City Desk

City Sues Developer Over Hotel Holdup

LL bets that Ben Jacobs, the principal owner and chief executive of developer JBG, fancies himself a guy who can play hardball. After all, in order to settle a business dispute with Marriott Corp., he filed a lawsuit against the city that's held up the long-awaited convention-center hotel project. That's hardball.

Well, Ben, meet Peter Nickles. He's not so bad at hardball himself.

Yesterday, Nickles filed suit [PDF] against Jacobs and fellow JBG principal Kenneth Finkelstein, plus a trio of corporate entities, alleging that they have illegally interfered in the hotel's construction.

The District is suing "in its common law parens patriae capacity to protect the interests and well-being of the citizens of the District of Columbia." The suit accuses the parties of making "false and frivolous" and "extortionist" challenges to the process in which Marriott was selected to build the hotel in what is termed an "illegal scheme" and a "civil conspiracy."

How's that for hardball?

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
  • Adrian Bent-Me

    Nickles has no idea who he is messing with. These guys are on a different league altogether and the caliber of attornies on their side will shred Nickles to pieces. What's this guy thinking. Stick to covering Fenty's frat boy antics.

  • Downtown rez

    Oh, right. DC should avoid calling BS on JBG screwing with economic development because JBG is too big and scary. Who cares about the convention center hotel or how it impacts city planning, the ability to attract business, fill obligations, or tax revenue?

  • sedcdude

    These here are the REAL CROOKS, CRONIES AND duochebags, but this shit gets reported like gladiator sport but in the cut! These are the BIGGER fish that get a shielding, REAL $$, DEALS and a pass by WCP's coverage of snow fights, donated vehicles adn a politician getting his dick sucked!

    I'm hip and I would like to thank you for showing me how it's done!!

  • Adrian Bent-Me

    Rez- This is a backroom deal done by Evans. JBG and any other developer should be pissed. Imagine how much more competetive it would have been had the City offered in its original RFP what it gave after the a connected developer was awarded. The City deserves the best possible deal from the best possible developer. Nickles is just trying to cover his, Fenty's and Evans' ass now.
    If this was really to the benefit of the Citizens of the District, all the facts and figures should have been disclosed up front.
    Evans's firm, Patton Boggs, did the legal legwork for this deal on behalf of the developers, so if that's how this is helping the City (fattening Evans firm and his own pockets), we're all screwed.

  • Rick Mangus

    It's the old DC SHAKEDOWN!

  • Typical DC BS

    @Adrian Bent-Me, you are 100% correct. This whole hotel development deal will stink to high heaven if all the facts (re: Evans and his law firm's involvement in the original development deal) come out into the open. The legal fees and development fees involved make the money involved in the penny ante Marion Barry earmarks scandal look like peanuts.

    I would put big money on betting that this latest example of DC government "business as usual" will eventually go away once JBG is either: A) Paid off by DC government to drop this whole thing or B) they are included in the development project. Worst case scenario - the whole hotel deal has to start over from scratch, just like the lottery contract fiasco.

  • downtown rez

    Last I had heard it was to be a Marriott Marqui, one of 5 or so in the entire world. Honestly, I couldn't care less but do think the city needs something built there and am fine with taking the shortest line between 2 points. All that other stuff about RFPs and Evans and Patton Boggs goes squarely into the prove it if you can column. If yes, great, if not, well, there's a hotel that needs building.

  • Typical DC BS

    @downtown rez - the problem with taking the shortest line between 2 points in this town is that we have city councilmembers who each have their favorite developers / bankrollers getting deals swung their way because of the backrooom shenanigans.

    Allowing our idiotic city councilmembers (who are among the highest paid in the entire country!) to continue to hold "full-time" jobs while they have "part-time" city council seats invites constant conflicts of interest. Any work that Evans' law firm does on DC city business automatically has the taint of conflict of interest because of his presence on the city council.

    But, of course, this is DC, where the old "you scratch my back, I'll scratch your back" system flourishes.

  • Adrian Bent-Me

    Thanks Typ.
    Rez- It's really a shame that you feel this way. I would prefer something be doing properly than something done expediently. The benefit to DC Residents is definitely being put on the back-burner if this continues as is. I don't think for a second JBG is an entity doing this for the any ethical or moral purposes- it's business for them. But I do think they are doing a great service to we the residents. Think about all the development projects, the cost overruns, the tax breaks, the back-room dealing that surrounded the Baseball Stadium, the actual convention center, the Verizon Center (the Lerner group doesn't pay any taxes on this sucker). This isn't conspiracy theories we're pushing. The WBJ broke the story a few months back (why do you think Mr. Evans recruses himself with regards to hearings for this now after months of being the most vocal advocate of it). Check out this post, scroll down to the email by Peter Tucker:

  • Typical DC BS

    @Adrian Bent-Me, are you in commercial real estate or a real estate attorney? You seem to have a good understanding of the dynamics of these development deals.

  • Downtown rez

    This sort of appearance of potential ethical conflict is unfortunate, however it is also exceedingly common. It bears mentioning that Evans has yet to be accused of anything, probably because any such accusations would be based only upon the sort of tenuous and unsupported inference exhibited by Mr Tucker's letter.
    I'm no Evans fan, and I'm not thrilled with is dual council/of council role, but I see no actual evidence of anything improper here. And while absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, it seems prudent to act on the facts as we know them, not as we imagine they might be.

  • Downtown rez

    Oh, and all that brings me back to what I earlier wrote about <i<the shortest distance between two points.

  • sedcdude


    You fake ass idiots!!

