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For a school that’s mulled cutting its athletic teams and ditching majors to save money, the University of the District of Columbia has a pretty swanky house for its president. Between 2007 and 2011, the university spent almost $500,000 fixing up the Chevy Chase home—-so much money that the home improvements featured in an internal audit of UDC spending.
Now UDC just has to get its president to live in it. Despite all the money the school put into the well-appointed home, Interim President James E. Lyons Sr. lives downtown, according to UDC Vice President for Institutional Advancement Michael C. Rogers.
There’s a good reason for Lyons, who took over after profligate university president Allen Sessoms was canned in late 2012, to be wary of the residence. Because the house is too far from UDC’s Van Ness campus, living in it could mean Lyons would have to report it as taxable income, according to Rogers.
Normally, LL wouldn’t care where whoever’s trying to fix up UDC lives. If they’re not interested in the house’s $43,370 worth of cabinets and bookcases, that’s up to them.
But while Lyons doesn’t live in the residence, UDC still foots the bill for his housing. A contract that would extend Lyons’ term to August 2015 would give him $5,568 in housing benefits each month. That’s $66,816 a year, on top of his $303,850 annual salary. The contract is set to be reviewed at a D.C. Council hearing on May 30.
It’s unclear what deal the school’s next president will get on his or her housing. UDC will start its search this September, according to Rogers—-nearly two years after Sessoms was ousted. Thanks to the home’s location, any future president living in the residence would risk a hefty tax burden.
Meanwhile, aside from hosting some university events, the Chevy Chase manse sits empty. Rogers says UDC has considered selling the house.
“Will the next president want to stay in the house?” Rogers says. “We don’t know.”
Photo via Google Streetview