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The District is investigating dozens of housing cases that had previously been closed after a fire killed two tenants in mid-August. 

Already, inspectors with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) discovered multiple code violations at a building on 14th Street NW near Rock Creek Park. A police officer flagged dangerous living conditions at the rental, but it’s unclear whether the investigator originally assigned to the case took any action. 

The investigator responsible for the 14th Street NW building also failed to respond to violations at a building on Kennedy Street NW that police say contributed to the death of 40-year-old Fitsum Kebede and 9-year-old Yafet Solomon. (H/t to the Post, who first reported.)  

DCRA Director Ernest Chrappah ordered 67 cases to be reopened and expects to look into even more. Four DCRA employees are already on leave pending investigations into the fatal fire on Kennedy Street NW, according to NBC4.

The scandal intensifies scrutiny over an agency with a troubled past. In September 2018, the Office of the D.C. Auditor dinged DCRA for failing to enforce the housing code “effectively and consistently.” Council Chairman Phil Mendelson has suggested overhauling DCRA by splitting up the agency.   

The scandal also underscores the number of illegal rooming houses in the District. Chrappah says it’s hard to know how many there are, as tenants are unlikely to report for fear of losing housing. And this just goes to show the lack of affordable housing options citywide. Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com)


  • Beware parking tickets. D.C. ticket writers and a new residents’ app have new ways to be watching you. [WCP]

  • Select pharmacies hand out free overdose reversal drug, Naloxone. [DCist]  

  • After four years, Dupont Circle and Farragut North Metro stations finally have cool air flowing. [Curbed]

  • You can get paid and trained to install solar panels in the District. [Post]

  • ICYMI: At least 73 of the 112 murders this year happened in Wards 7 and 8, but there’s no hospital east of the Anacostia River equipped to treat gunshot or stabbing victims. [WCP

LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • Blackface blown over for Gov. Ralph Northam? [WAMU]

  • Mayor Muriel Bowser taps former deputy Lucinda Babers to replace Corbett Price on the Metro board. [Post]

  • D.C. residents divided on the possible release of 1980s drug kingpin Rayful Edmond. [WTOP, OAG]

  • Two D.C. councilmembers rethinking the sports gambling deal. [Post]

YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips? lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • PornBurger’s Mathew Ramsey to open his first D.C. restaurant—Cold Beer—featuring global comfort food. [WCP]

  • Fried chicken restaurant Roaming Rooster is seeing a big bump in business. [Post

  • There’s a right way to bring a baby to a bar. [Eater]

  • Check out this cocktail series celebrating D.C.’s black bartenders. [Washingtonian]

ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall (tips? krandall@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Linda Holmes’ new book is a slow burn read for the last gasps of summer. [WCP]

  • Signature’s Assassins could use a touch-up. [WCP]

  • WAMU is exploring D.C.’s food history through podcasting. [Washingtonian]

  • Stop releasing balloons, y’all. [Post]

SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • At 23-8, the Mystics have clinched their best regular season in franchise history and a double-bye in the WNBA playoffs. [Bullets Forever]

  • Jay Gruden says his team’s offense, carries wise, will “go through” running back Derrius Guice, who is a year removed from tearing his ACL. [NFL.com]

  • Both Sean Doolittle and Ryan Zimmerman are back for the Nationals. [Federal Baseball]

MAKE PLANS, by Emma Sarappo (Love this section? Get the full To Do This Week newsletter here. Tips? esarappo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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