A Relentless D.C. Zoning Activist
Chris Otten calls himself a "civic agent," Washington, D.C. developers have called him an extortionist. If he's an extortionist, he's not a rich one: "A law school dropout who subsists on food stamps and an $800 monthly stipend from Ralph Nader, Otten, 42, touts himself as a "citizen agent" who uses his knowledge of the municipal code to oppose development projects; one builder agreed to pay $2 million to halt his resistance," Paul Schwartzman writes for The Washington Post.
That $2 million didn't go right into Otten's pocket but rather to a non-profit neighborhood organization dedicated to affordable housing and small businesses. But developers complain that Otten's consistent zoning complaints keep market rate and affordable housing from being built.