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with reference to " Tents on the Ellipse" is and is intended as propaganda to influence the courts in the decisions they will be called upon to make in the next few weeks as to the passing of the emergency period and as to the constitutionality of the Ball Rent Act.

We must be prepared to meet this type of propaganda and must be in a position to give to the courts, the public, and Congress, if necessary the true facts as to the housing situation as it exists to-day. In order to do this we need the hearty cooperation of each property owner in Washington. We need to perfect an organization and supply it with enough money to make monthly surveys of the rental conditions and vacancies. In this manner alone can we overcome the type of propaganda put out by the Rent Commission and the Tenants' League.

In addition to uses in this connection that we might make of the information secured in these rental-condition surveys, such information would be of great value to every property owner, each firm and institution interested in realestate loans, and to the city itself.

This information would furnish a true picture of conditions as they really exist, eliminate the danger of overbuilding and the loss subsequent thereto, and answer many other purposes which will be readily evident to you all.

The Washington Association of Building Owners and Managers has been organized for a little less than two years. At the present time, it is comprised of about 25 members controlling approximately $35,000,000 worth of property. The principal work which this organization has accomplished has been defeating the Lampert bill in Congress last year and holding the extension of the Ball Rent Act down to one year. Members of this organization put in weeks of their time in fighting this battle for you. The organization also employed men to make a survey of the rental conditions over a period of several months last year. The information gathered in this survey, I believe, was the principal thing upon which both lawyers and property owners relied in securing injunctions in the courts on the ground that the emergency period in Washington had passed. This work alone was worth many times the dues paid, but there is in addition to this work a far greater work the organization can undertake and I am going to take the liberty at this time to invite each of the men here to-day who are not already members of this association to become members.

That completes the statement.

Now, the National Association of Building Owners and Managers was originally devoted to office buildings exclusively. In the last four or five years they have taken in apartment house managers and owners. Neither the national association nor the local association was formed with any idea of fighting rent legislation, but that is merely one of the things that we naturally undertake in self protection. The Washington Association was formed at the instance of Col. Gordon Strong, of Chicago, a past president of the national association, who is also an owner of business property on F Street here in Washington. He came down to Washington about two and a half years ago and called in to a luncheon that he gave a considerable number of business men, most of whom were members of the national association, and suggested that we form a local association so as to promote better and more efficient management of our properties.

Our local association is made up about half and half of managers and owners of office buildings and apartment houses, and, of course, the managers and owners of office buildings are not interested in this fight.

The CHAIRMAN. There is no attempt to control rents?

Mr. McKEEVER. Not at all; we never have. We could not if we wanted to, because we are actively in competition with each other. We do undertake to suggest to each other more efficient methods of operating our properties.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you know whether there is any “ black list"?

Mr. McKEEVER. There is none in our organization; I know that. I never heard of any other. We do keep a list of all of our tenants.

The CHAIRMAN. İsn't there a record kept of every tenant by a number, and then if that tenant makes application for a certain place the real estate man will telephone or communicate with your office under that number?

Mr. McKEEVER. We have a list of all of our tenants, and if a tenant applied to me I could, by calling our central office, find out if he had been a tenant of any

of our other members. The CHAIRMAN. That is what I understood. Now, suppose that tenant, merely because of an advance in rent, had made an application to the Rent Commission to fix his rent, would that place him on this list?

Mr. McKEEVER. No; all of our tenants are placed on the list.

The CHAIRMAN. I know they are all placed on it, but then you have certain tenants that are marked good tenants. What I want to know is whether a tenant's applying to the Rent Commission would have the result of having his name placed on the list as undesirable?

Mr. McKEEVER. It would not. The only way the list would operate would be this: If I called up the office of the association and asked about John Doe, tenant, and they found him on the list, they would tell me that he was listed as a tenant of Mr. Snow's. I could then call Mr. Snow and ask for references, as to whether that tenant paid his rent, and ask Mr. Snow any other question that I wanted to ask.

