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Capital Business
Posted at 12:38 PM ET, 12/01/2011

Group founded by Newt Gingrich sued for rent on K Street offices

A D.C. Superior Court judge authorized the eviction of an advocacy and fundraising group founded by Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) after the
Republican presidential candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at a town hall rally in South Carolina. (Stephen Morton - AP)
organization vacated its K Street offices without paying its September rent, according to court documents and the group’s landlord.

Gingrich formed the nonprofit organization, American Solutions for Winning the Future, in 2006 and it raised more than $50 million with Gingrich at the helm. He left the group when he decided to run for president and it closed in July.

Shortly thereafter, according to filings in D.C. Superior Court, the group ditched its offices at 1425 K St., a few blocks from the White House. The building’s owner, a partnership of District-based Blake Real Estate, sued the group in September for $20,130.41 in unpaid rent, interest and penalties.

Steve Lustgarten, executive vice president at Blake Real Estate, said the group had occupied about 3,500 square feet on the building’s seventh floor and had about three years remaining on its lease when it failed to pay its September rent. A Superior Court judge granted the landlord a judgement in October, but Lustgarten said the company has not been able to collect any of the money.

“It’s not like this nonprofit even went bankrupt, they just don’t exist any more,” Lustgarten said. He said the group left their offices largely intact and that the court had authorized the U.S. Marshals to remove the group’s remaining belongings and put them out on the sidewalk so Black Real Estate could take back the space and rent it to other tenants.

He said he still leases space to another Gingrich-associated organization, Gingrich Group.

“We’re obviously upset that it happened, although I guess from Newt’s side I guess when he decided to run for president he decided to pull out of the organization and he basically had no generator for the business, so it went away. So we’ll have to see what happens with his other organization in the building,” he said.

Longtime Gingrich advisor Joe Gaylord, who took the helm at American Solutions after the former House Speaker’s departure, told the Post in August that the group had difficulty raising money after Gingrich left. “We didn’t want to run the organization into deep, deep, deep debt. So we closed it down,” he said. Gingrich told the Post that he hadn’t “had anything to do with them since I left to run for president.”

Neither Gaylord nor the campaign immediately returned a request for comment Wednesday evening.

Lustgarten said Blake Real Estate was considering other avenues for recouping losses from the group’s departure, but doesn’t currently plan any further action.

“We’ll see whether or not there are any assets that legally we’re entitled to have, but we’re told legally there’s nothing there,” he said.

Follow Jonathan O’Connell on Twitter: @oconnellpostbiz.

By  |  12:38 PM ET, 12/01/2011

 
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