In late 2004, Palisades residents saw something that looked suspiciously like a stable on neighbor Morton Bender’s property. Sightings of a horse grazing on the Chain Bridge Road NW lot confirmed it, and residents discovered that Bender had neither applied for nor received a permit for a horse barn. They complained to the city, which sent an inspector who photographed the stable and issued a violation. Bender responded by requesting a permit for a “lean-to,” arguing that the building that houses the horses was not technically a horse stable. The lean-to application was rejected, but Bender appealed, and when the inspector didn’t show up for a Sept. 29 hearing, the case was thrown out. In light of the dismissal, says a Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs spokesperson, the city is “redeveloping the case.” “The argument we have is not so much with the horses,” says Alma Gates, an advisory neighborhood commissioner who is leading an appeal of the dismissal, “but that he doesn’t have a permit.” Bender says he considers the matter resolved. “I don’t know what [Gates is] doing,” he says. “She must think she’s Perry Mason or something.”—Ryan Grim