Loose Lips

Thompson Sued Over Property Deal

D.C. political donor and Medicaid contractor Jeff Thompson has another legal problem to add to his list—a lawsuit over a Capitol Hill property he owns that currently houses a hair salon.

Thompson, as readers of this blog are well aware, had his home and offices raided by federal authorities earlier this month and is at the center of a wide-reaching probe that's filled with loaded terms like "straw donors" and "shadow campaigns."

But just before the raid, Thompson was sued in D.C. Superior Court over a real estate deal gone south. City records show that Thompson is the sole owner of 300 15th St. SE on Capitol Hill, currently the home to Ian's Hair Studio. Both Thompson and studio owner Ian Thorne are being sued by attorney Charles Parsons, who says he had a deal with Thompson to buy the hair salon until Thorne interfered and tanked the deal. The property was listed for sale in November 2011 at $700,000, Parsons says. The price dropped dramatically, first going to $500,000 in December, then to $400,000 by February of this year, according to Parson's lawsuit.

Parsons says he negotiated with Thompson, through his Realtor, a sale for $382,500. (Anyone who has looked at buying property in that area can tell you that's a great deal.) But a few days after Thompson agreed to the deal and Parsons had put a $10,000 deposit toward the sale, Thompson's Realtor called Parsons to say the deal was off because Thorne wasn't okay with the price. The agent told Parsons that Thorne and Thompson had a side deal whereby they would split the proceeds of the sale 50-50. Since property records only list Thompson as the property's owner, Parson's says he's scratching his head as to why Thorne would get such a big stake of any sale.

Thorne did not immediately return a call seeking comment, and Thompson hasn't said a word in public since the raid. We'll have to wait and see whether this little mystery gets solved, but for the moment, chalk the lawsuit up as a minor headache for Thompson at pretty inopportune time.

Both the studio and Thorne, by the way, have given $16,600 to Thompson-backed candidates. Almost all the giving fits the pattern of other donations given by the Thompson network—the maximum amount allowed to be given to the same candidates at the same time. D.C. campaign finance records show the hair studio giving $2,000 to the Gray campaign on Aug. 10, 2010, and $2,000 a day later. The maxium amount is $2,000, but LL didn't find any record of the Gray campaign returning the money.

Photo via C-SPAN

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