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United States v. Tedards

April 24, 2007

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
WILLIAM P. TEDARDS, JR. AND YVONNE TEDARDS DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John Garrett Penn United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment [#25] ("Pl.'s Mot."), which "moves for summary judgment" "because there is no genuine issue as to any material fact regarding [its] claim for breach of contract, back rent, and restoration costs." Pl.'s Mot., at 1.*fn1 In response, defendants ("the Tedards") argue that they have "raise[d] genuine issues which require the attention of the trier of fact and preclude summary judgment[,]" and, accordingly, OFM's dispositive Motion "should be denied." Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment [#26] ("Def.'s Memo"), at 7.*fn2

Upon consideration of the Motion, the Opposition, and the entire record, the Court has concluded that OFM's Motion will be denied for the reasons set forth below.

BACKGROUND

OFM brings this action alleging that the Tedards, former tenants of property located at 3410 Garfield Street in Northwest Washington, D.C. ("the Garfield property"), breached a lease agreement by failing to pay rent*fn3 , and violated the Foreign Missions Act of 1982, 22 U.S.C. § 4301 et sec. ("FMA") by unlawfully using the benefits of the Garfield property. Complaint [#1], at ¶¶ 1-2. The Tedards bring a counterclaim alleging that OFM breached the lease by failing to make reasonable repairs to the Garfield property which were required under the lease. Counterclaim [#6], at ¶¶ 1-31.

The lease began on or about June 18, 2002 and extended through May 31, 2005. Lease Agreement, at 1; accord Complaint, at ¶ 20; but see Answer [#2], at ¶ 20 ("Defendants . . . aver that the lease relationship . . . began in April of 1996, when the security deposit of $3,500.00 was made, and ran continuously until July 31, 2004, when the defendants vacated the premises.").*fn4

OFM is the landlord-trustee for the Garfield property. Complaint, at ¶ 4; see Answer, at ¶ 4. OFM took the Garfield property into custody "following the severance of diplomatic ties with Iran in 1980." Complaint, at ¶ 2.

Pursuant to its terms, the Tedards were required to pay $4,900 monthly during the first year of the lease, with the rent to increase during the successive lease years. Id. at ¶ 2; accord Lease Agreement, at 1 ("[T]he Tenant is to pay the sum of $4,900 per month during the first year beginning with the commencement of this Lease."). The parties are in agreement that the Tedards stopped paying rent in January 2004, and did not pay a "late fee equivalent to 5% of the rent payable for such month." Complaint, at ¶ 22; see Answer, at ¶ 20 ("Defendants admit the averments of Paragraph 22.").*fn5

Beginning in October 2002, the Tedards sent OFM a number of letters identifying what they believed to be "necessary repairs" for OFM to make to the Garfield property. See Defendants' Statement of Material Facts, Some of Which Are Undisputed and Some of Which Present a Genuine Issue to Be Determined by the Trier of Fact ("Def.'s Fact Statement"), at 5-6 Regarding these letters, the Tedards specifically state:

[] On October 7, 2002, the tenants notified the OFM of the current necessary repairs, pursuant to the repair provision.

The OFM did not respond to the October 7, 2002, notice and did not undertake most of the noticed structural repairs.

On January 8, 2003, the tenants sent the OFM a second notice, renoticing the structural repairs that had not been addressed and listed new structural repairs that had arisen since the October 7, 2002 letter. The OFM did not respond to this second notice and did not undertake the noticed structural repairs.

Id. When OFM eventually responded, it indicated that it was unable to satisfy the Tedards' repair requests because it lacked "access to [ ] funds" "from which maintenance and repair expenses [would] have been paid." February 5, 2003 Letter from Lynwood M. Dent., Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Foreign Missions, to William P. Tedards, Jr. and Yvonne Tedards.

On January 9, 2004, the Tedards sent OFM another letter stating that they had expended more than $12,000 of their own money in making repairs to the Garfield property. Def.'s Fact Statement, at 7. In an apparent response, OFM sent the Tedards a letter dated June 15, 2004 in which it stated that the Tedards were in default under the lease for failure to pay rent beginning in January 2004. Id. This letter, which OFM delivered to the Tedards by certified mail and fax, was a notice of the rent in default that gave the Tedards ten days to pay the then alleged outstanding balance of $24,345.07. Complaint, at ¶ 25; Answer, at ¶ 25 (admitted). Having not received payment from the Tedards, OFM subsequently mailed them a letter on July 21, 2004 which indicated that their lease would be terminated on August 23, 2004, the ...


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