It’s easier to steal a car in the District than it is to sell one. Just ask Jim Hickey, vice president of Anacostia Chrysler Plymouth (ACP), a family-owned auto dealer. The only car dealership east of the Anacostia River, ACP is closing its doors this month after 40 years of operation in the same location on Good Hope Road just off Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE. Hickey has worked for ACP since it opened in August 1956 and attributes its demise to several years’ worth of declining sales. “When I started out in this business, there were 17 auto dealerships in D.C.,” says Hickey. “After we’re gone, I think there’ll be three left. It’s our understanding that this [dealership] probably would not be replaced by Chrysler.” He’s concerned about how the closing will affect his employees. “I’m 75 years old, so there’s Social Security and retirement for me. But we’ve got young people working here, and I don’t know what they’re going to do now.” As for the impact on Anacostia’s auto needs, Hickey says, “You’ll still be able to drive a few miles and buy a Chrysler.” A few miles, that is, beyond the District line.
Touché Washington’s legendary French chef Jean-Louis Palladin may have packed in his pots for good in mid-June, but his spat with the Watergate Hotel lives on. The Watergate’s second-biggest claim to fame, Palladin ended his 17-year relationship with the hotel after new owners decided to get out of the restaurant biz this year. According to the Washington Post, the hotel never netted more than $50,000 from Palladin’s restaurant, where prix fixe meals ran $100 and up. Palladin’s lawyer, David Branson, says the new owners wanted Palladin to purchase the restaurant rather than work as a Watergate employee. The deal fell through after Palladin refused to buy the notoriously dark ’70s basement spot in the hotel without a few capital improvements; he and the owners signed a contract allowing either side to close the restaurant on seven days’ notice. Two weeks before the scheduled closing—and much to Palladin’s surprise —the owners pulled the plug, leaving loyal customers and staff members in the lurch. Palladin is now suing to recoup $25,000 in forgone revenue. “He had something like 300 reservations he had to cancel. That’s really why we went to court,” says Branson, who says the hotel offered no explanation for the early closing. “Kinda stupid, huh?”
Justice Delayed Over the past week, the D.C. Board of Elections has been frenetically hearing dozens of challenges filed against candidates seeking spots on September’s primary ballot. But the wheels of justice are still too slow for watchdog Sandra Seegars, who has alleged that Ward 8 D.C. Council candidate Paul Simms submitted nominating petitions that contained forged signatures. At a hearing last Friday, the elections board said it will investigate the charges—but not until after the November election. Meanwhile, Simms will stay on the ballot. Leona Agouridis, registrar of voters, explains that the board is just too overwhelmed with the current preparations for the election to adequately investigate possible criminal charges. “We’re all in election overdrive,” says Agouridis, adding that even without the alleged forgeries, “the guy still had enough signatures to be on the ballot.” Seegars is unconsoled. “They just make [the rules] up as they go along,” she gripes.