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D.C. Council Having Heated Disputes Over New Chairman, Barry Calls Council “A Laughingstock”

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credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) - The D.C. Council is scheduled to install one of its lawmakers as interim chairman Wednesday morning after months of scandal has forced two of its committee members to be removed.

Phil Mendelson, an at-large councilmember in his fourth term, was the preferred candidate heading into the meeting, although infighting has raised questions about the man some councilmembers have described as the careful, self-effacing leader the legislative body needs.

Councilman Vincent Orange and Marion Barry have objected to the nomination of Mendelson as interim chairman and Michael Brown as the new Chairman Pro Tempore.

Instead Orange and Barry have proposed that Mendelson be Chairman of the D.C. Council with Orange himself acting as pro tempore.

WNEW reporter Kevin Patrick says it has gotten heated repeatedly in the meeting, as Barry has been told he is out of order for continuing to argue points.

Marion Barry says the Council has become “a laughingstock”.

Councilmember David Catania refuted Barry’s claims calling his comments ironic and adding, “How ridiculous is this?”

The former chairman, Kwame Brown, resigned last week after he was charged with lying on bank loan applications. He pleaded guilty to that bank fraud charge along with a misdemeanor campaign finance violation.

Brown became the second councilmember to step down after pleading guilty to a federal offense this year. Harry Thomas Jr. admitted embezzling $350,000 from the city and is heading to prison for three years.

WNEW’s Kevin Patrick is reporting from the Wilson Building in Washington, D.C. now, and will bring you an update as soon as the Council has voted. Stay tuned to ALL NEWS – 99.1  for the latest.

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