It was a familiar routine for many Adams Morgan eateries: On June 11, a man walked into the new Starbucks at the corner of 18th Street and Columbia Road NW, flashed a badge, and told the chain coffeehouse that its outdoor cafe violated public-space regulations. For the next four days, Starbucks kept its umbrellas folded and its chairs tucked away. But on Monday, the D.C. Department of Transportation told Starbucks that it had been in compliance all along—and the department says it can’t figure out who issued the citation. “I am not aware of any DDOT inspector making such an allegation,” says associate director Lars Etzkorn. “We’ve asked, and no one has come forward as doing such.” Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Bryan Weaver offers a guess: Either some inspector went too far, “or it was one of our more ingenious political gremlins, who want to mess with [Starbucks] any way they can.” —Jason Cherkis

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