Owners, Landlords Subpoenaed
The D.C. Council Committee on Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has voted to subpoena several District building owners and landlords to testify at a hearing Dec. 21 about their use of a little-known city law to evict tenants from their apartments.
Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), chairman of the committee, said he had asked the owners and their agents to testify at two recent committee hearings, but only one came. Graham said he wants to investigate whether the building owners were violating the rights of tenants in 111 units.
The units are in two buildings in Adams Morgan, one near Capitol Hill and one in Shaw.
Graham has questioned the motives of the owners, who are using a law that allows them to vacate buildings for repairs if there are safety concerns for the tenants. In these cases, the owners have said the buildings contain asbestos and lead paint.
They gave the tenants 120 days to move; offered those who immediately signed agreements $500; and promised another $500 after the building was emptied. The tenants, Graham said, were not told that they have an "absolute right" to return to their apartments after the repairs are made. If the repairs are necessary to correct housing code violations, they can return at the same rent, he said.
"We have many questions to ask these people," Graham said. "You can't simply take a law that's designed to protect tenants and use it to clear them out of your building. If that's what happened here, we're going to get some answers."
Officer's Stolen Pickup Found
D.C. police said yesterday that they have recovered a pickup that was stolen from a federal law enforcement officer who was carjacked and shot Friday night.
The officer, whose name was not released, was off duty when he was attacked about 6:30 p.m. while getting gas in the 1300 block of Kenilworth Avenue NE. Police said the officer remained hospitalized yesterday and is expected to recover.
The officer helps provide security for Alphonso Jackson, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Police said they are searching for two juveniles.
2 Die in Pr. George's Shootings
Two men died in Prince George's County shootings Friday night and early yesterday, police said.
Anthony Moore, 23, of the 1100 block of 61st Avenue, was found dead in the passenger seat of a car that crashed in woods in the 2200 block of Landover Road shortly after 2 a.m. yesterday. Police found that Moore and an unidentified friend, who was driving, had been shot. The pair had left a restaurant a short time earlier after an altercation with a group of people, police said.
About 7 p.m. Friday, officers summoned by a report of a shooting found the body of Jose R. Escoto, 23, in the 2300 block of University Boulevard in Hyattsville.
Escoto, of Hyattsville, was pronounced dead at a hospital with a gunshot wound to the upper body, police said.
Tire Smashes Windshield
A women was critically injured while riding in a car on the Capital Beltway in the Bethesda area yesterday after a tire flew off another vehicle and smashed into her car's windshield, authorities said.
The woman, Eloise M. Trilling, 70, was being treated last night at Suburban Hospital after the 2:45 p.m. incident at Old Georgetown Road, said state police and Montgomery County fire and rescue spokesman Pete Piringer.
Kluge Mansion Items for Sale
Billionaire John W. Kluge is placing most of the contents of his Albemarle County mansion up for auction, and the items include lots of furniture and a massive wheeled picnic hamper that was used on hunts at the estate.
Christie's auction house will sell Kluge's American and English furniture, decorative arts and other items in New York on Friday. The 553 items taken from Morven Farm are worth $5.8 million to $8.7 million, experts estimate.
"There's good 18th- and 19th-century American furniture" in the auction, said Melissa Gagen, a furniture expert with Christie's.
The Asprey picnic basket, valued at $20,000 to $30,000, is one of the more unusual items for sale. It was hauled into the woods by a horse or tractor during elaborate hunts at the 7,000-acre estate.
Stored inside, and part of the lot, were mahogany tables and chairs and small wicker hampers holding china, silver and glassware for 16 hunters.
"He was afraid to live in that house because the bedroom was on the ground floor. He was always afraid that somebody -- maybe the Nazis -- would come and take him away."
-- Helen Huzoski, longtime companion of Holocaust survivor Max Lewin. -- C1
Compiled from reports by staff writers Daniel de Vise, Valerie Strauss, Clarence Williams, Martin Weil and Yolanda Woodlee and the Associated Press.