Jack’s Boathouse Takes Park Service, D.C. to Court
The lawyer for Georgetown waterfront institution Jack's Boathouse has just filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking a ruling against and injunctive relief from eviction efforts by the National Park Service, as well as damages.
The complaint, on behalf of Jack's Canoes and Kayaks LLC, names as defendants NPS, the National Park Foundation (which technically administers the lease for Jack's), and the District of Columbia. "This action," it begins, "seeks to protect Jack's LLC and its business known as Jack's Boathouse from destruction by the National Park Service ('NPS') and the National Park Foundation ('NPF')—two parties that erroneously believe that they were assigned power to do so by the District of Columbia."
The broad complaint asks for injunctive relief from NPS' decision in its request for qualifications issued earlier this month to terminate the lease for Jack's, and seeks to prevent NPS and NPF from interfering with Jack's in any form until the case is decided. It also seeks declaratory judgment that the land on which Jack's operates was never officially transferred to NPS or NPF, or that if it was transferred, it reverted back to the District, and additionally that NPS and NPF lack the authority to issue a new concession for the property.
The legal reasoning behind the complaint is complex and a matter of dispute, but Jack's lawyer Charles Camp is basically arguing that the 1985 D.C. Council resolution that transferred jurisdiction to NPS contained a provision for reversion that he believes was met, and that regardless, the terms of the legislation and a subsequent clarifying letter allow NPS/NPF only to administer and maintain leases on the property, and not to replace one tenant with another.
"Finally," the complaint continues, "this action seeks damages from the NPF for negligently and/or intentionally conspiring with the NPS to interfere with and destroy Jack's LLC's much beloved Jack's Boathouse business."
NPS hopes to issue a new concession by the end of February, with the concessionaire operating by the time boating season begins. At this point, that looks like wishful thinking.