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LL was finally able to clear up with Anthony J. Motley today why embattled Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry‘s been tooling around in a 1997 Mercedes registered in his name.

“It’s my car,” he says. And Barry’s driving it, essentially, as a loaner.

It’s happened on two occasions, once when Barry own Mercedes broke down some years ago, and more recently when Barry “blew his engine” in a BMW he owns.

Motley addressed the matter today at a press conference he called to address allegations made against him in Robert S. Bennett‘s report on council contracts and earmarks. The report’s cast a long shadow over Barry, who is Motley’s patron, close associate, and a key supporter of his current at-large council run. (More on Motley’s response later.)

Turns out Barry exercises the same care regarding automobile upkeep that he exercises in upholding ethical standards. Said Motley, “You know why he blew the engine?” Because he didn’t service it properly.”

But Motley says that Barry has been doing a decent job maintaining the loaner Mercedes—-maintenance is the only thing Barry’s required to do in exchange for the loaner—-but the mayor-for-life is wearing out Motley’s patience.

“I’d like to have it back,” says Motley, who says he’s driving a 2005 Honda Accord in the interim. Last week, he says, Barry told him his BMW would be out of the shop soon.