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Kameny house sold to private buyer

New owner must abide by historic designation rules



Frank Kameny, gay news, Washington Blade

5020 Cathedral Ave., N.W. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The estate of the late gay rights leader Frank Kameny has sold Kameny’s house at 5020 Cathedral Ave., N.W., for $725,000 without the services of a realtor, according to estate attorney Glen Ackerman.

Ackerman said the settlement for the sale of the house took place May 25. He declined to identify or provide information about the buyer other than that he or she is a private individual who likely plans to live in the house, which is located in the city’s upscale Palisades neighborhood.

In March 2009, the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board designated the house as an historic landmark, marking the first time a gay-related site had been approved for landmark status in the nation’s capital. Shortly after Kameny’s death in October 2011, the U.S. Park Service listed the house on the federal government’s National Register of Historic Places.

The Rainbow History Project, a local LGBT group that submitted the successful application to obtain the landmark designation from the D.C. government, said that beginning in the 1960s, the house became an office and center for carrying out Kameny’s widely recognized role as a local founder and national pioneer of the modern gay rights movement.

“Historians consider him a landmark figure in articulating and achieving gay civil rights in federal employment, criminal law, security clearances cases, and in reversing the medical community’s views on homosexuality,” the Rainbow History Project said in its application for the historic designation.

Mark Meinke, a Rainbow History Project official, and Charles Francis, co-founder of the Kameny Papers Project, which arranged for the purchase of most of Kameny’s historic papers and their donation to the Library of Congress prior to Kameny’s death, had expressed interest in converting Kameny’s house into an LGBT history center or possible museum. Both talked about this prior to Kameny’s death.

But Meinke told the Blade on Monday that no serious effort emerged to move ahead with such a proposal.

“It was more of a pipe dream,” said Meinke.

Under the city’s and federal government’s historic designation, the new owner of the house is prohibited from demolishing it or making major external changes. Under D.C. regulations, some external change could be made upon approval by the city.

Ackerman said the publicity surrounding Kameny’s death and the subsequent tributes and memorial services recognizing him as a nationally acclaimed civil rights leader prompted potential buyers of the house to approach the estate. Ackerman said the house was not listed for sale on normal real estate listing services.

The new owner of the Kameny house, like the owners of all real estate, will be identified in public city records. As of Monday, the sales transaction had not been published in the online site of the D.C. Recorder of Deeds, which keeps real property ownership records.

In his will, Kameny designated Timothy Clark, his friend and housemate of 19 years, as the beneficiary of his house, car, and all other property other than his papers, which he bequeathed to the Library of Congress.

Ackerman said the probate process for the estate has yet to be completed.

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  1. Jay

    May 29, 2012 at 8:58 am

    I feel a little like I have been had. In the last year or so of his death, people put out requests for money to help him, saying that he was in dire need. I gave about a total of $600. Not a great deal. But it was under the illusion that Kameny really needed help. Had the people who made this request told me that people were buying his papers and that his house was worth $725,000. I certainly would not have made the gift, nor would (I think) many others. I am disappointed that Kameny allowed people to do that and that people were willing to prostitute his legacy in that way. I’ll know better to be more skeptical in the future.

    • Steve

      May 29, 2012 at 6:02 pm

      The compassionate don’t generally expect those in need to sell their principal place of residence to meet their other basic needs. As I understand it, the SSI Program — the Federal needs-based assistance program for the aged, blind, and disabled — doesn’t require the sale of one’s principal place of residence, regardless of value. Likewise, there is no requirement to sell one’s personal belongings.

      You were a good person to help Frank when he needed it.

    • NWDC

      May 31, 2012 at 3:14 pm

      The sale of the house now doesn’t mean that Kameny did not need money to live on day-to-day. As I recall from news reports, he didn’t have much cash or insurance to pay health bills and living expenses. The home sale proceeds may be going to his estate now that he is dead, but that didn’t help him while he was alive.

  2. marl meinke

    May 29, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Let me clarify one of Lou’s statements: at the time the house was designated an historic site I was withRainbow History but retired in November 2010.

  3. Jeff

    May 29, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    Too bad Kameny legacy ends up this way.

  4. Dane B. McFadhen

    May 29, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Jay, you gave from your heart. Maybe a few too many valves opened up and let you do a generous thing. I think you did a good thing no matter the outcome.

  5. Steve

    May 29, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Even more disconcerting is that the $725,000 is going to his ex housemate ! instead of to gay charitable organizations. The groups that solicited donations for him are partially to blame. I think these groups should have insisted that he take a reverse mortgage before providing donations. Many of the people who donated have a lower net worth than Kameny.

  6. Mike S.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Frank Kameny, like many seniors, was “house poor.” He had few assets, and a very small Social Security income, due to the sad fact that he was fired from his government job in 1957 and unable to find a job – or a decent paying job – for a good number of years. He made his struggle public, and it became the Gay Rights Movement, but he sacrificed financially. I have read the stories of how he survived some lean times by eating a single can of beans a day, and have also read that he didn’t have enough income over enough years in his working lifetime to qualify for a decent sized Social Security check.

    His house was his one tangible asset, and it wasn’t that well maintained. A year ago, he mentioned that the water heater hadn’t worked for three weeks, and – until someone helped him out by getting a new one – he hadn’t had a hot shower in all that time.

    Old people are like old trees. You don’t move them. And Frank wanted to stay in his home – with all the old picket signs and priceless relics of his struggle – our struggle. He died in his own bed, in his own house, unencumbered, his life’s work finished.

    I also gave to help with his funeral and memorial expenses. I don’t regret one bit doing so. And I don’t regret his decision – in his will – to leave whatever to whomever. The man who spent his lifetime fighting for our dignity deserved that dignity.

    Enough with the fighting over his personal possessions. Enough with the sniping over his will. It’s Pride Week. Let Frank Kameny rest in peace.

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Heather Mizeur congressional campaign raises more than $1M

Former Md. delegate challenging Andy Harris



Heather Mizeur, Delman Coates, Montgomery County, Silver Spring, Maryland, Maryland House of Delegates, Democratic Party, gay news, Washington Blade, momentum
Former Maryland state Del. Heather Mizeur is running for Congress (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Heather Mizeur has raised more than $1 million in her campaign against anti-LGBTQ Republican Congressman Andy Harris in Maryland’s 1st Congressional District.

“No candidate in #MD01 of either party, incumbent or challenger, has ever hit the $1M milestone this early in the election cycle,” Mizeur tweeted on Oct. 6.

The Victory Fund in an Oct. 8 press release said 80 percent of this $1 million came from Maryland-based donors, “a sign the district is ready for new representation.” And Mizeur continues to outpace Harris, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission that say she raised $717,445 for the cycle ending June 30, while Harris raised $425,288.

“Andy Harris has taken every opportunity to attack and vilify trans individuals, trying to score political points with his base at the expense of the safety of some of his constituents,” Mizeur told the Washington Blade.

In 2014 Harris made the Human Rights Campaign’s “Hall of Shame” for proactively working “to undermine existing legal protections and promote anti-LGBT discrimination.”

“In contrast, the LGBTQ community knows me for my record,” Mizeur said. “And knows I’ll always lead with compassion and stand up for civil and human rights. I think the 1st District will respond to my message of respect and understanding.”

Mizeur, who now lives on the Eastern Shore with her wife, served on the Takoma Park City Council. Mizeur was a member of the Maryland House of Delegates for eight years.

In 2014, she launched a long-shot, grassroots campaign for governor where she finished a strong third in the Democratic primary, despite being outraised by better-known opponents.

But Mizeur also said she is aware of the challenges her team faces in taking on a well-entrenched Republican in a solidly conservative district.

