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During the recent dust-up between the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and secondhand stores over business licenses, Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham played the role of peacemaker.

Graham said in a press release last week that he’d “obtained … an assurance” from DCRA that it wouldn’t fine second-hand businesses while the city changed its rules on which businesses need a secondhand business license and which do not.

The stores are located in Graham’s ward, so it makes since that he’d get involved. But Graham’s also got another reason to be interested in secondhand business licenses: Until February of this year, he had one of his very own.

Graham’s secondhand business license was for an entity named “Fotofile,” which may or may not be related to his hobby of collecting old photographs (many of which you can see in his council office). LL made multiple attempts to ask Graham about the license, but Graham declined to answer any questions about it.

All Graham would say is that there was no conflict of interest in the fact that he’d once held a secondhand business license and was now advocating for new rules that will benefit some secondhand business owners, including some who currently don’t have the expensive license.

Graham’s financial disclosure statements make no mention of him having any type of outside employment or income, including from any type of sole proprietorship. The license currently costs $651 and is good for two years. Graham’s license expired on February 28, meaning he had it for at least two years, if not longer. Which means Graham forked over good money for a license he apparently didn’t use. If you know why, please let LL know.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery