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Which people and places left a lasting impact on City Paper writers and Washingtonians in 2022? Plenty of characters emerged from the primary election and others made news due to their own misdeeds. On the places side, remote work locations continued to stand out, as did a Georgetown home that’s become home to the cremains of a local curmudgeon.

To see what readers selected in People and Places categories, click here.

Karl Racine Credit: Darrow Montgomery

BEST ANTAGONIST 

Karl Racine

Attorney General Karl Racine is leaving public office at the end of the year, but he’s not letting up on one of his favorite pastimes: antagonizing Mayor Muriel Bowser. As the first elected AG, Racine has consistently used his position and his office to call out what he sees as failings of Bowser’s leadership. In just the past year or so, he wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post titled “Mayor Bowser must reform the D.C. jail,” and about a month later, took the unprecedented step of withdrawing his office’s legal representation of the D.C. Department of Corrections in a probe of horrific living conditions there. The two have pointed fingers at each other over who’s to blame for juvenile crime, and when Bowser refused to use local funds to support aid for migrants bused to D.C. from Texas and Arizona, Racine issued $150,000 in grants from his office. A week later, Bowser declared a public emergency around the issue and created an Office of Migrant Services. Racine also endorsed one of her (unsuccessful) primary opponents, At-Large Councilmember Robert White, and is loud and proud in his support of the re-election bid of another of the mayor’s rivals, Elissa Silverman. With a couple months still left in his term, Racine still has plenty of time to notch a few more zingers. —Mitch Ryals

Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh Credit: Darrow Montgomery

BEST CAMPAIGN DRAMA

Ward 3 Primary 

Pretty much no one thought the Ward 3 Council seat would be on the ballot a year ago, but Mary Cheh’s surprise retirement kicked off perhaps the craziest race of the entire election cycle. Sure, other campaigns had their highs and lows, but the crowded, nine-way race in Northwest had everything. Longtime government employee Eric Goulet would’ve made the race interesting all on his own, particularly with the big-money backing he received in the campaign’s closing stretch. But then things really heated up as candidates started dropping out to consolidate behind Matt Frumin in an explicit bid to stop Goulet. At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman even got in on the action, polling the race and then discussing the results, which has landed her in a bit of trouble with the Office of Campaign Finance. The controversy has even spilled over into Silverman’s own at-large race, proving that Ward 3 has enough drama for at least two campaigns, if not more—Goulet used his high-profile bid to turn around and launch a run for the State Board of Education, too. —Alex Koma

Ruby Corado in 2013 Credit: Darrow Montgomery

BEST GETAWAY

Ruby Corado

The founder and longtime director of a nonprofit that helped homeless LGBTQ youth, Ruby Corado, might be in some trouble. Corado resigned from Casa Ruby in 2021 and then hightailed it out of the District to El Salvador, where she has set up a chapter of the organization. But the once well-regarded LGTBQ advocate left behind millions in unpaid bills, owed wages to employees, and “ransacked” buildings where the organization used to offer services, evidence of “potential criminal misconduct,” according to preliminary findings from a court-appointed receiver. The Office of the Attorney General successfully had Casa Ruby’s bank accounts frozen and found evidence that Corado withdrew at least $60,000 of the organization’s funds to pay off her personal credit card debts and fund trips to El Salvador. According to tax records DCist reviewed, Corado’s salary increased by 800 percent in seven years to more than $260,000 by 2020. As a Superior Court judge decides whether to dissolve the nonprofit, Corado remains at large, and has maintained that she’s done nothing wrong. Although technically she isn’t considered a fugitive because no criminal charges have been filed, she appears to be getting away with it—for now. —MR

The Old Post Office Tower

BEST NEW (OLD) INSTAGRAM SPOT FOR THAT #DC PIC

Old Post Office Tower

The Old Post Office Tower has been hotly featured on social media since it reopened this spring. Visitors can take a free, self-guided tour of the small museum and ride the elevator to the top for an incredible panoramic view of the city and a prime vantage point of the Mall. The tower closed to visitors during the pandemic, but its reopening feels even bigger since the hotel it is connected to is now the Waldorf Astoria, and no longer the Trump International.

