A Northwest Washington landlord was charged in D.C. Superior Court yesterday with 473 criminal violations of the city's housing regulations at five buildings he managed in the 1400 and 1600 blocks of R Street NW.
The D.C. corporation counsel's office contended that between May and September tenants at the buildings were denied such basic services as heat, hot water and refuse collection. Court records described a wide assortment of violations, including leaking sewage pipes, faulty plumbing, cracked walls, peeling paint and improperly fitted windows at the properties.
Assistant Corporation Counsel Mark S. Mann said yesterday that 472 duplicate charges also were filed against five local corporations that held a financial interest in the individual buildings at the time of the violations.
The landlord, Gregory S. marsh, 34, was listed as a director of each of the five corporations in documents filed with the D.C. recorder of deeds.
Marsh appeared before Judge Byron Sorrell yesterday and pleaded innocent to all the charges and asked for a tril by jury. Sorrell scheduled a hearing Jan. 3. The charges, which are misdemeanors, each carry a penalty of a $300 fine, 10 days in jail or both, according to Mann.
The brick apartment houses, which were constructed in the early 1900s, are at 1420, 1432, 1436 and 1440 R Street NW and at 1619 R Street NW. A tenant at 1420 R St. NW said yesterday that he rents a one-bedroom apartment there for $124 a month.
Marsh, whose address is listed in court records as 1336 I St. NW, pleaded innocent in August to 11 other housing code violations at the 1420 R St. NW address.
In a telephone interview, Marsh said yesterday that he no longer manages the buildings at 1432, 1436 and 1440 R St. NW. Marsh contended that the notice of the violations was orginally served by city officials on his management agent, who delayed bringing the charges to Marsh's attention. Marsh said that "a great deal" of the violations were corrected "with a couple of weeks" after he was made aware of the problems.
Marsh said "major" and "mergency" repairs were made within five days and that he is now working to correct remaining violations at the buildings he manages.
Last August, D.C. City Council member Marion Barry, now the Democratic candidate for mayor, met with tenants at 1420 R St. NW and accused Marsh of allowing the building to deteriorate so he could convert the apartments to condominiums. Marsh accused Barry, who was then campaigning for the nomination, of using the tenants to gain press coverage.
The charges filed against Marsh and the five corporations yesterday came after a task force within the corporation counsel's office had conentrated since May on cases involving alleged violations of various city regulations, housing, zoning, licensing and fire codes and local environmental laws.
The task force, composed of three assistant city prosecutors, filed 300 housing code violations in August against the owner of the Clifton Terrace Apartments at 14th and Clifton streets NW.