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By Che Odom
Dec. 2 — President-elect Donald Trump’s lawsuit against Washington, D.C., over property taxes on his new Pennsylvania Avenue luxury hotel needs to be refiled again, not merely amended ( In re District of Columbia , D.C. Super. Ct., No. 2016-CVT-000010, answer filed 11/30/16 ).
That’s according to the city’s Nov. 30 answer in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
Trump Old Post Office LLC, the entity Trump created to build the $200 million Trump International Hotel, filed an amended petition Nov. 14 after his original lawsuit was dismissed. In the dismissal, Judge Erik Christian ruled that Trump Old Post Office needed to file separate petitions on behalf of each of the lots involved in the hotel project.
In response, Trump Old Post Office filed an amended petition on behalf of the lot with the greatest assessed value, seeking a refund of $1.4 million in taxes paid for that lot.
In its Nov. 30 answer, the District of Columbia said Trump’s lawsuit couldn’t be amended because Christian dismissed the case. If the judge agrees with the city, Trump would only need to file a new petition.
In addition, the city said a motion by Trump to dismiss the city’s counterclaims was moot because the case had been dismissed.
Trump’s lease with the federal government to operate the castle-like hotel, five blocks from the White House, is mired in controversy.
The agreement appears to bar participation by any elected official, posing an acute conflict-of-interest challenge just seven weeks before Inauguration Day, according to two George Washington University procurement experts who published their findings Nov. 28 in “Government Executive,” a trade publication. They argued that the government should extricate itself from the deal.
“The government should be pursuing an avenue to terminate the lease,” said Scott Amey, general counsel to the Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog group, who didn’t contribute to the article.
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Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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