Residents of the C Street Christian fellowship house will no longer benefit from a loophole that had allowed the house’s owners to avoid paying property taxes.
Previously, the house — despite being home to numerous lawmakers — had been tax exempt, because it was classified as a church. That arrangement had allowed the building’s owner, the secretive international Christian organization The Family, to charge significantly below market rents to its residents. In recent year, Senators John Ensign (R-NV), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Jim DeMint (R-SC), and Reps. Zach Wamp (R-TN), Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Mike Doyle (D-PA) have all reportedly called C Street home.
Natalie Wilson, a spokeswoman for the Office of Tax and Revenue for Washington D.C., told TPMmuckraker that her office inspected the house this summer. “It was determined that portions of it were being rented out for private residential purposes,” she said. As a result, the tax exempt status was partially revoked. Sixty-six percent of the value of the property is now subject to taxation.
According to online records, the total taxable assessment is $1,834,500. The building’s owner last month paid taxes of $1714.70 on the property.
A commenter using the name Vince Treacy, posting on a blog run by George Washington Law professor Jonathan Turley, noted in June that the property enjoyed tax exempt status. In a comment yesterday, he wrote:
Well, at least one complaint just happened to be filed a few months ago, by some anonymous citizen who will remain nameless “”wink, wink,” with the taxpayer hotline at the DC tax office.
The C Street house has lately been the subject of unwanted attention thanks to its role in three GOP sex scandals. Ensign, who reportedly recently moved out of the house, was confronted there last year by his fellow C Streeters, including Coburn, about his affair with a top aide’s wife. South Carolina governor Mark Sanford revealed this summer that he had received counseling from the house’s denizens over his own randy hijinx with his Argentinean mistress. And the wife of former GOP congressman Chip Pickering has alleged in divorce proceedings that the house was the site of “wrongful conduct” between her husband and his girlfriend.
* This post originally reported, based on online records for the city of Washington, D.C., that C Street is owned by Youth With A Mission (YWAM), an international Christian group, and that YWAM is affiliated with The Family. But YWAM official Ron Boehme told TPMmuckraker that the city’s records are inaccurate, and that his group sold the house to The Family in 1989. He also said that YWAM is not affiliated with The Family — though some reports suggest the two groups have close ties.