Anyone who’s worried that the mayor’s wife has been getting a bad rap can rest a little easier. The D.C. Council has unanimously passed the “Mrs. Cora Masters Barry Recognition Resolution of 1995,” honoring Mrs. Barry as “a most outstanding First Lady of the District of Columbia,” and praising her service as executive director of the Riddick Bowe Foundation. The resolution also recognizes the first lady for her tenure as head of the D.C. Boxing Commission, a job in which she stole $2,680 from the city. Mrs. Barry can thank Ward 8 Councilmember Eydie Whittington for the hearty pat on the back. Whittington introduced the resolution Dec. 5 so the council could “express its appreciation to Mrs. Cora Masters Barry for her outstanding community work, scholarship, and outstanding leadership.” Whittington has good reason to be appreciative. The first lady managed Whittington’s campaign in last spring’s special election to fill Marion Barry’s vacant council seat. More importantly, though, the mayor, Cora, and her brother, Walter Masters, may have cast the crucial ballots in Whittington’s one-vote victory over Sandy Allen.
Still Swinging Not a single Washington City Paper reader wrote to complain about a recent article on Capital Couples, a swingers club located near Union Station (see “Cocktails, Hors D’Oeuvres, and Blowjobs,” 12/15). The story was intended to chronicle the decline of the sport in the post-AIDS era. But much to our surprise, both City Paper and the article’s author have been inundated with calls and e-mails from men and women seeking to join the sex club. A man from upper Northwest was the first to call. “Uh, I read your article and thought it was real interesting,” he said nervously. “How can a person find out where these activities are going on?” Though we initially feared the caller might be a law enforcement official, we soon realized he simply wanted the club’s phone number, as did dozens of others, including one elderly Potomac woman who said, “It’s my husband’s birthday this weekend. I want to surprise him.” For all you wannabe swingers out there, Capital Couples’ number is (301) 961-7174.
Mass Harassment Persuading D.C. residents to show up for jury duty can be harder than getting the mayor to a control board meeting. But ask residents to join a lawsuit against the city where money is involved and the volunteers come running. Last January, seven women and one man filed suit against their employer, the D.C. Department of Corrections (DOC), on behalf of all DOC workers. The suit alleged that the department routinely sexually harassed its employees and retaliated against those who complained about it. A jury awarded seven of the plaintiffs $1.4 million in damages and $350,000 in back pay. The jury also ruled in favor of the plaintiff class but was unable to decide on monetary damages because the individual cases varied. Now, about 280 DOC employeesincluding 15 percent of all female corrections workershave signed on to the class action claiming victimhood. Forty of the late joiners are men who claim they were retaliated against for opposing sexual harassment in the department. Staff attorney Christine Webber at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, which represented the plaintiffs, estimates that about 200 of the new claims will actually prove valid after individual hearings this summer.