City of Washington sells, then demolishes building
UPI News Service, 03/09/2005
A woman who bought an empty apartment house at a tax sale found out the hard way that the city of Washington does not communicate well.
A month after Erika Brown paid the District of Columbia for the building her appraiser called her to tell her it was being demolished, the Washington Post reported.
The problem, apparently, is that the department that condemned the building in 1999 did not record the demolition order, which was only carried out two years later. And the agency responsible for the tax sale did not record the change of ownership, so the demolition notice went to the previous owner.
Brown, who planned to renovate the building into affordable housing, is now in court. She is seeking $2 million in damages, arguing that replacing the building with anything of the same quality would cost almost that much.
The city has offered $150,000, arguing that Brown only paid $85,000.