Former drug supplier to Barry now Fenty campaign contributor

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Local,News,DC,Alan Suderman

A restaurateur who testified 20 years ago that he supplied then-Mayor Marion Barry with cocaine, a Caribbean hotel room for his girlfriend, and money in return for political access is tied to $6,000 given to Mayor Adrian Fenty's re-election campaign.

Hassan Mohammadi, his wife, Yasaman Rowhani, and his Delaware-based restaurant each gave the Fenty campaign $2,000 on March 9, campaign records show.

So far, Fenty has declined to say whether he will give back the money.

Mohammadi testified in 1990 that he provided Barry with cocaine more than 30 times, according to published accounts of the former mayor's trial that followed an FBI sting operation at a D.C. hotel. Once, Mohammadi testified, he brought cocaine to Barry at the mayor's office in the District Building.

Mohammadi also testified that that he paid for a hotel room for Barry's girlfriend on a drug-fueled trip to the Bahamas and supplied the current Ward 8 councilman with thousands of dollars in chips for a casino. The value of the chips was not paid back.

"I covered wherever I could," Mohammadi testified in regards to Barry's drug use, according to published accounts. "I was a true friend for Mr. Mayor; I was always there for Mr. Mayor."

Mohammadi, an Iranian immigrant who used to own the Pardis Cafe in Georgetown, won a $195,000 city contract to do publicity work for the D.C. Lottery Board when Barry was mayor, accounts show.

His testimony against Barry was part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors to avoid deportation and a stiffer penalty over a drug charge.

The donations where first reported in April by the Washington City Paper, which also reported at the time that a Fenty campaign aide was unaware of Mohammadi's background.

Fenty's June 10 financial disclosure form showed only one refund, which was not related to Mohammadi's donations.

Fenty has been a prodigious fundraiser and reported in June he had more than $3 million on hand for his battle with D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray. The primary is less than three months away.

Mohammadi could not be reached for comment.

The Fenty campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

Dorothy Brizill, founder of the local government watchdog D.C. Watch, said it's puzzling that the Fenty campaign wouldn't return Mohammadi's funds given his past reputation.

"You give money in essence for access and influence -- what access and influence is he seeking from the Fenty administration?" Brizill said, adding that Fenty is "not that desperate for $6,000 when he's got that much money in the bank."

asuderman@washingtonexaminer.com

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