The CHAIRMAN. I understood you had this list, but I also understood that any person who applied to the Rent Commission was discriminated against, notwithstanding the fact he may have been a tenant who took excellent care of the property and in every other way was a first-class tenant. In other words, the mere fact that he made application to the Rent Commission for relief from what he considered to be an unreasonable rent caused his name to be placed on that list and made it very difficult for him to get an apartment.

Mr. McKEEVER. I think your information is in error. The Department of Justice went over our files thoroughly and you can inquire of them as to whether or not that is the situation. I think they will be able to tell you that it is not, and I can tell you that it is not the situation.

The CHAIRMAN. Now, if there are no further property owners, we will allow Mrs. Brown to make a statement in her own behalf.

Representative STALKER. I would like to ask Mr. Low a question.


per cent?

Representative STALKER. As I understood you, you said that on your properties you were making to-day a net return of less than 1

Mr. Low. I said that in connection with the Clifton Terrace appartments that, on the basis of the valuation as fixed, the return on the gross rent schedule would show less than 1 per cent net.

Representative STALKER. That would not apply to your other buildings, then?

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Mr. Low. No, sir.

Representative STALKER. About what gross would you receive on Clifton Terrace?

Mr. Low. Well, now, I am somewhat of an accountant, but when you begin to use terms like “gross” and “net," we might not be on the same ground.

Representative STALKER. That might complicate the situation at any rate, because it depends on the service that you might render.

Representative HAMMER. And it depends on the salaries you might par.

Mr. Low. We do not figure any salaries for ourselves whatsoever.

Representative STALKER. The question that naturally came to my mind was, if you are making less than 1 per cent to-day, and if the Rent Commission were abolished and competition met, could you increase the rent so as to make 8 per cent?

Mr. Low. I hate to be so pessimistic about the real-estate business, but I can not see, from conditions in Washington, how it would be possible to get such a return. The fact is that this city at least and I personally think most cities are in the same predicamentcan not give a proper return on the true values of property to-day as gauged by present costs.

Representative STALKER. You figure that true value to-day is the replacement value?

Mr. Low. Replacement value, minus depreciation. Representative HAMMER. You are making 8 per cent on the cost of your buildings or more, are you not?

Mr. Low. That is a rather hard question to answer, for this reason

Representative HAMMER (interposing). You hestitated awhile ago and did not answer.

Mr. Low. On the same question?
Representative HAMMER. Yes.

Mr. Low. I did not get it, then. I am sorry. If I hesitate it is because I am not very fast at answering questions generally. We have not run the building quite long enough to tell

. You have to run a building a certain length of time to be able to gauge what you can hope to get out of it. For instance, we have not as yet come into the summer season, where ordinarily apartment houses have to take considerable of a licking, so to speak; so we can not tell just what the results will be. We will have difficulty making that figure.

Representative HAMMER. You bought this from Stubblefield. Do you know Stubblefield?

Mr. Low. I know him; I have seen him. Representative HAMMER. There were seven or eight trusts on it when you got it. Felix Lake had something to do with it.

Mr. Low. That statement about seven or eight trusts I can not blame you for repeating.

Representative HAMMER. I have seen the record.
Mr. Low. What record ?

Representative HAMMER. In the register of deed's office in the District of Columbia.

Mr. Low. I know the history of the building throughout. There was never a time when there were seven or eight trusts on that building.

Representative HAMMER. There have been that many in all. There probably have been some paid off and canceled. I have had that verified myself to corroborate a report I had seen on that. That is one thing I had verified.

Mr. Low. Do I understand that at one time

Representative HAMMER (interposing). That is the building that Felix Lake and Stubblefield had. Stubblefield went to Florida when we sent for him to come up here, and Felix Lake did not come at all. There has not been any man who held a mortgage who erer came to any committee to explain why it is that these costs had pyramided. It originally cost $508,000.

Mr. Low. What?

Representative HAMMER. I do not remember. You ought to know.

Mr. Low. I just know what you are driving at. There never was a time in the history of that building when there were five trusts on it.

Representative HAMMER. I do not meant to go into your private business, but you seem to know what it cost and you do not know how many trusts there were.

Mr. Low. At the time we took title, there were two trusts on it.
Representative HAMMER. That were not canceled.
Mr. Low. When we talk about trusts, we mean existing trusts.

Will you permit me to digress? Suppose you go out and purchase a house to-day and you have a trust on it of $3,000 for one year, Next year your trust runs out and you have this one released or canceled and you take a new trust for $3,000 and the following year you do likewise. At the end of the tenth year some investigating committee will come around and tell you you have 10 trusts on your building

Representative HAMMER. I am talking about the trusts that the records here show. I am not talking about Mr. Schirmer's statement or anything of that kind.

Mr. Low. I am not talking about Mr. Schirmer's statement.

Representative HAMMER. Mr. Schirmer made this statement, and we verified it.

Mr. MAYER. I think the building cost one million two hundred and some thousand. Harry Wardman built it, and then they put re. placement values on it that doubled it.

Mr. Low. As I understand it-and, of course, this is hearsaywhen Harry Wardman built that building—and I do not like to talk about a man's financial condition-he got a single trust from some very conservative people for $1,000,000—a single trust. I want to repeat again that there were never at any time five trusts on that building. I say five because I want to make sure that I am certainly safe on that figure. Of course, on a building of that size, throughout its history at one time there might be more trusts than at any other time.

Representative HAMMER. Do you think that Stubblefield was the real owner of the building when you bought it?

Mr. Low. Mr. Stubblefield, as I understand it, is a very wealthy man, and I am absolutely positive.

Representative HAMMER. Felix Lake owned it at one time!
Mr. Low. I understand he did.
Representative HAMMER. Is he a wealthy man?

Mr. Low. I do not know. Mr. Lake is not in the class with Mr. Stubblefield. I believe that Mr. Stubblefield is known in this city as a man of extensive connections.

Representative HAMMER. How much indebtedness was on the building when you bought it?

Representative STALKER. I think it is fair to say this, that if we ask any embarrassing questions

Mr. Low (interposing). As a matter of fact, I want to tell the committee something about Mr. Baskin's attitude. He is willing to tell the committee everything, down to every nickel in the bank, except that there are present here a number of real-estate men and it would not be quite fair to hand out these figures.

Representative HAMMER. All of these things ought to be of record, what he paid for it.

Representative STALKER. I do not think that it is the intention of the committee to embarrass you.

Representative HAMMER. I have no complaint against you if you do not answer it.

Mr. Low. I want you to get my stand. If this committee really feels that any figures of purchase are relevant to this matter, I am sure Mr. Baskin will be perfectly willing to give these figures in confidence to this committee, but I do not think it is fair to have these things aired out in the open for everybody to listen to.

Representative HAMMER. Senator Ball tells me that I am mistaken in that. It may be I am mistaken. There are so many of those things that I may have it mixed with some other.

Mr. Low. There is no secret about these dealings; they are all perfectly straightforward. If you are really interested, we can get the certificate of title from the date the building was bought.

Representative STALKER. When you came in control of that building, did you purchase it or trade property for it?

Mr. Low. That was a combination of buildings on both sides that went in connection with that title.

The CHAIRMAN. There are two tenants here who have requested an opportunity to be heard. We are going to give the tenants onehalf hour to-night, and we are going to give the property owners at least half an hour to-morrow night.


(The witness was sworn by the chairman.)
The CHAIRMAN. You have not any complaint to make?

Mr. MANGAN. I do not know whether it will interest the committee at all, but I only want to lay the facts of my particular case before the committee.

To begin at the beginning, when I first married I rented a twofamily fat, the upstairs flat of 608 Park Road. I paid $17.50.

The CHAIRMAN. What year was that?

Mr. MANGAN. Nineteen hundred and twelve. I was there about a month and a half when the owner came up around the place and

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