Mayor Petitioned in FOIA Appeal

March 22, 2013
Contact Robin Diener
[email protected]

Mayor Petitioned in FOIA Appeal

The DC Library Renaissance Project (DCLRP) Wednesday filed an appeal after a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request was denied by the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED)’s FOIA officer.

Denials of FOIA requests are appealed directly to the Mayor, whose office has not yet responded but which has ten days to do so.

DCLRP’s FOIA request was for the Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) in the matter of the “sale” of three pieces of public land in the West End — to be conveyed to a developer, EastBanc LLC, in exchange for construction of a library and firehouse.  A draft LDA was presented to the DC Council but no final version is in the public record.  Also referred to as a “term sheet,” the LDA in this case would outline (among other things) the relationship between the public facilities and private buildings in which the library and firehouse would be located.

DC LRP maintains that the grounds for denial — attorney client privilege — are incorrect. The terms of sale of publicly owned assets should be public information.

Update March 23, 2013
DCLRP lawyer has asked the DC Attorney General to look into whistleblower allegations of document shredding by the Deputy Mayor’s Office for Planning and Economic Development.



FOIA Request Denied for West End Library Agreement

March 14, 2013
Contact Robin Diener
[email protected]

FOIA Request Denied for West End Library Agreement

A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Officer has denied a request by the DC Library Renaissance Project (DCLRP) for a copy of the final land disposition agreement (LDA) between the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) and developer EastBanc, LLC for the controversial West End Parcels deal. An LDA is a contract of sale, often referred to as a term sheet.

When the case was heard recently at the Court of Appeals, Judge Roy L. McNeese’s first question was “Where is the final LDA?” EastBanc’s counsel Deborah Baum confirmed that only a draft agreement was included in the record.

“The terms of a deal conveying valuable public property to a private developer should be public,” said DCLRP attorney Oliver Hall. “The District’s refusal to disclose the LDA, in apparent violation of the District’s open records law, raises serious questions about the propriety of this deal.”

The DC Library Renaissance Project is suing the Zoning Commission (ZC) over its decision to approve a Planned Unit Development (PUD) of three pieces of publicly-owned land in the West End, which the city is conveying to EastBanc in exchange for its construction of a new library and firehouse. Among the points of contention is the improper granting of a waiver of the affordable housing required under the District’s Inclusionary Zoning law.

DCLRP maintains that prime real estate was substantially undervalued and offered as an incentive to build the facilities, which the ZC then failed to take into account when approving the Eastbanc waiver. In addition, according to DCLRP, the new library/firehouse facilities are being paid for by the city through the land transfer and they should not count towards a waiver.

DCLRP filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the finalized LDA document after the Court of Appeals hearing. On Friday that request was formally denied in an email by DMPED’s FOIA Officer Ayesha Abbasi “on the grounds that these documents contain internal discussions and recommendations of a deliberative nature as well as attorney client communications. These documents are exempt pursuant to D.C. Official Code §2-534 (a)(4).”

DCLRP plans to appeal the denial of its FOIA request.

Film Screening & Talk by documentary filmmaker Michelle Jones at MLK

On Monday March 18 at 7 PM

Michelle Jones’ film “Master Builders” showcases the life and projects of pioneering African American architects in Washington DC at the end of the 19th century. Many years in the making, this documentary brings to light an overlooked contribution to architecture in the nation’s capital.  The DC Preservation League website proclaims it  “… truly a history worthy to be shared.”

Executive Producer Michelle Jones, a former archivist at the American Institute of Architects, will be on hand to discuss the film.

Black Studies Center, Room 316
Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Library
901 G Street, NW

Mt. Pleasant Library Friends to hold first book sale in new library


On Saturday April 6, from 10 AM to 3 PM

Volunteers needed for set up Friday afternoon and for the sale itself on Saturday. Even a couple hours would be appreciated.

Book donations accepted through Friday April 5. Drop them off at the front desk of the Mt Pleasant branch when library is open. Please do not put them in the outside book drop.

Join the Friends of Mt. Pleasant Library. Registration forms available at the Library or online