The Cook Partisan Voter Index in 2017 rated the district as R +14, meaning the previous two presidential election results in the district skewed 14 percentage points more Republican than the national average.

“We have over $760,000 in the bank, and we’ve outraised him during our time in the race,” Mizeur said. “We’re raising the money we need to go toe-to-toe with Andy Harris next year.”

The Baltimore Sun in February reported Harris was “flush with campaign cash” mostly due to a 2010 redistricting that “packed” the area with Republican voters to increase Democrats’ chances in other district races.

“Yes, Andy Harris has over $1 million in the bank, stockpiled over a decade in office,” Mizeur said. “But in the short time I’ve been in the race, we’ve cut significantly into his cash on hand advantage.”

Harris has represented the 1st Congressional District—which includes Maryland’s Eastern Shore and parts of Baltimore, Carroll and Harford Counties—since 2011 and easily fended off most challenges with at least 60 percent of the vote. These challengers include Mia Mason, a transgender military veteran, who ran against him in 2020.

The 2010 redistricting made Harris’ seat safe enough not only to donate nearly a third of his war chest to conservative groups and candidates, such as U.S. Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), but to openly court controversy himself.

Harris last year openly defended then-President Trump’s discredited efforts to overturn the 2020 election. And in December he signed onto an amicus brief supporting a failed lawsuit contesting the presidential election results.

This year he downplayed the violence of the Jan. 6 insurrection in which numerous police officers were attacked, members of Congress were threatened, and the U.S. Capitol was vandalized.

Mizeur told the Blade that while Harris’ actions regarding the Jan. 6 insurrection were the catalyst for her challenging his seat, she feels the district is changing and he no longer represents their interests.

“Our supporters know he’s been embarrassing Maryland in Congress for far too long, and that some of his actions have shown he’s completely unfit to serve in public office, regardless of ideological views,” Mizeur said. “They want someone who will bring compassionate leadership and innovative thinking back to the first district. And that’s appealing to people across party lines.”

Maryland’s primary election is June 28, 2022, and its general election follows on Nov. 8.

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AU student expelled over arrest in attack on gay Asian man, parents

Patrick Trebat no longer affiliated with university



(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

An American University graduate student who was arrested by D.C. police on Aug. 7 on charges that he assaulted a gay Asian man and the man’s parents while shouting homophobic and anti-Asian slurs “is no longer affiliated with the university and will not be allowed on campus,” according to a report by WTOP News.

In an Oct. 9 broadcast that it updated this week, WTOP said Patrick Trebat, 38, who had been taking a night class at the university’s Kogod School of Business, was banned from returning to the campus.

Charging documents filed in D.C. Superior Court show that Trebat was charged by D.C. police with one count of felony assault, two counts of simple assault and one count of destruction of property for allegedly assaulting and injuring Sean Lai, 30, an out gay man of Chinese ancestry, and his parents on the 3700 block of Fulton Street, N.W., on Aug. 7.

The charging documents say Trebat allegedly began to follow Lai and his parents as they were walking along the street in the city’s Observatory Circle neighborhood near the National Cathedral. According to a statement by a police official from the police district whose officers made the arrest, Trebat punched and kicked the three victims as he stated, “Get out of my country.” The police statement says the family was taken to a hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

A separate police report says Trebat shouted the word “faggots” at the family and shouted, “You are not Americans!”

Based on these allegations, prosecutors classified the assault charges as an anti-Asian bias related crime, but they did not add an anti-gay classification to the charges.

Court records show that Trebat was released two days after his arrest while awaiting trial under the court’s High Intensity Supervision Program, which, among other things, imposed a curfew requiring him to return home by 10 p.m.

An Oct. 8 story in The Eagle, the American University student newspaper, says it learned that Trebat’s attorney filed a motion in court, which the Washington Blade also discovered from court records, asking a judge to extend the curfew deadline from 10 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. so that Trebat could attend at night class at American University.

The motion, which prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office did not oppose and the judge approved, identified Trebat in the public court records as an AU graduate student.

According to the Eagle, representatives of the university’s Asian American and LGBTQ student groups criticized university officials for not alerting students that an AU student charged with an anti-Asian hate crime while hurling homophobic slurs had access to the campus and could pose a danger to students.

“Patrick Trebant is not affiliated with American University and is not allowed on campus,” AU told the Blade on Wednesday in a statement. “While we cannot discuss details of an individual matter, when a student has been arrested, charged, convicted of, or sentenced for a felony crime, the university’s student conduct code provides for an administrative adjudication process. The safety of our students and our community is our priority.”

The Eagle reports that the code of conduct states that the dean of students or their designee can administratively adjudicate a case when a student has been accused of a non-academic offense “where the student has been arrested, charged, convicted of, or sentenced for a felony crime” for certain misconduct. The code of conduct applies in a situation in which a student is arrested for an off-campus allegation.

Court records show Trebat is scheduled to return to court at 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 15 for a felony status hearing before Superior Court Judge Judith Pipe.

Neither Trebat nor his attorney, Brandi Harden, could immediately be reached for comment.

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Two remaining defendants in D.C. trans murder case accept plea bargain

Dee Dee Dodds murdered in Northeast Washington in 2016



Deeniquia Dodds, gay news, Washington Blade
Deeniquia ‘Dee Dee’ Dodds was killed in 2016. (Photo via Facebook)

Two of the four D.C. men who were charged with first-degree murder while armed for the July 4, 2016, shooting death of transgender woman Deeniquia “Dee Dee” Dodds on a Northeast Washington street pleaded guilty on Sept. 30 to a charge of voluntary manslaughter as part of a plea bargain deal offered by prosecutors.

A four-page letter providing details of the plea bargain offer made by prosecutors with the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, which was filed in D.C. Superior Court, states that the agreement accepted by defendants Jolonta Little, 30, and Monte T. Johnson, 25, includes the decision to drop the murder charge in exchange for a guilty plea to a single count of voluntary manslaughter.

It says that in exchange for the guilty plea prosecutors will also drop additional charges originally brought against Little and Johnson, including robbery while armed, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, and unlawful possession of a firearm.

The agreement also includes a promise by prosecutors to ask Superior Court Judge Milton C. Lee, who is presiding over the case, to issue a sentence of eight years in prison for both men.

The letter spelling out the details of the plea deal makes it clear that it will be up to Lee to decide whether to accept the eight-year jail term proposed by prosecutors, and there is no guarantee that Lee will not hand down a sentence with a longer prison term.

It states that under the D.C. criminal code, a conviction on a voluntary manslaughter charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. Attorneys and observers of the D.C. courts have said judges usually agree to a recommended sentence by prosecutors in cases involving a plea bargain agreement.   

The letter describing the terms of the plea agreement in the Johnson and Little cases does not say whether prosecutors will ask Lee to deduct from the proposed eight-year jail sentence the time that the two men have already spent in jail since the time of their arrest. But in most criminal cases, judges agree to provide full credit for time served in jail prior to a conviction and sentencing.

Johnson has been held without bond for just over five years since his September 2016 arrest. Little has been held without bond for four years and eight months since his arrest in February 2017.

The plea bargain deal came two and a half years after a D.C. Superior Court jury became deadlocked and could not reach a verdict on the first-degree murder charges brought against Johnson and Little following a month-long trial, prompting Lee to declare a mistrial on March 6, 2019.

The two other men charged in Dodd’s murder, Shareem Hall, 27, and his brother, Cyheme Hall, 25, accepted a separate plea bargain deal offered by prosecutors shortly before the start of the 2019 trial in which they pled guilty to second-degree murder. Both testified at the trial as government witnesses.

