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Beth Solomon (202) 789-7864
Opponents of the proposed convention center at Mt. Vernon Square have retained the law firm of Gaffney & Schember, PC. to file a class-action law suit against the controversial project. The complaint will be filed on or before October 8, 1998, charging that the Washington Convention Center Authority and the D.C. government illegally collected over millions of dollars in taxes to pay for the proposed convention center.
Over 75 civic groups who oppose the project dismissed the splashy convention center groundbreaking ceremonies as a public relations ploy designed to give the impression that the convention center battle is over "I hope they enjoy the party, because it could be the last hurrah for this project," said Shaw Coalition member Beth Solomon.
Opponents announced a picket line for Friday, Oct. 2 against the $1 million ceremony, which will be paid for by taxpayers. They will convene at the Mt. Vernon metro station at 9 am and march to Carnegie Library after festivities begin.
The class-action complaint states that a review of pertinent District of Columbia laws, judicial precedents, and available fact indicates a substantial basis for concluding that legislation authorizing the collection of several taxes for a new D.C. convention center expired after September27, 1996, resulting in unauthorized taxation of individuals and businesses of over $55 million. The opinion also states that there is a substanial basis for concluding that financing leglislation passed in June by the D.C. Council did not retroactively reauthorize collection of the taxes.
Gaffney & Schember is a firm experienced in class action cases whose attorneys have argued cases successfully before the Supreme Court.
Councilmember David Catania, a staunch opponent of the controversial convention center, will hold another hearing on the controversy Wed., Oct. 7 at 11 am in D.C. Council chamber. His office can be reached at (202) 724-7772.
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