A D.C. Superior Court judge on Friday found Florida-based landlord Ellis J. Parker individually liable for the $1.875 million in abatement fees owed to rehabilitate his former property at 2724 11th Street NW.
The 26-unit rental building, whose deplorable conditions City Paper has covered extensively, went into court-appointed receivership last October, six months after D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine filed a lawsuit against the property’s owners and managers.
The third party receiver will bring the building up to code using money from the owner “in excess of the rents collected” at the property.
Parker’s LLC, Jefferson-11th Street—the registered owner of the property from 2009 to 2017—failed to make the $1.875 million payment by May 7, when it was initially due. While Superior Court judge Florence Pan previously ordered Jefferson-11th Street to fund the receiver’s abatement plan, she had not determined whether Parker could be held personally responsible should his LLC fail to make the payment. Pan’s order, finalized Tuesday, did so, granting the District’s motion to hold Parker individually liable for the fees.
Racine’s lawsuit alleges that the owners and managers of the Columbia Heights property, including Parker and building manager Stan Ford Jr., engaged “in a pattern of neglect dating back many years and forcing tenants to live with long-term infestations of vermin, mold contamination, and a lack of heat, among other issues,” violations that “have allegedly been ignored by landlords despite notice from tenants and District government agencies.”
The District is seeking restitution “sufficient to disgorge the rent amount that were unlawfully charged tenants while the Property was uninhabitable, in violation of the District’s housing code, and was deceptively offered and leased.”
Last May, the then-85-year-old Parker denied the allegations to City Paper, saying he has “never been found guilty of anything,” and has fixed “every single” housing code violation at 2724 11th St. NW and has never been fined for one there.