WASHINGTON – Former District of Columbia mayor Marion Barry (search) pleaded guilty Friday to not filing income taxes.
Barry, 69, appeared in U.S. District Court where he entered guilty pleas to two misdemeanor counts of willful failure to file and failure to make a return for the year 2000 tax period. The pleas were part of an agreement reached with federal prosecutors in which he acknowledged not filing taxes from 1999 through 2004.
"There is some substantial amount of income that was paid," said federal prosecutor James W. Cooper (search).
Barry conceded in court that he was not sure exactly how much he earned in the first six years after he stepped down as mayor, but according to court papers, New York-based investment firms paid him $534,000.
"I have no reason to dispute the information which came from the W-2's and 1099's filed by my employers," Barry said during the 35 minute hearing.
The former four-term mayor, who was elected to the D.C. Council last November, has agreed to file all necessary tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service, the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue and any other required tax authority.
The government also maintains its right to levy fines and penalties against Barry in connection with the outstanding taxes.
"This is the first step in resolving this matter. In the meantime I'm going to go back to work for Ward 8 people and the citizens of the District of Columbia," Barry said as he left the same courthouse where 15 years ago he was convicted on a misdemeanor drug charge.
Barry was famously videotaped in 1990 smoking crack in a hotel room in an FBI sting during his third term. In 1991 he served a six month prison sentence, and went on to regain the mayor's office in 1994. He declined to seek reelection in 1998.
Barry has been ordered to inform federal probation officials of any plans to leave the area before his Jan. 18 sentencing. While he faces potential penalties of up to 18 months in prison and fines of $30,000, the plea agreement recommends probation.
At City Hall Friday, requests for comment about Barry were generally declined. Council Chair Linda Cropp said through a spokesman that the case is Barry's personal business. Other council members expressed a similar sentiment.
City Administrator Robert Bobb told The Associated Press that a decision has been made in Mayor Anthony A. Williams' office to not talk about Barry's tax case.
Barry earns $92,605 a year in his council post. He has served 21 years in city government including two previous council terms. Completion of his current term in 2008 will qualify him for pension benefits and a lifetime income.