Protecting the Environment for all Washingtonians

Protecting the Environment for all Washingtonians

Dear Fellow Washingtonians,

Last week, communities around the world gathered to celebrate Earth Day, and at the Office of the Attorney General, we are committed to using every legal tool available to protect the District’s abundant natural resources, fight for environmental justice, and ensure all Washingtonians have access to clean air and water.  

Over the past 10 years, we’ve secured nearly $120 million from bad actors who have polluted our land and natural waterways—including last year’s historic settlement recovering over $57 million from Pepco for contaminating the Anacostia River for decades. And we are working closely with the Department of Energy and Environment to coordinate and implement Anacostia River cleanup efforts and investigate and assess damage to the District’s environmental resources.  

Recently, we announced that a Ward 5 trash transfer facility that had illegally and repeatedly dumped dangerous pollutants into DC waterways would pay financial penalties and reform its environmental protection practices after OAG intervened. Rodgers Brothers Custodial Services, Inc. (“Rodgers Brothers”) and its president, George Rodgers, Jr., discharged pollutants—including petroleum and sediment—into nearby storm water catch basins, contaminating the water and clogging the basins with debris. Petroleum is toxic, and sediment that enters rivers and streams can clog waterways, smother plant and animal habitats, and carry with it other pollutants that harm fish and aquatic species.  

For far too long, generations of Washingtonians have been deprived of full enjoyment of the District’s land and waterways. And while we have made significant progress, there is still much work to be done.

My office will continue doing our part to hold accountable anyone who flouts DC’s environmental protection laws and to work to ensure our environmental resources are safe and accessible for all communities.

With gratitude,  

Brian L. Schwalb  
Attorney General for the District of Columbia

Fighting Against Illegal Worker Misclassification

Tricon Construction, Inc. a framing and drywall installation company, will pay $350,000 to workers and the District after engaging in an illegal misclassification scheme with four of its subcontractors. Under District law, construction workers are presumed to be employees, not independent contractors, and therefore are entitled to receive employee benefits, including paid sick leave and overtime wages. Tricon unlawfully took advantage of its workers, depriving them of the benefits that they are legally entitled to. This settlement helps level the playing field for law-abiding businesses and puts District workers’ hard-earned money back in their pockets, where it belongs.

Testifying on Proposed District Violence Interruption Program Merger

Newsletter Cure the Streets Graphic

I recently testified before the Council’s Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety on the proposed “Safe Neighborhoods Amendment Act of 2024,” where I discussed the proposed merger of the District’s violence interruption programs, including OAG’s Cure the Streets Program (CTS), under a new independent agency. Violence interruption (VI) is critical to improving public safety and reducing gun violence. Last year, when the District saw a historic spike in violent crime, including a 34% increase in gun homicides, neighborhoods with CTS sites had a 2% decrease in gun homicides and a 12% decrease in shootings.   

For OAG to support a merger involving CTS, it is essential that there are assurances that, post-merger, the program will continue to be well-managed, funded, and supported. Read my full testimony here.

Standing up for District Tenants

We announced a settlement of over $1,000,000 with the owner and manager of Mayfair Mansions, a 410-unit affordable housing complex in Ward 7. After residents brought concerns about their housing conditions to OAG’s attention, our office intervened and secured a settlement with the property owners that includes financial compensation for impacted tenants and robust investments in building infrastructure, repairs, and security. All District residents deserve a safe and secure place to call home, and my office will continue to ensure that residents across the District have access to safe and affordable housing.

Holding Tax Evaders Accountable

1000 C Street NE Graphic

The owners of 1000 C St. NE will pay $1,800,000 for evading the District’s tax on vacant properties. Now, the owner and his entity must pay the outstanding property taxes, as well as significant damages, civil penalties, and interest to the District. Vacant and blighted properties reduce the District’s already-tight housing supply and threaten neighborhood safety and quality of life. Absentee owners, in order to reduce their tax bill, must repair these properties and return them to use.

Safeguarding Nonprofit Donors’ Money

Earlier this month, we announced a resolution in our lawsuit against the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the NRA Foundation for misusing nonprofit funds and other violations of the District’s Nonprofit Corporation Act. The NRA Foundation—the charitable arm of the NRA—allowed the NRA to use its nonprofit funds as an unchecked piggy bank with no oversight. Caving to pressure from the NRA, the Foundation diverted millions of dollars to the NRA in grants and risky loans that were repaid only after OAG filed its lawsuit. Nonprofit donors deserve to know that their charitable contributions will be used in accordance with a nonprofit’s stated mission, and this settlement builds on OAG’s longstanding commitment to safeguarding nonprofit donors’ money and ensuring that all nonprofits operating in the District follow the law.

Defending Voting Rights

I co-led a coalition of 19 Attorneys General in defending Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act—a key protection against racial discrimination in elections—against radical challenges raised in a Georgia redistricting lawsuit. We’re urging the Eleventh Circuit to uphold decades of precedent behind Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and ensure that all voters can participate equally in our democracy.    

I also co-led a coalition of eight AGs in defending a crucial provision of Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prevents the disenfranchisement of voters for making insignificant errors on voting paperwork. A panel of the Third Circuit recently ruled that Pennsylvania voters who omitted or wrote an incorrect date on the envelope used to return their absentee ballots could have their votes thrown out, disenfranchising a large swath of voters, and we’re urging the court to re-hear the case.    

My office will continue to protect and expand voting rights by defending the voices of District voters and voters nationwide. The DC June Primary Election is fast approaching. If you are a DC voter, click here for a few important reminders and resources to help you make this upcoming election season go smoothly.

OAG in the Community

ag at tivoli theater event

OAG kicked off the month at the Tivoli Theater’s 100th Anniversary Celebration. The resiliency of this building truly mirrors the resiliency of this community, and it was such a delight to be out in Columbia Heights celebrating this iconic DC landmark. 






We also attended the Dupont Circle Citizens Association Meeting, where I had the opportunity to speak about the various ways that OAG improves public safety, including by holding young people accountable when they break the law and defending the District’s commonsense laws.



DC Emancipation Day—the day that 3,000 enslaved Black Washingtonians were liberated—was this month, and we commemorated the day by marching in the parade, celebrating freedom, and committing to continue the fight for justice for every Washingtonian.

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