An Alexandria Circuit Court judge agreed yesterday to set aside a four-day jail sentence given to a city landlord for failure to obtain rental permits provided that no additional violations of the city code are reported over the next year, according to the landlord's attorney.
Judge Donald H. Kent's agreement to suspend the jail sentence was part of an out-of-court settlement negotiated between city prosecutors and Lois C. Neebe, a landlord in the city's Del Ray section, according to Neebe's lawyer, Peter Dingman.
Neebe has been the focus of a long-running dispute with city health officials who contended she was renting properties without a permit. Neebe was convicted in General District Court last April of failure to file renewal notices for four homes she owns in the Del Ray area in northern Alexandria.
Judge Daniel F. O'Flaherty sentenced Neebe to four days in jail. Neebe then filed an appeal with the circuit court.
The compromise between the prosecutors office and Neebe was designed to "accommodate" both sides, according to Dingman. Commonwealth's attorney John Kloch could not be reached for comment about the settlement.
Neebe, who admitted as part of the agreement that she did not have the necessary renewal permits, said she is "not pleased at all" with the outcome of the case. "I have been a resident of Alexandria for over 20 years," Neebe said in an interview yesterday. "I have always had a great respect for the law and of those who enforce it. But I feel that this is a most unfortunate and most unfair situation that has been put upon me."
Neebe said that she had filled out the necessary forms for the $8 worth of permit renewals last December, and mailed the forms to the city health department. She said the forms were lost either by the postal service or by the health department. After receiving a summons from the health department, Neebe said she refiled the applications. In the meantime, the commonwealth's attorney's office went ahead with the prosecution, Neebe and her attorney Dingman said.