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Tenants in two buildings operated by convicted slumlord David Nuyen will get a chance to organize and possibly buy the buildings. D.C. Superior Court Judge Gerald Fisher ruled on Jan. 24 that condominium conversions were defective because of failures to post required notices in the Northwest D.C. apartment buildings on Tewksbury Place and Tuckerman Street. Fisher said Nuyen, who at the time was serving a two-year prison sentence for lead-paint violations, made some good-faith efforts through his representatives to notify tenants by mail, but he still failed to comply with local condo conversion laws, which give tenants a first right of refusal to buy the buildings. Fisher reserved his criticism for the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs for failing to hold tenant elections about buying the buildings, even though the department was contacted on behalf of tenants from both buildings. “I don’t know if it was incompetence or something more sinister,” Fisher said. Local nonprofit Bread for the City and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher represented the tenants pro bono. The suit alleged Nuyen still owns the buildings even though he transferred title to his ex-wife and set up straw buyers for some apartment units in illegal condo conversions. Nuyen still faces a criminal case and another lawsuit stemming from scores of housing-code violations in two other Northwest apartment buildings.
Brendan Smith can be contacted at [email protected].

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