On the 10th of February, notorious “City Parners” slumlord Geoff Griffis received another protest at his Cleveland Park home over his ongoing efforts to force out the tenants of Congress Heights. Geoff Griffis’ partner Sanford Capitol is attempting to duck a court order that the Congress Heights apartments not be sold to anyone other than a developer chosen by the tenants by transferring their interest to him.
One sign carried by several marchers went so far as to protray slumlords as cockroaches facing a boot ready to step on them, that boot being the mobilization of tenants and allies against them. This is at least the third time Congress Heights tenants have had to march on Geoff Griffis’s luxurious home. This time around, a large U-haul truck was parked in front. Perhaps Geoff’s neighbors are sick of his behavior and the protests and issues he brings to the block? Kicking people out of their homes so they can be transformed into luxury housing and offices is about as popular as killing puppies. The latter has long been known for driving residential protests in DC-and in this same part of DC-against investors in vivisector Huntingdon Life Sciences(now known as Envigo after buying Harlan Labs.)
Geoff Griffis and Sanford Capitol are infamous for the use of intentional bad conditions to drive out tenants to buildings can be demolished and luxury housing built in their place. At Congress heights, they want to demolish four apartment buildings so a mixture of luxury condos and office space can be built at the Congress Heights Metro. Gentrification is NOT welcome in Anacostia, and Geoff Griffis is not welcome in DC.
Here is what Justice First has published concerning Geoff Griffis’ behavior:
“Two days after Christmas, on December 27, 2017, real estate developer and slumlord Geoff Griffis cut a back door deal with long-time partner and fellow slumlord Sanford Capital in an attempt to acquire their properties at Congress Heights, via an irregular and possibly illegal land transfer. This attempted transfer is a desperate and last minute move by Griffis to circumvent two Court orders that would have otherwise resulted in either a negotiated agreement with Congress Heights tenants to prevent displacement and jump start the building of 200 units of affordable housing, or, a $2 million payment to the court to be used to repair the property as part of the ongoing receivership action.
“This shameless attempted transfer of property from Sanford Capital to Geoff Griffis also took place during a 60-day period within which the court ordered Sanford Capital to negotiate exclusively with Congress Heights tenants via their chosen non-profit developer, NHT (National Housing Trust). In response to this latest maneuver by Geoff Griffis, Attorney General Karl Racine filed a contempt motion against Griffis in an effort to expose the underhanded nature of this latest displacement tactic.
“To be clear: Griffis’s intent is to stop money from being paid to the court by Sanford Capital (his partner), thus preventing desperately needed repairs that would protect the health and wellbeing of Congress Heights tenants. Moreover, the move is designed to prevent tenants from being able to exercise their rights under the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA), thus depriving them the opportunity to take control of the redevelopment process for themselves.
“This usurping of tenant rights in the midst of an affordable housing crisis prevents tenants from doing exactly what TOPA was designed for, namely, giving the tenants a legal tool to prevent their own displacement, and also, to preserve and expand affordable housing in their own community.”
Geoff Griffis is willing to subject Congress Heights tenants to continued unsafe, unhealthy conditions in order to push forward a luxury development plan at the expense of community interests. However, Congress Heights tenants are in the midst of fighting back. Their legal team, including Arnold & Porter and the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, is actively working to dispute Griffis’s attempts to circumvent TOPA and the receivership.”
Slumlords shown as cockroaches to be stepped on
Marching to Geoff Griffis’ house
Tenants and allies in front of Geoff Griffis’s house