The museum at the Old Post Office could definitely use some updates; there were several mentions of former President Donald Trump and photos of the groundbreaking of the Trump Hotel. Besides these blasts from the past, there were some cool historical photos of Pennsylvania Avenue and background on the Post Office featured in the museum. If you really want to make an afternoon of it, stop for a drink at the Waldorf bar like the visitors I shared the elevator ride with said they had, but prepare to shell out $30 for that martini. The Instagram story I got from the top was enough for me. —Camila Bailey
1100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, nps.gov/thingstodo/old-post-office-tower.htm

Chain Bridge Road NW Credit: Darrow Montgomery

BEST NORTHWEST NIMBY

Andrea Mitchell

What is it about NBC News contributors getting involved in petty D.C. neighborhood drama? Following in the footsteps of Tim and Luke Russert, Andrea Mitchell started popping up at community meetings in Palisades to complain about a proposal for traffic-calming measures (including sidewalks) along her street in Ward 3. Mitchell raised concerns that such a change would mar a “historic community, an African-American community going back to the 1860s,” which is quite the claim for a neighborhood dominated by mini mansions these days. The city could end up closing her section of Chain Bridge Road NW to traffic permanently, but there are plenty of battles left among neighbors and the local ANC. Suffice it to say, there’s a reason why some involved in the debate have called this dispute, and Mitchell’s involvement, a “classic Ward 3” story. —AK

BEST PLACE TO “WORK” REMOTELY

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library Rooftop

As the editor of a local news website, I spend most of my waking hours within arm’s reach of my laptop. While that statement might indicate an alarming lack of work-life balance, it really means that in this era of remote work, I can turn any flat surface in a relatively quiet location into an office. My living room fits the bill most days, but on those glorious, breezy, sunny days when spending time inside feels like a punishment, I head for MLK Library’s renovated rooftop. The sounds of the street don’t seem to reach the roof, despite the library’s location in the heart of downtown D.C., a mere block and a half from 7th Street NW. This means you can actually take phone calls at a library without reserving a private room. The dozen or so tables spread across the terrace are large enough to accommodate co-workers or whatever pile of items your job may require. The only thing the roof lacks are outlets, so arrive with charged devices or head inside when you need some juice. Or you could just make it look like you’re working, snap a few photos for your Instagram story, and enjoy the top-tier people watching and city views—the choice is yours. —Caroline Jones
901 G St. NW. dclibrary.org/mlk

BEST PLACE TO HAVE AN OUT-OF-BODY EXPERIENCE

DC USA

Who knew it actually had an official name, but DC USA, the shopping plaza in Columbia Heights, is what I imagine a Virtual Reality experience to feel like. It’s why I refuse to put on those headsets. The retail center is conveniently located, holds a series of stores that are not easy to find in the District—Target, Best Buy, and Bed Bath & Beyond—and is where a lot of residents make their business selling food, art, and other wares. I bought my toaster at this very Target! Nonetheless, if you are nursing any kind of hangover, steer clear of 14th and Irving streets NW. 

DC USA is where every sense you have is fated to be overstimulated. You will (probably physically) bump into at least one person you know and there will likely be a group exercising their freedom of speech at high volume outside the Metro station. The plethora of smells whacking you in the face from the regular vendors will have you ready to run, but to where? The slow-moving pedestrian traffic has trapped you here for the next eternity. Stumble into the Chipotle across the street for the briefest relief and then try to fight your way home. But don’t drop your toaster. —CB

