Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry has written a letter to at-large colleague David A. Catania accusing him of a “personal vendetta” and saying he’s “perplexed, appalled, hurt by your increasingly [sic] levels of disrespect.”

That includes Catania’s decision to walk out on Friday’s press conference announcing an independent investigation of Barry’s contract with Donna Watts-Brighthaupt after Barry used to opportunity to rail against Park Police. And also Catania’s abortive investigation into what “essentially is a personnel matter” with a nonprofit he funded through an earmark.

Why such treatment? Instead of the race card, Barry pulls the gay card: “I attribute your latest actions to my ‘no’ vote on recognizing same sex marriages from other states.”

With regard to the nonprofit, he writes: “For you to imply that the ‘Clean and Sober’ community investment is administered or supervised by myself or Brenda Richardson is a lie. I call upon you to stop spreading these lies and false perceptions as it pertains to this.”

He closes: ‘You and your emotionally charged actions is causing a great divide. In a Democracy, there is room for dissent and disagreement. It happens in Legislative bodies all across this great land. Let’s meet and see if we can come to an amicable resolution.’

The full letter:

July 13, 2009

Dear David,

I have been perplexed, appalled, hurt by your increasingly levels of disrespect. On several occasions Chairman Gray has asked that you and I meet, and you have refused. Most recently, you walked out of the Chairman’s press conference making an emotional public statement. I attribute your latest actions to my “no” vote on recognizing same sex marriages from other states. Prior to the vote, we worked together cordially and with respect to one another.

As you may recall, soon after the vote you came down to my office. To say that you used choice words when speaking with me would be an understatement – you literally cursed me out. Since that time you have been rude, disrespectful, and will not even speak to me even when spoken to. Furthermore, you have taken upon yourself to draw in on what essentially is a personnel matter for the Board of Directors of Clean and Sober and Youth Leadership Council. This is unprecedented in your affairs with DC City Council.

As you very well know, the community investments in question were approved by the DC City Council. These community investments are administered by the agencies where they are placed. As you further know, Council members DO NOT HAVE contract authority. For you to imply that the “Clean and Sober” community investment is administered or supervised by myself or Brenda Richardson is a lie. I call upon you to stop spreading these lies and false perceptions as it pertains to this.

To add insult to injury, you have not involved any of the other four members of the Committee, including myself, in the issue of “Clean and Sober.” Independent of any other Member of the Committee, you on your own, has asked the Inspector General to investigate this matter. David, this is under the purview of the entire Council and not you independently. Just because you have a personal vendetta against me, an equal member of the Council with the same voting rights as you, does not mean that you should not be professional and discuss this matter with me and other members of the committee prior to making any calls of an investigation.

May I suggest that you turn the page and stop being disrespectful and unprofessional as it relates to me, personally and professionally, and other Members of the Council. You and your emotionally charged actions is causing a great divide. In a Democracy, there is room for dissent and disagreement. It happens in Legislative bodies all across this great land. Let’s meet and see if we can come to an amicable resolution.

Marion Barry

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