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During the Ward 8 straw poll in March LL noticed Anthony Muhammad*, a longtime confidante of Mayor-for-Life-turned-Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry, campaigning for one of Barry’s opponents, Sandra Seegars.
After chit-chatting about the race, LL asked Muhammad how Barry reacted when he found out Muhammed was backing one of his opponents. (Barry, if you didn’t know, cruised to an easy re-election in the Democratic contest.)
Muhammad said Barry made it clear that there would be a price to pay for the show of disloyalty. That price: torpedoing Muhammad’s nomination to serve on the D.C. Taxicab Commission.
“I said you’ll have to go up to heaven to stop me,” Muhammad said was his reply to Barry’s threat. “I don’t think you have a pass there.”
A few months go by and it turns out, wouldn’t you know it, that Muhammad’s nomination to the taxi commission is currently being held up by … Marion Barry.
Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh‘s transportation committee approved Muhammad’s nomination, which was headed to a full council vote at a recent legislative session when Barry intervened. Cheh says Barry caught up to her just before the meeting and asked her to put Muhammad’s nomination on hold.
Cheh says she noted the late hour of Barry’s request and asked what his problem was with the mayor’s nominee. His reply, according to Cheh: “I want to ask him some questions and I didn’t have time to ask him these questions.”
Cheh says she agreed to give Barry 30 days to ask Muhammad his questions as a courtesy before she moves the nomination forward. She says that unless there’s some new, disqualifying information presented about Muhammad, he’ll get a full vote before the council.
Muhammad says he’s already counted the votes and knows he has enough to be nominated.
“He’s trying to punish everybody” who supported his opponents, Muhammad told LL today of Barry.
LL caught up with Barry outside the Wilson Building as he was getting out of a rental car. He says a truck backed into his silver Jaguar, which has seen its share of rough days. Barry says the car is “jinxed” and that he plans on getting a new set of wheels this fall. As for Muhammad’s nomination, Barry would only say he wants to have a conversation with Mayor Vince Gray about that particular nominee.
*An earlier version of this post misspelled Muhammad’s last name.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery