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Owner of Condo Rented by EPA Head Cited for Illegal Rental

The condo has been linked to a prominent Washington lobbyist whose firm represents fossil fuel companies

The owner of the Capitol Hill condo rented by embattled Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt has received a citation this week for not having a proper rental license, a D.C. agency has confirmed.

The condo has been linked to a prominent Washington lobbyist whose firm represents fossil fuel companies, officials said Friday.

The D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) investigated the condo, located at at 223 C St. NE, after an inquiry on social media over the weekend, News4's Mark Segraves reported Thursday night. The agency confirmed that 223 C Street, LLC, which owns the property, didn't have a basic business license to operate a single-family rental, the agency said in a release Thursday.

The infraction carries a potential fine of $2,034.

Pruitt himself was not cited.

The EPA chief paid $50 a night to stay in the condo, a rate significantly lower than advertised rental rates for other Capitol Hill residences, the Associated Press reported. Pruitt stayed there for about six months in 2017.

Friday morning, a Reddit user shared an image of a satirical poster bearing an image of Pruitt and the words, "Luxury condo on Capitol Hill $50 a night!!! Live luxuriously for cheap - just like Scott! Call now!" The user said the posters are "all over Capital [sic] Hill."

Three units in the building belong to a corporation co-owned by Vicki Hart, the wife of J. Steven Hart, the chairman and CEO of the powerhouse lobbying firm Williams and Jensen PLLC, according to records, the Associated Press reported. The firm's clients include Exxon Mobil Corp. and liquefied natural gas exporter Cheniere Energy Inc.

The firm also represents OGE Energy Corp., an electricity company serving Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Copies of Pruitt's daily calendar obtained by the AP through a public records request show that Pruitt met in his EPA office with two top OGE executives and a registered lobbyist from Hart's firm in March 2017, when he was living at the condo.

In October, EPA announced it would rewrite the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era regulation that sought to limit planet-warming carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants like those operated by OGE, which paid Hart's firm $400,000 in lobbying fees in 2017.

Illegal apartments in D.C. and cities across the country often go unnoticed, NBC Washington previously reported. Earlier this week, the families of two young people killed when a fire broke out in an illegal apartment won a $15.2 million wrongful death lawsuit.

Requests for comment from both J. Steven Hart and Vicki Hart were not immediately returned.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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