"In this town, we decide what's important and not important at the station and in the community. And with all the stuff going on with the city council up here, this going on over here, going on over here, you know. You're talking about parking tickets? That's ridiculous!"
So went the response of controversial former D.C. mayor and current Councilman Marion Barry. And it may just sum up everything that's wrong with Washington and the attitude of lawmakers in the nation's capital.
The remarks were directed toward local WTTG-TV investigative reporter Emily Miller, who was trying to find out why the politician (and "mayor for life") hadn't paid over $600 in outstanding parking tickets for a car with "Ward Eight" plates. The tickets were from 2012-2013. And as the news outlet would come to find out, he actually owed much more than that -- about four times more.
As if the comments above weren't bad enough, Barry continued by attacking Miller personally as she pressed him.
"You’ve just been here since April. You don’t know a damn thing about Washington, D.C.,” he told her. It also sounds like he possibly utters an expletive (something akin to "sh**" or "You're full of sh**") after she takes offense to his comments.
Barry went on to obfuscate in the interview, at one point saying that the tickets were for a car he wasn't driving but also saying no one else was driving the car in question.
So what became of it? Barry did end up paying the fines, but in what might be another example of "politics as usual" in Washington, he was given a break, according to WTTG:
According to the DMV website on Saturday, Barry had $2,824 in unpaid parking tickets. Seven of them were for not having valid tags. In D.C., you’re required to pay all parking tickets before re-registering your vehicle each year.
In a statement on Wednesday, Barry said he did have valid tags.
Earlier this week, the DMV reduced his fine by $1,000, and he paid off the tickets and got his Jaguar out of the impound lot. Miller reports he did not have to pay the late fees that double tickets.
Miller initially confronted Barry two weeks ago. Ironically, he got in an accident this past weekend and was ticketed, revealing he owed even more than was initially thought. Her full report is below:
If Miller's name sounds familiar, it's because she recently wrote a book about getting a gun in the nation's capital. You can read about that in our previous story.
This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Barry's last name.