A downtown D.C. resident is packing her bags after she says she spent months getting nowhere with her complaint about drips from a local business's leaky pipes, which were causing damage to her car.
"I really love living downtown," said Eileen Harrington, who added there are factors in addition to her frustrations that prompted her to put her Penn Quarter condo on the market. "But I would say my experience with the D.C. government is that it doesn't support residents downtown."
She's not the only one who has pumped the stress ball after attempting to navigate the District's bureaucracy. A Georgetown resident was reregistering her car this year when she got nailed by the Department of Motor Vehicles for a parking ticket issued in 1979 -- a ticket she said she paid. A Dupont Circle woman said the Office of Administrative Hearings sent her the wrong directions to file an appeal for a fine, and her case was dismissed.
"Every time it seems as though an issue has been put to rest, it comes back," said local business owner Tracey Ellis, who said she has received two liens on her home from the Office of Tax and Revenue for companies she doesn't own.
The office contacted Ellis after The Washington Examiner inquired about her issue.
A spokesman for the tax office said it has received more than 40,000 public inquiries this year and it is "very anxious" to work with anyone who has complaints.
"Sometimes we fall down, yes. But our goal is to always reach perfection," said David Umansky, spokesman for Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi.
Harrington said after failing to get a restaurant to fix its leaky pipes dripping material that left permanent stains on her car parked in the adjacent garage, she turned to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. That was in September 2011, and although the restaurant eventually patched up its pipes, they soon started leaking again and a subsequent inspector did not report any dripping.
Helder Gil, a spokesman for DCRA, said he understood Harrington's frustration, but the law prevents inspectors from issuing citations unless they witness the faulty act. He added that three inspectors have been sent out at the resident's request and a fourth is scheduled for Tuesday.
"It's a difficult situation ... where we can't just assign an inspector to literally wait all day," he said.
Indeed, residents' frustrations aren't necessarily with the people they deal with; it's the system. The Georgetown resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said she was able to meet with a top DMV official.
"She was very nice but said, 'There's nothing we can do -- my hands are tied.' I mean, unless I pulled out proof from 1979 that I had paid it," she said.