Jim Graham seeks indemnification in Metro land deal

D.C. Council member Jim Graham said he is seeking protection from personal liability in any matters involving his role in a controversial Metro real estate deal that he was involved in while serving on the transit agency’s board of directors.

The board may make a decision on his case at its Thursday committee meetings.

In March, Banneker Ventures, a developer, sued Graham (D-Ward 1), alleging that he illegally interfered in the company’s effort to build a residential and retail development on Metro-owned land in the Shaw neighborhood.

A competing developer and Metro were also sued in the lawsuit, which seeks $100 million in compensatory damages.

Graham said Thursday before the board’s discussion that his actions “pertain to directors and officers liability insurance.” He also said he served for 12 years on the Metro board and worked “very, very hard.” Any actions he took, he said, were in his role as a board member and he believes should be covered.

The deal Graham was said to be involved with was a development, dubbed “The Jazz,” was to be built on Florida Avenue NW and was to include 103 residential units and about 12,000 square feet of retail.

According to investigations, Graham told Banneker representatives in 2008 that he would support their bid to run the D.C. Lottery if the firm dropped out of the competition.

Graham, who left the Metro board in 2010, favored another developer — LaKritz Adler of the District, which is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

In 2011, Metro sold the Florida Avenue property to JBG for $10.2 million.

I'm a Washington Post reporter, working an early morning shift that deals with crime, lottery winners, traffic, you name it.
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