Loose Lips

Vince Gray Wants FBI HQ Deal, Which Would Happen to Benefit Jeff Thompson

Man, this is rich.

Mayor Vince Gray wants the FBI to move its headquarters from Pennsylvania Avenue NW to Poplar Point SE, according to the Washington Post.

Who happens to own a choice piece of land adjacent to where Gray wants the new FBI headquarters to go—a piece of property whose value would surely skyrocket if Gray's plan is successful?

That would be Jeff Thompson, the city contractor and alleged financier of what U.S. Attorney Ron Machen has called an illegal off-the-books "shadow campaign" that helped Gray win election in 2010. The same Thompson whose house and offices were raided by the FBI last year. (Thompson has not been charged with any wrongdoing.)

Thompson's original plan for the property at 632 Howard Road SE was to build a kitchen/catering facility to be used by his associate Monte Brown, but the plan fell through for unknown reasons. Thompson has been trying to sell the property for several months now as part of the downsizing of his local business empire in the wake of the feds getting all up in his business. According to this Remax listing, the Poplar Point parcel is currently priced at $2.5 million, down from the $3.2 million asking price Thompson wanted last year.

The property isn't much to look at now; it's just an abandoned building. But Thompson can demand a high price for the spot because of its prime location, which is right between I-295 and the Frederick Douglass Bridge, and its potential to become a gold mine once Poplar Point is developed.

LL's not so cynical he'd suggest Gray had Thompson in mind when his administration came up with the idea of moving the FBI to Poplar Point—the city's been trying to find something to do with the 110-acre waterfront spot for years. But still, enriching Thompson via the G-men would make for one ironic development deal.

Screenshot from D.C. Council hearing

Comments

  1. #1

    Suitland would be a better choice.

  2. #2

    I'm all for sussing out shenanigans, but everyone agrees that *something* should be done with Poplar Point. That will inevitably benefit whoever owns land near it. What should Gray do, make no plans for Poplar Point until Thompson divests the property?

    That said, moving the FBI to Poplar Point had Bad Idea jeans written all over it.

  3. #3

    Too bad this Thompson thing doesn't have some sex scandal aspect that would really kick things up a notch, eh?

  4. #4

    Yes, DC, under the circumstances Gray shouldn't do or say anything about Thompson's Poplar Point parcel until either Thompson sells it or Machen clears Gray and Thompson.

  5. #5

    HA HA HA HA HA. One city, many punchlines.

  6. #6

    See, this here is prima facie evidence of the trouble with having a sitting mayor and a prominent businessman both the target of an ongoing federal investigation.
    The appearance of conflict is simply unavoidable.

  7. #7

    @truth

    But Thompson's parcel isn't specifically at issue. The proposal would only benefit his property indirectly. It's not like Poplar Point is some obscure tract of land that Gray has no business directing such a large project to. If a good opportunity comes by, it would be irresponsible for the city not to explore it simply because Thompson will indirectly (and probably insignificantly) benefit.

    But as I said, this isn't a good opportunity. If anything, putting the FBI there instead of a well designed mix-use project would probably *hurt* the value of Thompson's property.

    This is just like the 'skins. It's a stupid prestige thing where politicians can't see clearly that benefits don't outweigh the costs (particularly the lost opportunity costs).

    The stupidness of this idea has nothing to do with Thompson.

  8. #8

    I KNOW A GUY WHO KNOWS A GUY WHO KNOWS A GUY WHO KNOWS A GUY.

    REALLY SEWERMAN????
    COME ON SLIM. THOMPSON WOULDN'T BE THE ONLY PERSON TO BENEFIT IF THE F.B.I. SOMEHOW CHOOSES THIS LOCALE?

    DUDE THIS IS PURE GARBAGE.

  9. #9

    Got it, DC. I misread LL's post and thought it involved a proposal that the FBI lease and/or buy Thompson's parcel. My bad.

  10. #10

    Thompson's gonna need all the money he can get as I'm sure his legal bills are onerous and increasing every month!

  11. #11

    The location is ideal...this way Gray won't have far to go when the Feds take Mayor Zombie in...

  12. #12

    Thanks for this!!!

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