I write in regard to “Tax Shelter” (4/29).
While I was pleased to see the Washington City Paper take an interest in an issue that has caused great concern among my neighbors, I was disappointed that the article contained a number of omissions and misstatements of fact and created the misleading impression that I am engaged in some sort of personal dispute with Candyce Martin.
First, it is misleading to state that I am “alleg[ing] that Martin has skimped on her property taxes,” as the article states. As I discussed with reporter Jeff Horwitz when we met, the property-tax issue was brought to my wife’s and my attention by a D.C. municipal employee, who told my wife that the D.C. government was looking into it. Out of interest, I looked at the public records on the subject and noted the apparent discrepancies mentioned in the City Paper article. Thereafter I made inquiries about the investigation but received no further information. However, as I said to Horwitz, I have no idea who, if anyone, made the allegations that initially prompted the D.C. government’s investigation into Martin’s tax affairs. Moreover, I have no personal knowledge regarding Martin’s payment, vel non, of her property taxes, and am not in any position to judge whether the property taxes she has paid are sufficient. That is a matter for the D.C. authorities to weigh, as they are apparently doing.
Second, the article states that “Martin never lived in the Dumbarton Street house, Boyle contends, but it’s also not possible for a person to have two primary residences.” The first part of the sentence is accurate. The second is not. I have no idea whether it is possible for a person to have two “primary residences”—in fact, I am not sure what the phrase means. I believe the relevant provision of the D.C. tax code uses the phrase “principal residence.” While I suspect that a person cannot have two principal residences, that is a legal issue for the D.C. tax authorities to determine.
Third, I am disappointed that the City Paper did not find space to mention the recent Georgetown residents’ meeting, reported in the Georgetown Current, and the neighborhood push for legislation in response to the dumpster outside 3035 Dumbarton. That, of course, is a matter for your judgment. But the omission of that fact—which I mentioned several times to Horwitz—helped paint an inaccurate picture of a personal conflict. In reality, many families have been adversely affected by the more than three-year renovation project, which shows no signs of ending any time in the near future. While my neighbors and I feel that the presence of an enormous, rusted dumpster on the 3000 block of Dumbarton Street for three years reflects a considerable lack of consideration for others, particularly given the complete lack of outreach to affected residents, in no way do I hold feelings of personal animosity toward Martin.