14th and Irving streets NW. shopdcusa.com

BEST LAWYER

Ben Soto

What makes a good lawyer? Sharp wit and tenacity, sure. A few political connections certainly help. Willingness to exploit a legal loophole? You betcha. A nice suit, fancy pair of shoes, and a leather briefcase will complete the ensemble. But a really good lawyer, like the best lawyer, is one who’s willing to help their client at all costs—even if that cost is their bar license. We can only think of one attorney who fits that bill this year. Since 2020, Ben Soto has been fighting off accusations that he illegally altered documents to save a client a few thousand bucks on his property taxes. The client, Madam’s Organ owner Bill Duggan, says he ended up paying more in taxes due to Soto’s shenanigan. Soto has maintained the whole thing was just a miscommunication. His disciplinary case in front of the D.C. Board of Professional Responsibility is pending appeal before the D.C. Court of Appeals, where judges will decide whether Soto loses his license entirely or receives a suspension. But Soto has been in legal trouble before, and managed to wiggle out relatively unscathed. There’s reason to think he’ll do so again. He is a lawyer, after all. —MR

BEST MAKESHIFT MAUSOLEUM

Jack Evans’ basement

“I’ve got a body in the trunk!” Jack Evans declared in a memorable 2019 phone call with NBC4 reporter Mark Segraves. Far from confessing to a grand life of crime, Evans was actually saying, in a roundabout way, that he’d picked up the cremains of the late Mark Plotkin, the political commentator who became a quintessential part of local D.C. for decades. Three years later, Evans still has some of Plotkin’s remains socked away in his Georgetown basement, as Plotkin’s friends try to sort out a final resting place. Tom Sherwood brought us this incredible, melancholy tale about the struggle to figure out how best to remember such a singular, if crotchety, figure in District politics. A permanent home in the Wilson Building looks to be off the table for Plotkin, for now, if Chairman Phil Mendelson has anything to say about it. So it seems Evans’ basement will have to do. —AK

BEST BICEPS

Chris Geldart

Say what you want about Virginia resident and former deputy mayor for public safety and justice Chris Geldart (and there is plenty to say). But there is absolutely no denying that he had the best biceps in Mayor Bowser’s cabinet, and dare we say the entire District government. I mean seriously, his arms are bigger than my thighs. I bet he could crush a watermelon in the pit of his elbow. Does he fit through normal size doors? How much do you think he curls—two bills? The surveillance video footage of the physical altercation that ultimately led to the end of his job in the D.C. government, taken from (where else?) the parking lot of an Arlington gym, shows Geldart put his hand around another, much smaller man’s neck after a door-ding dispute. It’s a good thing Geldart didn’t squeeze, or the other guy’s head would have popped like a pimple. In all seriousness, exercise can be a great stress reliever and a healthy distraction from life’s trials and tribulations. Now that he’s out of a job, Geldart has a lot more time to work on those lats. —MR

BEST INADVERTENT CATCHPHRASE

“No, actually, I probably won’t”

Mayor Muriel Bowser didn’t know she was giving D.C. residents the out they needed when she responded to a reporter’s question on Oct. 5, but what a gift it is. The quote came about after Fox5 reporter Sierra Fox asked Bowser if she’d seen a video of then-Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Chris Geldart getting into an altercation with a man at a Gold’s Gym in Arlington. When Bowser said she’d watch the video in her office and Fox asked if Bowser would answer questions after doing so, the mayor answered in one perfect, condescending line: “No, actually, I probably won’t.” 

It’s the perfect response to any query. Will Maryland and Virginia residents stop saying they’re from D.C., the humor account Washingtonian Problems asked in a post that contained the video. No, actually, I probably won’t.

“Will you give me a ride to Dulles?” your friend asks.

No, actually, I probably won’t.

Now, when Bowser asks prospective voters for a third term, those who don’t support her know exactly what to say. —CJ

BEST REPEAT OFFENDER

Rhayda Barnes Thomas

Rhayda Barnes Thomas took full advantage of her access to a D.C. government timekeeping database. For about three years, prosecutors allege that Barnes Thomas used that access to illegally funnel taxpayer funds intended for a subsidized employment program into her own pockets. She used a fake Gmail account and posed as a nonprofit employee to communicate with herself through her D.C. government email, prosecutors say, and sent debit cards loaded with District funds to P.O boxes that she had set up. All told, Barnes Thomas made off with about $315,000 to $350,000. But this wasn’t the first time she was caught stealing taxpayer money. Before the D.C. Department of Employment Services hired her, she served prison time for stealing federal funds from a Maryland public school district. But it gets better. DOES noticed Barnes Thomas’ alleged crimes in 2018 and fired her that year. But it took the inspector general and U.S. Attorney’s Office four years to investigate, indict, and arrest her. And in that time, Barnes Thomas secured another job with a D.C. government agency, making more than $71,000 a year. Not a bad gig! —MR