    You have no clue as to who I am and you blog like your "IN" da loop!! LMBAO! I'm in it and don't wanna be, your out and want to be, but don't UNDERSTAND!!!!

    You guys are hilarious and to think you BELIEVE the bullshit you write! All 4 of you have absolutely NO clue! Again ALL CLOSED EYES AREN'T SLEEP and it tickles me to read your bullshit entries and you write them as if it's common knowledge!!!! lmbao!!

    @Adrian Bent-Me, are you in commercial real estate or a real estate attorney? You seem to have a good understanding of the dynamics of these development deals

    A emphatic HELL NO!!! I'd be surprised if he knew what an ETF was or a tax lien certificate, you guys are pathetic.....

    I'm on my way to HR 57 to listen to some jazz, I'll holla!!

    Ricky "Manspunk"
    and can I get a got dayuuum drum roll please........... adrian "wishes da turtle would hit em' from da back" bent me GTFOH!!!!!

  • downtown rez

    have fun.

  • Anonymous, too

    "After all, in order to settle a business dispute with Marriott Corp., he filed a lawsuit against the city..."

    Who sez? That's the phoney-baloney PR being peddled to keep this gargantuan convention hotel pig moving forward.

    "...that's held up the long-awaited convention-center hotel project."

    Long-awaited by the likes of the usual grifters mentioned above, who have their hands in the public till. Jacobs knows this game is on life support, along with DC's finances. The question is whether or not the voters do and if they care?

  • Adrian Bent-Me

    Thanks for the deep insight SEDC, as always. You have nothing good to say so you try to add weight by bashing others. You're proven by your posts that you again have no fucking idea about anything. Why don't you enlighten us with some deep insight about how the DC RE game works?

    And who gives a shit about worthless tax liens when we're talking about a project that will cost the City, yes the City, hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Rez- I understand what you're saying but in this City, we have always given the benefit of the doubt to shady politicans even after there hands have been shut in the cookie jar. But I'm surprised that you don't have a problem with even the appearance of a possible conflict of interest between what Evans has done. It might not be illegal but if this was the case, why didn't Evans outright disclose this stuff? I would like for my government and those working for it and for us, to work for us, not themselves.

    Typ- Not an attorney, but have been in RE for the past two decades here in District. We're a town full of attornies, developers, politicians, and crackheads (SEDC- shout out to you). Before, at least there were some separation, but these days, all are one and the same.

  • Typical DC BS

    @sedcdude - what loop are you in? Obviously, you're the one who has no idea how development deals get done in this town.
    Did you open your "Real Estate for Dummies" book in order to throw out the terms "ETF" and "tax lien certificate", or are they just words you picked up while holding the door open at One Judiciary Square so you could sleep somewhere warm?

  • sedcdude

    @ Typical DC BS

    actually it was upon my flight from Dubai to Amsterdam that I "eavesdropped" those terms from several "bizness" peeps!

    Also, I picked up a few while "dumping" the garbage at the PAPERMILL, WOODMONT CORNER and a few other midlevel developments throughout the city in hopes of APPEARING to know shit that I don't, but I tell you what, I WOULD MUCH RATHER RETAIN AND DEVELOP as opposed to pretend, perpetrate and babble like you IDIOTS, OBVIOUS!!!

    The more you CRACKERS type the more you reveal your ignorance, bigotry and stupidity which is sort of redundant considering YOU'VE EXPOSED THAT MUCH ALREADY so therefor there is no need to continue to label which has already been signed, sealed and delivered!!!

    @ adrian WISHES HE WOULD bend him

    I refuse to enlighten bigots, morons and FRAUDS!! There is a time and a place for everything and WCP blogs are definitely not the place considering the emotional and "selective" journalism practiced here that continues to pacify the likes of Y'ALL, magnify the divide and alienation in this city and increasing character assassination of minority administrators; besides you guys are doing a "bang up" job!


  • sedcdude


    BTW, that flight, which was 1 of 8, was 1st class on EMIRATES, I'll assume it safe to say that it pays to hold doors at one judiciuary square!!

  • downtown rez

    At this point in time it's not about what I have a problem with, it's about whether the convention center (the city, really) is better off having a hotel there or not.

  • Typical DC BS

    The only "bigots, morons and frauds" responding here are you, sedcdude. If you are truly a minority administrator with that attitude, no wonder DC is such a mess.

  • sedcdude


    who said ANYTHING about me being a minority ADMINISTRATOR??

  • Adrian Bent-Me

    Rez- I disagree but respect your position. The City should have funded this project when the actual center was being built rather than now trying to compete against the National Harbour. Instead the stadium was built and we know what a terrific revitalizer/economic booster that has become.

    Typ- It just isn't worth responding to SEDC anymore because frankly the rest of the City stopped responding to SE DC for some time now. He's just trying to play catch-up with us.

    DC needs to be a more transparent City. I'm not, you're not, we're all not, benefitting one bit from this. How often do you benefit from the actual convention center? Maybe take in a car show now and again, but all in all, what has that done for us? Economic benefit because of visitors and trade shows you might think, but how much did this monstrousity cost us? How long is it going to take to recoup the City's investment. Not anytime soon my friends.

  • Anonymous, too

    "How long is it going to take to recoup the City's investment."

    Just like the old convention center--until the 12th of Never. The Council had to engage in some gimmickry to "disappear" the remaining debt still owed on it to tear it down and start the new one.

    The CC is a white elephant that loses money every time it has to host an event, in addition to sucking up $25 milion+ every year in debt service.