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Media Advisory Oct. 7, 1998
Suit filed to stop illegal convention center taxation
D.C. residents and businesses filed a class-action suit at 3:30 pm today in federal court to recover tens of millions of dollars in taxes that were illegally collected to fund the proposed convention center at Mt. Vernon Square.
The suit is the latest effort by D.C. taxpayers to stop a project they say will drain scarce tax dollars for decades while the billion-dollar project destroys a neighborhood becomes obsolete in just a few years. The class-action plaintiffs say the illegal taxation is just one example of a flawed public process that was slipshod, rushed, and often in violation of laws and procedures.
The essential contention of this lawsuit is that the [convention center] taxing authority expired and that the money taken under claim that these taxes were in effect was, in fact, improperly and unlawfully taken by the Mayor and given to the Washington Convention Center Authority, and should be returned to the citizens whose money was taken, with interest, said Daniel M. Schember, the lead attorney, outside the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse as the suit was filed.
Its a double insult to residents of Shaw, whose money was taken illegally for a project that will devastate and destroy our neighborhood, said Anise Jenkins, the lead plaintiff in the case, who lives in the historic Shaw neighborhood.
Under federal law, the defendants in the case the Washington Convention Center Authority and the D.C. Government have 20 days to answer the complaint, file a motion to dismiss the complaint, or seek a time extension for doing one of those two things.
For more information, contact Beth Solomon (202) 789-7864.
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