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have any right to be Members of Congress, because they are the only ones who know these technical points of law; but it is justice that is wanted in legislation; not fine points of intricate law where you trick people.

Representative BLANTON. I want to state to the Senator from Delaware that when this matter is tried on the floor of the House of Representatives and in the Senate, I expect full justice for everybody, and that is the reason I am making a record here. I expect to be fair and I want the Senator to be fair and I want the other members of the committee to be just as fair as I am, and the evidence that I consider material the Senator may not consider material, and vise

He may consider immaterial what I consider material. We have to use our own judgment, and I take it that I am just as much a part of this committee as the Senator is, with just as many rights here.

The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman is just as much a part of this committee as any member, but he states at every hearing that he is opposed to this legislation and that no evidence submitted can convince him, that nobody can convince him of anything else.

Representative BLANTON. Constitutionally-absolutely.

The CHAIRMAN. Whether you are opposed to the form of the legislation now proposed is altogether a different proposition. You state you are opposed to any legislation. A committee that is hearing any proposition preparatory to the enactment of legislation can not do justice to the hearings unless their minds are open. We want to report fair legislation that will do justice to all. I want to protect the real estate people and I want to protect the tenants. I do not know now what form of bill, if any, I shall vote for. My mind is open. But, to have a member of the committee state every time what his views are and then, when a witness sets forth a particular thing that is now in court, to have that member attempt, through his legal knowledge, to confuse the witness, I say, is not leading up to justice.

Representative BLANTON. I state to this committee that I protest against any such action and I submit that the position taken by the chairman of this committee shows just as much bias in favor of the bill as my opposition. I am against it constitutionally and I have not put anything in the way of constructive legislation. I have two bills before this committee that are constructive and that meet the situation and that will grant relief to the tenants of this country: and I do not submit to any such declaration by the chairman of this committee.

The CHAIRMAX. Proceed. Any further questions?

Representative HAMMER. I take it that you did not have money of your own for counsel, or sufficient money to prosecute the case?

Mr. FINK. I did not.
Representative HAMMER. And you did obtain that money?
Mr. FINK. I got a loan of some money.

Representative HAMMER. I hope they will help bear the burden, so you will not have to pay it all back. You have not received contributions?

Mr. Fink. No, sir. (Witness excused.)

Mrs. Brown. I would like to say that the $100 assistance that the Tenants’ League gave in this matter was to pay the court fees which Mr. Fink could not meet at the time.

The CHAIRMAN. I think it is really irrelevant in this matter as to whether I am able to pay the money myself or whether I borrow the money to do it. I think that has very little bearing on the case. I think it is entirely a personal situation when you deal with where a man gets his money: We are not trying him yet for stealing that money. That is not involved in this proposition. We are dealing

. here with a question of rentals. If he can borrow the money to fight his court proceedings with, he has a right to do it. If he can not borrow it, that is his misfortune, but it is irrelevant so far as this proposition is concerned.

Mrs. Brown. Mr. Chairman, may I say in behalf of those present that it is pretty nearly humanly impossible for some of us to refrain from showing appreciation of any particular point, but I am going to ask all those present to try to be absolutely quiet for the rest of this hearing. I think it is only fair.

Representative HAMMER. I am opposed to any demonstrations so far as they relate to any member of the committee.

Representative BLANTON. What is that?

Representative HAMMER. I said I was opposed to any demonstrations, especially against any member of the committee.

Representative BLANTON. Was there any demonstration?

Representative HAMMER. There was a demonstration in favor of Senator Ball and against your argument I thought.

Mrs. Brown. We would like to call next Mr. Maxwell.

Mr. MAXWELL. I would like to say to the committee before I am sworn that perhaps I am speaking out of turn, as I understood you to annonuce that the organized tenants were to be heard. I am not an organization man.

The CHAIRMAN. The organization has called you.

1

TESTIMONY OF MR. FRANK F. MAXWELL

(The witness was sworn by the chairman.)

The CHAIRMAN. Proceed. Make whatever statement you desire to the committee.

Mr. MAXWELL. I would like to say to the committee that it is with considerable reluctance that I come before the committee to-night, as this sort of publicity is not very agreeable to me, but I seem to have been “shoved " into the limelight through the press during the past few days as being one of the tenants to be evicted from the Earlington apartment house. So, I feel it perhaps incumbent upon me to lay certain facts before your committee which I trust will be helpful in your consideration of the problem now before you.

My home is in New Jersey and I have been coming to Washington during the congressional sessions for the past 19 years. Perhaps for the first 10 years I was only in Washington during the congressional sessions, but my work in Washington as a newspaper correspondent and writer, and as secretary to Members of Congress, made it practically compulsory for me for the balance of the period I have stated, 19 years, to remain in Washington practically all the time.

I found it necessary because of my family, to secure an apartment. About eight years ago---yes; more than that; to be accurate, eight years ago last October--I went to live in the Earlington apartment, apartment 402. The Swartzell, Rheem & Hensey Co. at that time was the rental agent. The apartment that I moved into was vacant and it had been vacant for some time. The rental asked was $37.50, and as an inducement

Senator JONES of Washington. What size apartment?

Mr. MAXWELL. It is four rooms, a tiny kitchen, and a bath. The entire apartment can probably be placed within the square occupied by these tables. I can not give the exact dimensions, but it is a small apartment.

As an inducement they offered me a month's rent free. I moved in that apartment and I have lived there ever since, paying my rent promptly on the first day of every month, as the records of the successive rental agents will verify.

We lived peacefully and happily in the ante bellum days in this apartment. In the course of time, the apartment passed from the agency of Swartzell, Rheem & Hensey Co. to that of F. H. Smith & Co. About that time there was a raise of about $5 a month asked, that is, it was increased to $12.50. I am giving you briefly that history, and there are a lot of angles connected with it that I do not want to take up your time with.

This apartment, I might say, was built 15 or 16 years ago by Harry Wardman. During the time of the Swartzell, Rheem & Co. agency, there were some complaints made by the tenants because of the condition of the apartment house, but the agents were very honest about explaining the fiscal limitations of the property and why certain improvements could not be made, including the statement that the property probably had been unwisely purchased and the man who owned it, by the name of Clapp, in New York, was not able to carry it and he was constantly endeavoring to sell it, and they were not at liberty to make any improvements, etc.

It passed into the hands of F. H. Smith & Co., an increase of $5 a month was asked us, which was paid, and about that time the property was purchased by Mr. Will am T. Fitzgerald, a retired patent attorney, as I understand it, and Mr. Fitzgerald endeavored to secure an increase in rent, and, not being satisfied with the responses he received from the tenants, he took it to the Rent Commission and asked for a hearing and a determination.

A hearing was given and at this hearing, upon inquiry by the Rent Commission as to what Mr. Fitzgerald had paid for the property, he refused to state publicly what he had paid, but he told the Rent Commission that he would tell them privately what he had paid. Mr. Sinclair, then the chairman of the Rent commission, told me that Mr. Fitzgerald told him that he paid $179,220 for the property, giving $10,000 cash or its equivalent and other property. Mr. Sinclair told me afterward that he did not think this was true, as his observation led him to believe that the property which he had turned in was not nearly so valuable as he claimed it was. By examining the minutes of the hearing of August 7, 1922, you will find that one of the officers of the Columbia Trust & Title Co. testified that in his opinion he paid approximately $165,000 for the Earlington apartment.

After this hearing they handed down an opinion and my rent was raised to $47.50, which, of course, was paid. This not being satisfactory to Mr. Fitzgerald, he asked for another hearing before the Rent Commission, for a refixing of rental values.

In the meantime Fitzgerald visited the tenants time and time again. He sat in my apartment ten or eleven different evenings, pleading with me to pay an increased rental. I said this to Fitzgerald:

This is purely a business proposition with me. If you will show me by documentary evidence or tell me upon your honor as a gentleman that you are not realizing over 10 per cent net on your investment, I shall be glad to talk with you about an increased rental.

Mr. Fitzgerald said that was perfectly preposterous. He would say, “No; let us not talk about that. All the rest of the people are getting it; don't you think I ought to get it?” That was his argument.

