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By Che Odom
Aug. 31 — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's case against the District of Columbia related to his new luxury hotel in downtown Washington will be getting a new judge ( Trump Old Post Office LLC v. D.C., D.C. Super. Ct., 2016-CVT-000010, recusal order entered 8/30/16 ).
District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Gerald Fisher, appointed to the court by President Bill Clinton in 2001, signed an order Aug. 30 to recuse himself from considering the lawsuit Trump filed June 30 to recover $1.7 million in taxes.
The case is being transferred to Judge Erik Christian, appointed to the court by President George W. Bush in 2001.
Attorneys on both sides didn't return phone calls and e-mails seeking comment, and the recusal order doesn't say why the transfer is being made.
Before his appointment to the court, Fisher was a founding partner of the Washington firm of Fisher & Hansen.
One of the first matters facing Christian will be to consider a motion to dismiss the city filed Aug. 29 and a pending response by Trump Old Post Office LLC, a business entity created by the billionaire-turned-politician.
The city says Trump is attempting to get a refund for taxes he never paid.
In his complaint, Trump claims the taxes assessed for his renovation of the city's Old Post Office Pavilion are “unreasonable.”
Trump seeks a refund of roughly $1.7 million for tax years 2015 and 2016, but he never paid $837,352.58 of the money he wants returned to him for 2016, according to the city's motion.
The city says Trump must pay the tax before he can file suit to have the money refunded.
Trump also seeks relief for 2017 taxes, but the tax year doesn't begin until October, making Trump claims premature, the city said.
Trump Old Post Office LLC has until Sept. 18 to respond to the city's motion.
The tax bill concerns the five-star luxury hotel Trump is developing. He has pledged to spend $200 million on the building’s renovation.
Trump said the project shouldn't be charged taxes for the past two years as a viable property because of the significant changes inside the building. The renovation costs are especially high because of his company's “commitment to preserve historical structures and features and the vast size of the building.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Che Odom in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ryan Tuck at firstname.lastname@example.org
Text of the city's motion is at http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/In_The_Matter_Of_DISTRICT_OF_COLUMBIA_Docket_No_2016CVT000010_DC_/1.
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