A landlord in D.C., who was sued by Attorney General Karl Racine due to claims he failed to maintain his properties, has been jailed for contempt of court.
Mehrdad Valibeigi was ordered by the court to make payments for repairs to a third party. However, he did not follow the order, which landed him in jail on Monday. He will stay in custody until a hearing scheduled for Friday.
According to the complaint filed by Racine’s office in 2018, Valibeigi (aka “Mike Valley”) and his company (The Bennington Corporation) collected rent, but did not provide maintenance for the buildings at three properties in Ward 7.
The company allegedly violated the city’s housing and fire codes by exposing residents to dangerous and unsanitary conditions “including severe vermin infestation, water and mold infiltration, and a complete lack of fire safety systems, which violates the District’s housing and fire codes,” the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) said.
Racine has been pursuing legal battles against landlords for keeping tenants in unsafe environments. This marks the first time a landlord is arrested in these cases.
Racine also sued Valibeigi (along with Tavana Corporation) in 2019 as the owner and manager of Westwood Apartments in Ward 5’s Ivy City neighborhood. Similarly, the landlord is accused of failing to maintain the buildings or make necessary repairs, while receiving rent.