BEST DMs LEAK

@DCHomos

There are plenty of DMs we’d like to get a peek at. Mayor Bowser’s WhatsApp is, without a doubt, on the top of that list. But barring a significant change of heart for the stubbornly secretive mayor, we’ll have to settle for the screenshots posted from the @DCHomos Twitter account. About two months after the primary election, Jose Romero, who runs the account with more than 90,000 followers, tweeted snippets of his DMs with Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau and the Democratic nominee for the Ward 5 seat, Zachary Parker. Nadeau sent Romero DMs during her campaign about her opponent, Salah Czapary. After she won, Nadeau and Czapary took a selfie together in a show of good sportsmanship. Then Nadeau DMed Romero again and asked him to help smear at-large Council candidate Graham McLaughlin, who is running against At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman, by highlighting his association with Czapary. “The whole election season @BrianneKNadeau was feeding me anti @czapary info to post and thanking me for posting and now she’s taking selfies w him,” Romero tweeted with the screenshots of their private chat. “What’s the tea sis.” (Nadeau disputes Romero’s characterization that she fed him info throughout her primary campaign or was a source for his tweets.) A similar scenario played out with Parker, who fed Romero “anonymous Czapary info” as well as “talking points” about his own opponent Faith Gibson Hubbard during the campaign. After Parker won the primary, he agreed to let Czapary host a meet-and-greet on his behalf. Romero says Nadeau left him an apologetic voicemail after he posted the screenshots. Parker blocked him. The whole thing has him feeling a bit pessimistic. “There’s no reason to be two-faced,” he says. “Politics suck as it is.” —MR

BEST NORMIE

Kevin Donahue

City Administrator and newly reappointed Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Kevin Donahue is the consummate bureaucrat. At press conferences, he stands quietly, wearing loose fitting suits and, unlike some public officials, speaks only when asked specific questions. On Twitter, he exclusively retweets government accounts and adds a few emojis if he’s feeling frisky. Despite his quiet demeanor, Donahue has become one of the mayor’s most trusted allies, second only, perhaps, to Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. And while Falcicchio tends to lash out at critics and reporters when they share information that doesn’t paint the administration in glory, Donahue stays quiet. The restraint is almost admirable. Perhaps it’s a consequence of gaining responsibility due to the missteps of others—Donahue became city administrator in January 2021, after his predecessor, Rashad Young, abruptly left the role to assume a new position at Howard University, and became deputy mayor for public safety for the second time after Chris Geldart resigned after being charged with assault and revealing that he lived in Virginia. Whatever the reason, Donahue’s shirking of the spotlight stands out in a city full of attention seekers. This normalcy might be just what the chaotic D.C. government needs. —CJ

BEST TRADE

Juan Soto

Most Nats fans would like to forget the 2022 season ever happened, with good reason. The team finished dead last in the N.L. East for the third consecutive year, recording 107 losses. They also severed ties with one of, if not the best young hitter in the league, Juan Soto, despite having him under team control through the 2024 season. But what was General Manager Mike Rizzo to do? Soto rejected the Nats’ 15-year, $440 million contract extension offer. Rather than hold onto Soto for a few years and let him walk, he might as well get the biggest return possible. Depending on who you ask, that’s what Rizzo did. In exchange for sending Soto (and Josh Bell) to San Diego, the Nationals received shortstop C.J. Abrams, lefty MacKenzie Gore, first baseman Luke Voit, and three top prospects: Robert Hassell III, James Wood, and Jarlin Susana. Only Abrams, Gore, and Voit have big league experience, and the Nats are praying the other three develop into the top tier players they’re projected to be. They didn’t really have another choice. —MR

Update: This post has been updated with a comment from Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau.