How much did it cost to celebrate late former Mayor-for-Life Marion Barry in appropriate style? Nearly $100,000, according to city documents obtained by LL through the Freedom of Information Act.
The District’s priciest contribution came at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center memorial to Barry. The convention hall memorial cost $93,828.72, according to an invoice. That included $30,755.50 for rigging the convention hall and $43,050.00 for audio-visual work. The D.C. Council’s contributions to the memorials, including $790 condolence books, brought the cost of the memorial for the city to $97,391.40.
It’s not clear whether that’s the entire price tag, though. The FOIA response from the Office of the Chief Financial Officer doesn’t include, for example, the cost of a police escort during Barry’s processional to Ward 8.
On his way out of office, Vince Gray promised a full accounting of the expenses but never delivered. Muriel Bowser spokesman Michael Czin told LL he had nothing to add when LL checked if the new administration had produced a full tally.
Compared to other recent District celebrations go, Barry’s multi-day memorial celebration actually came off frugally. Bowser’s memorial festivities ran to around $1.1 million (the money came from a privately-funded inauguration committee, not the city itself). Meanwhile, last April’s Emancipation Day had a budget of $350,000 and still couldn’t cover all of its costs.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery