[Mintwood-place] DRAFT---DC Sues Vincent Abell--Unethical Developer
Jim at grahamwone.com
Tue Sep 28 11:47:33 EDT 2010
On Friday, the DC Attorney General brought a complaint in Superior Court under the Consumer Protection Act against Vincent Abell. Mr. Abell is accused of defrauding District homeowners facing foreclosure, including here in Ward 1, as well as other illegal acts in renovating and selling properties.
According to the complaint, Mr. Abell claimed to offer loans to help poor and elderly residents make mortgage payments. Instead, he had homeowners sign documents transferring the homes' titles to him, without their knowledge. The victims ended up losing their homes.
Mr. Abell has a long and sordid history in the District of Columbia. I can research my emails back to early 2004, and that research evidences the sorry career of Vincent Abell. Brown Street (which is mentioned in the AG complaint), Third Street, Sixth Street and Perry Place are but some examples of Ward One problem properties for which Abell is responsible. My first exchange (that I can find) calling for action with and from the DC government attorneys (then called Corporation Counsel) was February 2004! In December 2004, the Washington Post had an investigative series on illegal foreclosure actions by Abell.
There has been some progress already. In June 2010, the Court of Appeals upheld a $3.3 million penalty against Mr. Abell and his Maryland-based company, Modern Management, for a foreclosure scam dating back to 2003. In 2008, he reached a settlement with five DC residents who had lost their homes to him in a similar scheme. The complaint also cites him for misleading consumers into purchasing a defective Ward 1 condominiums.
Well and good. But after a litany of abuses and violations, why hasn't DCRA simply revoked Abell's license to do business in DC? Then let him sue! This guy is notorious and may be continuing to do business in DC. In 2005, I authored the law which revived the then-dormant Consumer Protection Act, instructing the Mayor to place the Office of Consumer Protection within the Basic Business License Office at DCRA. We specifically instructed DCRA to relate consumer protection actions to maintaining a Basic Business License, and this would appear to me to be a perfect case for that action.
The AG Complaint requests that the Court enjoin Abell from further real estate transactions in DC until a bond is posted and other conditions put into place. As this case winds its wait through the court system, why not have DCRA act?
The alleged behavior described in the complaint is unconscionable, and I commend the Attorney General in pursuing this action.
Bests, CM Jim Graham
I typically answer emails before 9 AM on weekdays. If you email me after that, it is likely that you will hear from me the next weekday. If there is a need to communicate prior to that, you may wish to call me. For most effective communication, please use my direct email address: jim at grahamwone.com<mailto:jim at grahamwone.com>
Jim Graham, Councilmember, Ward One, 1350 Pa. Ave., NW, #105, Washington, DC 20004. 202-724-8181; 202-724-8109 (fax).
Chairman, Committee on Public Works and Transportation (including alcohol regulation). Main Committee Number: 202-724-8195. 1350 Pa. Ave., NW, #116, Washington, DC 20004.
Voting Member, Board of Directors, WMATA/Metro.
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