Loose Lips column delves into the background behind Mayor Adrian M. Fenty‘s move to evict Cora Masters Barry and her Recreation Wish List Committee from the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center—-a beautiful eight-year old facility in Congress Heights.
Some questions remain unanswered: For one, why did this happen in the first place? When the story initially broke, Attorney General Peter Nickles explained that the city discovered that RWLC’s corporate registration had lapsed through “random checks of nonprofit organizations that do business with the city.”
LL finally connected yesterday with Nickles to ask him about the origin of the probe. He says the random check was part of a Fenty administration effort to review city arrangements with nonprofit organizations in the wake of misconduct allegations against Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry.
So, it seems that Cora Barry’s current problems were collateral damage from her estranged husband’s nonprofit woes.
LL asked if the RWLC was targeted because it is run by Barry’s wife.
Said Nickles, “Not as far as I know.”
As for the future of the RWLC at the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, Nickles says it’s out of his hands. “What may happen after they take steps to make up for this issue…I have no knowledge,” he says.
In other words, this is now a political decision for Fenty: Oust Barry, who exerts suzerainty over a piece of District-owned-and-maintained property; or keep Barry, who runs a valuable and successful education program there; or forge some compromise. Initial signs are that Cora Barry will not be long for her center.
Earlier this week, RWLC’s lawyer, A. Scott Bolden, said he’d filed the necessary papers and paid the necessary fees to bring the group into compliance.
Bolden also argued in a letter that the District breached a 2006 lease agreement by not giving RWLC to fix any corporate registration problems.
Nickles isn’t going to buy that argument; as far as he’s concerned, that document is null and void. Because the corporate registration had lapsed, he says, “in the eyes of the law, there’s no standing to enter into the lease.”