In dramatic testimony, Cyheme Hall told the jury that it was Johnson who fatally shot Dodds in the neck at point black range after she grabbed the barrel of his handgun as Johnson and Hall attempted to rob her on Division Avenue, N.E., near where she lived. Hall testified that the plan among the four men to rob Dodds did not include the intent to kill her.

In his testimony, Hall said that in the early morning hours of July 4, 2016, he and the other three men made plans to commit armed robberies for cash in areas of D.C. where trans women, most of whom were sex workers, congregated. He testified that the four men got into a car driven by Little and searched the streets for victims that they didn’t expect to offer resistance.

D.C. police and the U.S. Attorney’s Office initially designated the murder charges against Johnson and Little as a hate crime based on findings by homicide detectives that the men were targeting trans women for armed robberies. However, during Johnson and Little’s trial, Lee dismissed the hate crime designation on grounds that there was insufficient evidence by prosecutors to support a hate crime designation.

At the request of prosecutors, Lee scheduled a second trial for Johnson and Little following the deadlocked jury in the first trial. But court records show that for reasons not disclosed in the public court docket, the start of the second trial was postponed several times. The most recent postponement was due to restrictions placed on the court related to the COVID pandemic.

As of August, of this year, the court records show, the second murder trial for Johnson and Little was scheduled to begin on Feb. 17, 2022. But the records show that as of Sept. 30 of this year the defense attorneys and prosecutors reached an agreement over the plea bargain deal offered by prosecutors. It was on that day, the court records show, that the two men officially agreed to plead guilty to the lower charge of voluntary manslaughter and waived their right to a trial. The following day, on Oct. 1, Lee accepted the guilty pleas and scheduled the sentencing for Dec. 10.

Meanwhile, Cyheme Hall and Shareem Hall have remained in the D.C. jail since the time of their respective arrests. Court records show they were scheduled to be sentenced by Lee on Dec. 20, 10 days after the sentencing for Johnson and Little.

It couldn’t immediately be determined from the court records whether prosecutors allowed the Hall brothers to also plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter and have dropped the second- degree murder charge to which the two men pled guilty back in 2019 as part of an earlier plea bargain deal.

At the time Johnson and Little’s trial ended with the deadlocked jury in March 2019, LGBTQ activists expressed alarm that the jury’s action appeared to be a repeat occurrence of several previous D.C. cases in which male attackers charged with assaulting and murdering trans women of color were not convicted for those crimes.

“This is a very dangerous move on the part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said Ruby Corado, founder and former executive director of Casa Ruby, the D.C. LGBTQ community services center, in referring to the plea deal.

“We need to be strengthening laws to ensure that the horrible epidemic of violence against LGBTQ people that we currently face ends, and not giving criminals a slap on the hand for committing murders against us,” Corado told the Washington Blade. “This sends a message that our lives don’t matter that much to those who already see us as easy targets; we are now becoming disposable people in the eyes of the law.”

D.C. trans rights advocate Alexis Blackmon, Casa Ruby’s interim executive director, called the plea bargain deal offered to Little and Johnson “very disturbing.” Added Blackmon, “How it’s being read across to me is if we can’t convict you on murder then we’re going to basically slap your wrist.”

Blackmon said she will consult with other local LGBTQ activists to determine whether a representative of the LGBTQ community should request to testify at Little and Johnson’s Dec. 10 sentencing hearing to ask the judge to hand down a sentence greater than eight years.

D.C. Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner and trans advocate Monika Nemeth said she too is troubled over the plea bargain agreement.

“While I am stunned by a plea that reduces the charge from first-degree murder to voluntary manslaughter, I should not be as we are still a society for whom trans people, particularly trans women of color, are not valued and are disposable,” Nemeth said. “I don’t see how you get to voluntary manslaughter when the victims were targeted for being trans. This is not justice.”

William Miller, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said he would make inquires with the office’s prosecutors to obtain a response to a question from the Blade asking for an explanation of why the decision was made to issue the plea bargain offer rather than bring defendants Little and Johnson to trial on the murder charge.

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