A member of a tentant's group alleged yesterday that D.C. housing director Robert L. Moore shoved him and ripped his shirt yesterday during a brief altercation outside Moore's office.
The allegation was made by Roger Turpin, of Washington Inner-City Self-Help, a group that has been pressing Moore's Department of Housing and Community Development to take action against landlords in the Columbia Heights area who, the group contends, ignore city building codes. Turpin vowed to file assault charges against Moore, but by day's end had taken no such action.
Moore declined to confirm or deny that an altercation had taken place. "If he thinks I grabbed him, he can file charges," Moore said.
But Moore did acknowledge that he angrily confronted half a dozen members of the group -- including Turpin -- on the sidewalk outside his office at 1325 G St. NW and told them never to bring their protests to his house again.
About 10 members of the group went to Moore's home on Bryant Street NW Sunday evening to protest what they called Moore's refusal to meet with them. s
Moore said that at the time he was at the Redskin football game and that his wife Diane, was home alone. The protestors "banged on the doors and windows," and when Diane Moore opened the front door, a member of the group stuck a foot inside and refused to leave, Robert Moore said.
Moore said that members of the group then left, but returned after a television reporter arrived. Then, he said, they returned to repeat the performance for the cameras.
Said Moore of yesterday morning's incident outside his office: "I just told them not to scare my wife like that. I'm going to actively protect my family. They can protest, that's one thing, but you don't come to my house. That's crazy."
Turpin said he and the other members of the group had gone to Moore's office yesterday to confront him. Turpin said he was using an automated bank teller next door when Moore came downstair, recognized him and grabbed him by the collar.
"He asked me if I had been to his house last night," related Turpin, whose pullover shirt was torn at the right shoulder. "I told him that I was there. He said he didn't like that s---. He grabbed me around the neck and then ripped my shirt."
Other members of the group who said they witnessed that confrontation also reported that Moore had accosted Turpin. Interviewed less than a half hour after the incident, Moore was applying a bandage to a bleeding thumb.
Members of the group said they had asked Moore to meet with them on several occasions, but that he had declined. Moore responsed that he had assigned staff members to look into the group's complaints, and has had schedule conflicts on meeting days suggested by the group.