Our legal appeals were unusual: DC homeowners seldom take complaints of official wrongdoing related to small construction projects to court beyond the DC Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) level.
Ordinary DC residents have difficulty identifiying abuse of authority in permitting in the context of a zoning scheme that isn't particularly user-friendly. In addition, they can seldom afford legal counsel to preserve five-figure projects, and
don't want to take on the hassle and headaches associated with protracted legal battles with a City government known for digging in its heels over petty matters.
In the tree house case, court mediation
failed twice, in 2016 and again in 2018 at OAH and the DC Court of Appeals. Simply put, DDOT was not willing to agree to let our kids fort alone, at least until our girls have grown up enough to tire of playing in it, until this year. We never
asked for damages to settle the case. We filed a complaint in US District Court under the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFFA), only after DDOT rejected mediation at OAH in 2017, although the lead judge had already lined up
The documents below are brimming with black humor for anybody pondering why statehood remains an elusive goal for DC, several decades into the home-grown campaign to achieve it.