Hundreds of Ward 8 residents waited in long lines Tuesday for a free Thanksgiving turkey courtesy of D.C. Councilman Marion Barry. But just a day before the event was embroiled in controversy thanks to a racially-charged comment made by Barry surrounding his annual giveaway.
Each Thanksgiving, Barry gives away thousands of dollars' worth of turkeys. When the Washington City Paper asked Barry where the money for the giveaway comes from, he refused to answer, adding only a specific group is interested in knowing the source of the funds.
"...only 'liberal white folk'," Barry told the paper.
ABC7 caught up with Barry Monday evening.
"I said something about white liberals are the ones who are who, who raise these questions about who is paying etc," Barry said.
Barry claimed he keeps the source of the money a secret to protect donors from the media. Additionally, he told the Washington City Paper "several would-be donors to his most recently campaign" would not donate; they wanted to keep their names out of his campaign finance reports.
The district is still recovering from the convictions of two, former city council members and high profile investigations, including that of the mayor. Some residents think Barry should be sensitive to the concerns of voters.
Bill Fulton of D.C. said, "It's reasonable for the people who live in the city to know where the politicians get their money from."
But Barry has plenty of support.
Some residents say who cares where the money comes from as long as the needy get a Thanksgiving turkey.
"If somebody is giving him $40,000 to give away turkeys to people who probably need it then we shouldn't question it, we shouldn't question it," added D.C. resident James Holmes.
But Tuesday, Barry offered up the roster of donors readily. A banner in front of the Union Temple Baptist Church displayed a list of apparent donors.
Barry added this year’s giveaway was the biggest and busiest ever.