drissel discovered that the Guinean ambassador was named Aboubacar Barry. The revelation prompted Drissel to propose an ambassadorial reciprocity arrangement that would dispatch our Mayor Barry to Conakry, Guinea’s capital. “Maybe that’s the best thing Clinton can do for the city,” she said. Mlotek had no comment.
Fatal Distraction D.C. Superior Court Judge Henry Greene thought he’d seen the last of conspiracy-obsessed WOL-AM talk-show host Cathy Hughes in 1995, when he dismissed a stalking case Hughes filed against former D.C. public school teacher Loretta Smith. In 1993, Hughes alleged that Smith—who believed Hughes had stolen her boyfriend—had been threatening her over the phone and had threatened to write a nasty tell-all book about her if she didn’t give Smith money. Hughes hired some bodyguards from the Nation of Islam and had Smith charged with two counts of blackmail, three counts of threats, and one count of stalking under a new District statute. Smith was acquitted on the threat charges and one count of blackmail. A jury deadlocked on the other blackmail count, and that case ended in a mistrial. The stalking charges never came before a jury because Greene ruled the stalking statute unconstitutional. However, a three-judge panel at the D.C. Court of Appeals recently overturned Greene’s finding on the stalking law. According to Legal Times, Green will soon have to open his chambers again to Smith, Hughes, and their endless feud.
Crying Fowl A few days before Thanksgiving, Ward 8 gadfly Sandra Seegars called D.C. Councilmember Eydie Whittington’s office to see if she would be honoring the D.C. Council tradition of passing out turkeys to residents of her ward. Whittington won over some fence-sitting voters last year by delivering turkeys to the doorsteps of her Ward 8 neighbors. But this year, Whittington’s office told Seegars that if she was pining for poultry, she should call Sandy Allen, who beat Whittington in the September election after a hotly contested campaign. Apparently, though, so many people called her office gobbling about turkeys that Whittington relented and tossed out a few Butterballs. For her part, Allen distributed 300 turkeys in the ward, even though she won’t take office until January. Seegars says that if Whittington is passing off her constituent-service work to Allen, “She ought to give Sandy her paycheck. I don’t know if she can write legislation, but she can give out turkeys.”