Trump Challenge to D.C. Hotel Taxes Tossed, for Now

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By Andrew M. Ballard

Nov. 7 — Donald Trump’s effort to get a $1.7 million tax refund for his new luxury hotel in Washington, D.C., has been dismissed, but Trump can try again ( Trump Old Post Office LLC v. District of Columbia , D.C. Super. Ct., No. 2016-CVT-000010, dismissal 10/27/16 ).

The Republican presidential candidate still may pursue his claims under the Oct. 27 ruling, with separate petitions for each assessment in dispute. The property at issue consists of seven lots.

Trump claimed in his lawsuit that the District of Columbia incorrectly assessed the Old Post Office property as a “fully functional and rent-producing commercial office building” before the two-year, $200 million project was complete. The valuation the city placed “on the shell of a non-operational building undergoing a massive conversion to a hotel” resulted in “an assessment of possessory interest taxes that is neither equitable nor reasonable,” the court filings said.

Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C., is housed in the castle-like Old Post Office on Pennsylvania Avenue, completed in 1899, five blocks from the White House. The 263-room hotel held its official grand opening Oct. 26.

Dismissed Without Prejudice

In the order to dismiss without prejudice, Judge Erick Christian of the Superior Court for the District of Columbia said that Trump “improperly attempted to consolidate seven 2015 assessments into one action.” The court may only review one assessment per appeal, Christian said.

In addition, the judge said, although the challenge wasn’t filed in a timely manner, the delay was caused by the city. Therefore, he said, the matter was dismissed without prejudice to allow the filing of separate petitions for each assessment Trump sought to challenge.

Trump Old Post Office LLC is represented by William Bosch, a partner with Arnold & Porter LLP in Washington, and Bryan Adkins, an associate who also works in the nation’s capital. Neither Bosch nor Adkins was immediately available for comment on the ruling or whether they will refile their challenge.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew M. Ballard in Raleigh, N.C., at aballard@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ryan C. Tuck at rtuck@bna.com

For More Information

The order to dismiss without prejudice is at http://src.bna.com/jUM.

Trump’s amended petition in the case is at http://src.bna.com/iBf.

The city’s motion to dismiss is at http://src.bna.com/iBe.

Trump’s opposition to the motion to dismiss is at http://src.bna.com/iBg.

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