The District Office of the Chief Financial Officer made a mistake in June when it sent the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., a check for $249,771.08. The check was the last payment in a $1 million earmark given to the nonprofit to help develop exhibits.
But the CFO's office had already wired a payment five days earlier. The historical society deposited the check and never returned the money, according to a lawsuit filed by the city against the group this week.
Led by Attorney General Peter Nickles, the city is seeking the $749,313.24, using a city procurement law that makes recipients of inadvertent payments liable for three times the amount if they fail to repay the money. The city is also seeking unspecified attorneys' fees and damages.
Sandy Bellamy, the society's executive director, did not immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment.