Hine Coalition Attorney Appeals to Mayor on DMPED’s Failure to Release Documents
by Larry Janezich
Last Thursday, Oliver Hall, attorney for the Hine Coalition of residents who are appealing the Zoning Commission’s approval of the Hine project, submitted two filings on behalf of his clients.
The first is an appeal directly to the Mayor regarding the denial of the office of Deputy Mayor for Economic Development (DMPED) of Hall’s FOIA request for documents related to the Hine project. The filing objects to the failure of DMPED to produce public documents in response to a FOIA request in three instances: first, its failure to make public contracts available on its website; second, its failure to produce responsive documents; and third, its redaction of portions of public contracts. All three, the filing says, are violations of DC code. The letter requests relief from all three and suggests prosecution for any party found to have committed and “arbitrary and capricious violations of the [FOIA].”
The second filing is a letter to the DC Court of Appeals, submitted along with one of the documents Hall was able to obtain from DMPED – a copy of the lease agreement between DMPED and the Hine developers. The filing states that the lease contradicts information in the Zoning Commission order approving the Hine PUD, specifically that the commission found that SEB would provide public benefits in support of the PUD application including a child care center and financial donations for a playground and the improvement of Eastern Market Metro Plaza, totaling $1,870,455. In fact, Hall says, the lease allows SEB to deduct this amount from any payments SEB makes to the city under the terms of the lease, meaning that the taxpayers end up footing the bill.
Another developments regarding Hine includes ANC6B Commissioner Brian Pate’s announcement to the ANC6B Transportation Committee last week that, according to the developer, they do not expect to break ground on the Hine project before March, 2014. The estimate, Pate said, was based on an assumption of a decision rendered in their favor by the US Court of Appeals by the end of this month. Pate said he thought that timing unlikely. Pate went on to say that Stanton East Banc has shown no intention to begin environmental remediation, including asbestos removal, before the litigation is resolved, and that remediation must be completed before demolition can begin.