I said, “I can not see my way clear to penalize my family and salary by assisting you to secure 20, 25, or 50 per cent return on your investment.” So the matter was left that way and he went to the Rent Commission and asked for another hearing. That was given on September 11, 13, and 15, 1923. On page 111 of the testimony given at this hearing, you will find that Mr. Grady testified he sold the Earlington to Quinter, Thomas & Co, for $212,500, on the basis of $30,000 cash and subject to the first and second trusts for the balance. On page 139 you will find testimony to the effect that the deed of sale was executed May 2, 1923, with two trusts on the property, one of $180,000 and one of $65,000, the first trust for $180,000 being taken by Mr. Fitzgerald.

On page 170 of this testimony you will find that Mr. Thomas, the secretary of Quinter, Thomas & Co., testified that the Earlington was purchased by his firm for $212,000. On page 173 of his testimony you will further find that Mr. Thomas testified that in connection with the purchase of this property they had never investigated or examined the property.

Of course, you gentlemen can easily imagine anyone spending $212.000 for an article without seeing it. On page 266 Mr. Thomas testified that the second trust on the property was taken by a Miss Kirby, a stenographer in their office.

On page 267 you will find that Mr. Thomas under cross-examination of Mr. Sinclair, the attorney for the tenants, refused to disclose where Miss Kirby secured the money for this second trust. On page 273 you will again find that Mr. Thomas testified that his firm never saw or examined the property when they purchased it.

After these hearings, which occupied three or four days—three days, I think—the Rent Commission made a very careful examination of the property and handed down its determination. In this determination they increased the rental of my apartment to $57.50, making a total increase of 65 per cent over and above what I had paid when I first rented the apartment.

I wonder if Mr. Blanton is interested in this?

Representative BLANTON. I got your point. You had a very disastrous experience with the Rent Commission. They first raised you to $47.50 and then to $57.50.

Mr. MAXWELL. Did I use the word “disastrous?"
Representative BLANTON, No; I used it.

Mr. MAXWELL. When the first determination was handed down by the Rent Commision, they fixed $175,000 as a fair value of the property. In this last determination handed down by the Rent Commission they found that the fair and reasonable value of the whole property was $200,000; that the allowance for maintenance, repairs, taxes, service, and all other expenses connected with the said property, including depreciation and obsolescence, is $12,830 per annum, and that the commission's estimated net return to the owner of said property upon the values fixed by it was 7 per cent.

I want to say right here that the assessed value of the Earlington in 1924 was $154,792, on which a tax of $2,125.08 was paid.

The rental agents or owners, Quinter, Thomas & Co., accepted the determination of the Rent Commission after requesting the Rent Commission to correct this determination. This motion being denied, they accepted the findings of the Rent Commission and accepted the rentals at the values fixed by the Rent Commission up until November 19, 1924, when I received a notice from Quinter, Thomas & Co. to the effect-shall I read this? I do not want to take any more time than is absolutely necessary. It is the pleasure of the committee, not mine.

Representative HAMMER. How long will it take you?

Mr. MAXWELL. It is a letter telling me the rental values had been raised on my apartment, giving the schedule which I have here of the entire apartment house, and my apartment was raised to $75.00

Representative HAMMER. You just give the substance of it.
Mr. MAXWELL (continuing). Or an increase of

The CHAIRMAN. (interposing). You can put it in the record without reading it.

Mr. MAXWELL. Would you care to have the schedule submitted with it, raising my rent to $77.50, an increase of 35 percent over the determination by the Rent Commission or more than 100 per cent over and above what I paid when I first took the apartment?

When I received this letter from Quinter, Thomas & Co., which was on November 9, 1919, on the following day I addressed a letter to them acknowledging receipt of their letter, and stating:

As your letter refers to certain desires on the part of the owner, said owner being anonymously referred to, may I ask who is the present owner of the Earlington?

It will be impossible to consistently reply to your communication without this information, and I should appreciate your prompt advice.

I was never advised. A few days later 22 of the tenants of the Earlington apartment addressed a letter to Quinter, Thomas & Co., advising that it would be impossible to meet their request for this advance in rents. This went along for some little time, when some members of the firm visited the tenants throughout the apartment, and by intimation and coercion and threats that they were to be thrown out

Representative HAMMER (interposing). Have you any evidence of that?

Mr. MAXWELL. Absolutely.
Representative HAMMER. I wish you would bring it in.

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