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Man, this is rich.
Mayor Vince Gray wants the FBI to move its headquarters from Pennsylvania Avenue NW to Poplar Point SE, according to the Washington Post.
Who happens to own a choice piece of land adjacent to where Gray wants the new FBI headquarters to go—-a piece of property whose value would surely skyrocket if Gray’s plan is successful?
That would be Jeff Thompson, the city contractor and alleged financier of what U.S. Attorney Ron Machen has called an illegal off-the-books “shadow campaign” that helped Gray win election in 2010. The same Thompson whose house and offices were raided by the FBI last year. (Thompson has not been charged with any wrongdoing.)
Thompson’s original plan for the property at 632 Howard Road SE was to build a kitchen/catering facility to be used by his associate Monte Brown, but the plan fell through for unknown reasons. Thompson has been trying to sell the property for several months now as part of the downsizing of his local business empire in the wake of the feds getting all up in his business. According to this Remax listing, the Poplar Point parcel is currently priced at $2.5 million, down from the $3.2 million asking price Thompson wanted last year.
The property isn’t much to look at now; it’s just an abandoned building. But Thompson can demand a high price for the spot because of its prime location, which is right between I-295 and the Frederick Douglass Bridge, and its potential to become a gold mine once Poplar Point is developed.
LL’s not so cynical he’d suggest Gray had Thompson in mind when his administration came up with the idea of moving the FBI to Poplar Point—the city’s been trying to find something to do with the 110-acre waterfront spot for years. But still, enriching Thompson via the G-men would make for one ironic development deal.
Screenshot from D.C. Council hearing