Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

RENT COMMISSION IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 14, 1925

CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES,

JOINT SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE
COMMITTEE ON THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,

Washington, D. C. The joint subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 9.30 o'clock a. m., in the room of the

Committee on the District of Columbia, Capitol, Senator L. Heisler Ball presiding.

Present: Senators Ball (chairman), Jones of Washington, and Copeland.

Present also: Representatives Lampert, Hammer, Stalker, and Blanton.

Present also: Edwin C. Brandenburg, attorney, and John A. Petty, secretary, representing the Washington Real Estate Board.

The CHAIRMAN. The two hours which we can sit this morning are to be devoted to those opposed to the proposed rent legislation. I presume that you, Mr. Brandenburg, will have charge of the order in which you want your people to give their testimony?

Mr. BRANDENBURG. Yes.

Representative BLANTON. I do not know who has charge or who is going to present the evidence, but before they begin I want to say to the committee that one of the deputy marshals is here concerning whose action with reference to an eviction there was some testimony the other day. I would like to have him heard at this time. I have not talked with him about his testimony, but I would like to hear his side of the eviction story.

Mr. BRANDENBURG. Mr. Callahan is here and ready to testify.

TESTIMONY OF STEPHEN B. CALLAHAN

are

(The witness was duly sworn by the chairman.) Representative BLANTON. You

deputy United States marshal?

Mr. CALLAHAN. I am chief deputy United States marshal.

Representative BLANTON. There was some evidence here either yesterday or the day before by a lady with reference to an eviction with which you had some connection. Will you just tell exactly what connection there was of your office or yourself officially with that matter?

Mr. CALLAHAN. On Saturday, the 3d day of January, gentlemen of the committee, a lady came into my office at the courthouse and opened an envelope and showed me a letter which she had received from one of my deputies, in which he stated she was to be put out

!

66

[ocr errors]

on the 3d day of January. She wanted to know what time the eviction would take place. I told her that it was sort of a courtesy notice that we sent to tenants notifying them we would have to evict them and that we did not evict people on Saturday. “But I want to be evicted. I don't want this to go over.” ”

Representative BLANTON. She said that?
Mr. CALLAHAN. This is the conversation I am giving you.

Representative BLANTON. I want to know just what you and she both said.

Mr. CALLAHAN. I am giving you the conversation now.
Senator Jones of Washington. What was the lady's name?

Mr. CALLAHAN. She said her name was Mrs. Tschipke. I saw the paper addressed to her, No. 4, the De Soto, and she said she was Mrs. Tschipke. I could not pronounce the name very well and she pronounced it for me. She said, “I want this thing published." I said, Madam, we do not want any publicity in these matters ourselves. We want no write-up. They generally jump on the marshal's office and his deputies. I am going to take the liberty of extending this time myself, but I will first talk to the agent. So I called up the firm of Offutt. She said Mr. Offutt represented Mr. Tribby, who was the owner of the property. The lady in Mr. Offutt's office referred me to Mr. Tribby because Mr. Offutt was out. I called up Mr. Tribby's office, and I got Mr. Paul Tribby on the telephone.

Representative BLANTON. Just tell what happened.
Mr. CALLAHAN. I am giving you the whole story.

Representative BLANTON. I mean as to your getting him on the phone, it is immaterial.

Mr. CALLAHAN. I got him on the phone and asked him to extend the time for three or four days anyhow, until Thursday at least, on account of the weather conditions. He said, “Yes, Mr. Callahan, but we have to get this party out. Her time is out and she won't pay her rent.” I said, "You don't want to put her out now the way the weather is, Mr. Tribby. Let us make it Thursday.” He said, No, now wait a minute. Don't you go any further now. I want this stuff put out on the street because I have already arranged with the newspapers to take a picture and write this matter." I said, “You are

. not going to write my office up. I am going to hold you off on it. " Then I had Mr. Tribby to let her stay until Thursday, all day Thursday, and if she didn't get out I would put her out on Friday. So Wednesday the lady came into my office again.

Representative BLANTON. The lady is in the room.

Mr. CALLAHAN. That [indicating] is the lady. On Wednesday she came back to my office again. She said, “I can't get out, Mr. Callahan, on Thursday: Can't you extend the time?" I said, "I can not do any more for you. I passed my word about it.

You had better move or go some place else and get your stuff out. They insist on us putting you out.”

On Thursday about noontime my deputy who has charge of the division from which this lady came was in my office discussing matters. He comes over every day and reports to me. While he was there a reporter from the Herald wanted to know when we were going to put Mrs. Tschipke out. I said, "I don't know. I guess she has moved.” I said, “ Call up the other office and find

out if those people have moved out.” That was on Friday. I was wrong about it being Thursday. It was at noontime on Friday, He called up and Mr. Tribby said, “No," and_that he wanted possession. I said, “You will have to give Mr. Tribby possession, of his apartment. I said, “Send somebody up there; if you haven't got the regular man get somebody else, but go up there and give possession; otherwise they will come back on the marshal.” That is all I know of the case.

