Ex-Washington mayor fails to pay civil award in custodian's lawsuit

Lawyer asks that Barry be held in contempt for withholding $35,000

April 18, 2003|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

Former Washington Mayor Marion S. Barry Jr., who was held liable in civil court last year after a Baltimore-area airport custodian said Barry exposed himself to her, might be in hot water again for the incident.

City lawyer Barry Glazer has asked a Baltimore Circuit Court judge to hold the former mayor in contempt of court for not cooperating in the settlement phase of the case. Judge Kaye A. Allison has scheduled a hearing for next month to decide the matter.

"It's possible the judge could put him in jail if he doesn't respond," Glazer said.

Barry was ordered in October to pay $35,000 in damages to custodian Terrie Jenkins, who said Barry shoved her and exposed himself to her in a bathroom at Baltimore-Washington International Airport in 2000.

Barry has not yet paid the settlement money, and he has not responded to Glazer's request for information about his finances, as is required by law, court documents show.

"He's going to have to disclose all he's got," Glazer said.

Glazer filed an order last week in Circuit Court asking that Barry be held in contempt of court for not cooperating.

Barry, 66, who left his third term in office in disgrace in 1991 and spent six months in jail after being videotaped smoking crack cocaine in a Washington hotel, could not be reached for comment.

His lawyer, Charles Byrd, also could not be reached yesterday.

Jenkins was awarded the judgment after suing Barry in Baltimore Circuit Court. The former mayor did not attend the two-day trial.

Barry also refused to meet with Jenkins' attorney before trial, prompting Circuit Judge Thomas J.S. Waxter Jr. to sanction Barry by prohibiting him from testifying in his own defense at trial, Glazer said.

"Marion Barry is a pretty unpredictable guy," Glazer said.

In 2001, Barry was sentenced to a year's probation and community service for an assault charge stemming from the bathroom incident.

Barry agreed to the sentence in a plea deal in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court. In the agreement, the charge of indecent exposure was dropped.

After the sentencing, Barry declared, "She is not going to get a penny."

According to the civil suit settled in October, Jenkins was cleaning a temporarily closed bathroom at the airport when Barry tried to enter July 6, 2000. Barry, who had just gotten off a plane, shoved Jenkins aside when she told him it was closed, Glazer said.

Barry then shoved her again, declaring, "Don't you know who I am?" as he walked inside the bathroom, according to the suit. He then indecently exposed himself and urinated, Glazer said.

The four-term mayor vehemently denied the allegations in the past, saying that since his prostate cancer surgery in 1995, he needs to urinate more frequently and with greater urgency.

Barry filed criminal charges against Jenkins, a mother of five who now is a custodian at a Baltimore hospital, but the charges were dropped by prosecutors.

Waxter, who decided the case in October, awarded Jenkins $35,000 on grounds of assault, false imprisonment and false arrest. Half of the judgment was for punitive damages.

Her original suit sought $300,000.

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