Troubles for D.C.'s Building Repair Program

A Washington D.C. project to clean up and repair dilapidated buildings in the city is coming under scrutiny for shoddy work and millions of dollars in public money that are virtually unaccounted for.
August 15, 2008, 5am PDT | Nate Berg
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"The project was among hundreds of repair jobs subsidized in recent years by a $30 million fund established to rid the District of dangerous, dilapidated properties."

"As tenants across the city complain of squalid conditions, the DCRA is struggling to account for the millions it has spent."

"Records show the agency has repeatedly directed jobs to small home-improvement contractors without business licenses, in some cases for costly projects at empty buildings. Years later, haphazard oversight and record-keeping at the DCRA make it difficult to track what projects were ordered, whether the city paid a fair price, or how much work was done."

"The fund is a crucial piece of the city's efforts to protect renters in rotting buildings. Because of a thriving real estate market, landlords in the past four years emptied hundreds of rent-controlled apartments, then made millions of dollars by converting the apartments to condominiums. Some landlords forced renters out by refusing to make repairs; city inspectors have chronicled more than 3,000 housing-code violations, including leaks, broken stoves and toilets, cracked walls and no electricity, at newly vacant buildings."

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Published on Thursday, August 14, 2008 in The Washington Post
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