The Washington City Paper reports that Cora Masters Barry has filed a lawsuit against Dickens for using her husband’s “celebrity identity” to raise money for the Barry Dickens Kidney Foundation, a charity Dickens founded.
The foundation, which promotes organ donation, claims on its website that Marion Barry helped Dickens found the organization. In addition, the site includes prominent pictures of Barry while recounting the story of Dickens’ donation in a page titled the Barry/Dickens Story.
The Washington Post mentioned the story behind the donation, saying that Dickens’ decision to give her kidney to Barry came after he joked with friends at the Channel Inn in Southwest Washington.
“Would you give me a kidney?” Barry joked. At the time, Barry was struggling with kidney failure while serving on the D.C. City Council in 2009.
“Are you serious?” Barry reportedly said. From there, Dickens was soon tested. As it turned out Barry and Dickens were found to be a match. The final operation for the procedure happened in February 2009.
Cora Masters Barry denies the claim made by the site as her lawsuit stated that following the former mayor’s November 2014 death, Barry’s estate will not allow Dickens’ use of his name.