City Paper is not for tourists
Walter Masters, infamous brother-in-law of Mayor Marion Barry, is back in town working on Ward 8 Councilmember Eydie Whittington’s re-election campaign. Ever since he arrived to work on the mayor’s 1994 campaign, Masters has been a nagging political liability for Barry. Shortly after taking office, Barry hired Masters as his Ward 8 liaison but had to fire him after Anacostia residents complained that Masters never lived there. Then Barry’s former housekeeper, Barbara Mouring, told the Washington Post that Masters had waited outside a bank while her late son Darin cashed a $2,000 check written by the Washington Business PAC, a group that spent nearly $500,000 to help re-elect Barry. The Mourings said they turned the money over to Masters. The U.S. Attorney’s office is still investigating Masters for allegedly receiving laundered money. Masters then claimed center stage in the dispute over Whittington’s one-vote victory in last spring’s special Ward 8 D.C. Council election. Losing candidate Sandy Allen alleged that Masters had voted illegally because he didn’t live in Ward 8 when he cast his vote. Since then, Masters has been lying low in Florida, where his wife and son reside. But about a month ago, Ward 8 politicos spotted him in the District. Jo Ann Williams, Whittington’s campaign manager, says she hasn’t actually seen Masters, and she doesn’t know exactly what kind of work he is doing. “He doesn’t have a title,” says Williams, but she confirms that Masters is indeed working for the campaign.
Running Mates If Barry decides to run for a fifth term in 1998 he may need a personnel infusion, for the long arm of the law seems to be shrinking his campaign corps every day. Barry loyalist Kenneth Baker, 58, was arrested June 17 and charged with theft for allegedly stealing pipe fixtures from his job at the Blue Plains Water Treatment Plant and then trying to sell them for scrap. Baker was a member of the Fighting 54, a group of volunteers who worked on Barry’s 1994 campaign, and then for Whittington, Barry’s hand-picked D.C. Council successor. Three other former Barry campaign workers—Gregory Mitchell, Roderick Liggens, and Jason Johnson—were sentenced in May for forging election petitions for Ward 8 council candidate JePhunneh Lawrence. Mitchell, who also worked on Barry’s 1992 council campaign, got a 6-month prison term, while the other two men—who avoided a jury trial by pleading guilty—got off with 75 hours of community service. Ward 8 activist Sandra Seegars says, “I don’t know why [Barry] keeps using the same old crooks.”
Parking Tickets, Nyet! Being newcomers to democracy, local Russian nationals may have been unsure what to expect when they arrived at the Russian Embassy on Wisconsin Avenue July 3 to vote in the final round of their country’s first free presidential election. Whatever they may have envisioned, though, it’s safe to assume that a dozen drum-beating protesters waving signs saying “Pay Your Parking Fines” was not it. The man responsible for confusing some 1,300 voters—many of whom had been bused in from all over the Eastern Seaboard—was D.C. (Shadow) Rep. and at-large D.C. Council candidate John Capozzi. Harping on a Washington perennial, Capozzi chanted, “Hey, the Russian Embassy owes the city more than $3 million in unpaid parking fines. Are we going to let them get away with that forever?” The protest failed to provoke an official response from the embassy, but Capozzi says the day wasn’t a complete failure. “We did manage to educate many Russian citizens,” he says.