Representative LAMPERT. You are the chief deputy United States marshal of the District of Columbia ?

Mr. CALLAHAN. Yes, sir.

Representative LAMPERT. Do you keep a record of the number of evictions ?

Mr. CALLAHAN. No; I do not keep a record of evictions, but I can give you a list of the number of writs issued. I have been down there 23 years. We do not always evict when we get a writ, you know.

Representative LAMPERT. Are all eviction notices served from the marshal's office?

Mr. CALLAHAN. Yes, sir.

Representative LAMPERT. Have you a record of the eviction notices that have been issued ?

Mr. CALLAHAN. I can give you that from August to December. If I was to undertake to give you all the information, it would take a couple of men maybe 15 or 20 days to get it together. There were 1,509 writs issued in the five months. From August 20 to December 31 there were 1,509.

The CHAIRMAN. Could you compile that up to date, bringing it up to to-day, say?

Mr. CALLAHAN. It would be an enormous lot of work.
The CHAIRMAN. But you have it up to the last of December?
Mr. CALLAHAN. Yes.

The CHAIRMAN. Can you not bring it up to the 14th or 13th of January?

Mr. CALLAHAN. I can give you anything you wish, of course.
The CHAIRMAN. All right; send that information to the committee.

Representative LAMPERT. I think it ought to cover the time from the time when the rent commission, you may say, has been inactive on account of various court decisions.

The CHAIRMAN. What was that date?
Representative LAMPERT. I do not remember the exact date.

Representative BLANTON. I understood you to say or attempt to say that during the last 23 years you had actually evicted--that is, put the property out on the street-only so many cases?

Mr. CALLAHAN. There are figures about that. I have always figured it was about 2 per cent, or not even that. You can say 172

We have a class of people here in Washington who will not pay rent. Through my experience as an officer here I have been a deputy marshal from 1902 to the present time and previous to that I was a constable-I believe there is a class of people here who will not pay rent until they are actually forced. I have gone to houses and said, “Are you going to pay the rent or move?” Some of them would say, “Go ahead and set me out on the street. It

per cent.

street.

will be cheaper to get a wagon after you get the stuff out on the

Representative BLANTON. What per cent of these eviction notices are for nonpayment of rent?

Mr. CALLAHAN. I would say about 142 or 2 per cent. Representative BLANTON. I do not believe you understood me. What per cent of these eviction notices are for nonpayment of rent!

Mr. CALLAHAN. I could not give you that.

Representative BLANTON. The eviction notices state the reason why they are to be evicted ?

Mr. CALLAHAN. Nonpayment of rent.
Representative BLANTON. They all state that?
Mr. CALLAHAN. Yes, sir.

Representative BLANTON. How many of them state nonpayment of rent or some other reason?

Mr. CALLAHAN. I would say about 98 per cent are for nonpayment of rent and 2 per cent are for possession. Ninety-eight per cent are for nonpayment of rent--yes, 9842 or maybe 99 per cent are for nonpayment of rent, and i per cent for possession of the property at the present time.

Representative BLANTON. With reference to the 1,509 eviction notices you have received since August, are you prepared to tell the committee that 98 per cent of them were for nonpayment of rent? Mr. CALLAHAN. I am; yes.

The CHAIRMAN. Ninety-eight per cent of them were for nonpayment of rent?

Mr. CALLAHAN. Yes.

The CHAIRMAN. Much of the testimony we have thus far heard before the committee has been to the effect that the rents have been advanced; that they have offered or tendered their checks for the rent which they had been paying previously or for the rent that was fixed by the Rent Commission. In a case of that kind, if an eviction notice was served, it would still be for nonpayment of rent, because the landlord had not accepted that amount but insisted on the advance.

Mr. CALLAHAN. That is the fact.
The CHAIRMAN. What percentage of such cases as that are there!

Mr. CALLAHAN. That I could not give you. I could not do it in justice to myself. We would have to go through our records and dig out each and every case separately, and that would be an impossibility, almost. It is impossible for a man to carry those things in his head. All I am giving you now is from my actual experience. It would take me three months, or maybe six months, to get the data you seem to want. We would have to go back and cover all the time from 1914 to the present time, and it would take a large force. We have not the force of men to put to work on that sort of thing.

Senator COPELAND. I think you stated the problem very well, and I would like to repeat it, so as to have it in the record clearly. Suppose the rent has been $50, and then it is raised to $75 and not paid, and eviction takes place; that would be said to be an eviction of nonpayment of rent, would it?

Mr. CALLAHAN. Yes.

« AnteriorContinuar »