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D.C. Prosecutors Drop Demand
For Court Order Against Facebook
By Tom Ramstack, The Legal Forum
Federal prosecutors dropped their request last week that Facebook be banned from alerting customers when the government seeks to search through the information in their online accounts.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a motion to bar Facebook from the notifications during an investigation into violent protests during the inauguration in January of Donald Trump.
Some of the protesters announced their intentions to create havoc during the inauguration ceremony on their Facebook pages. Others boasted about their exploits.
Investigators sought a search warrant to look through Facebook’s data records for incriminating evidence on its customers.
Police identified protesters whose accounts they wanted to search through video and photos during the protests, which included smashing storefront windows and damaging cars. More than 200 people were arrested. Many were charged with rioting and property destruction.
Long & Foster Acquires
Smaller Rival Evers & Co.
Long & Foster Real Estate upped its stake in the Washington, D.C., market this month by acquiring its smaller local rival Evers & Co.
After founding the company in 1985, Donna Evers grew it to nearly 100 real estate agents. She will retain a leadership role after the deal closes this fall but will switch to the Long & Foster team.
“We’re excited to take full advantage of all the marketing, training and technology provided by Long & Foster, including its exclusive relationship with Christie’s International Real Estate,” Evers said in a statement.
Evers & Co. is one of the region’s few remaining independent brokers. Technology and real estate industry consolidations are overwhelming the ability of small companies to compete, particularly in marketing their services.
Evers & Co. specializes in traditional and luxury real estate in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Terms of the deal with Long & Foster were not disclosed.
Chantilly-based Long & Foster recently was acquired by HomeServices of America Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary operated by Warren Buffet.
The 50-year-old Long & Foster reported $29 billion in sales volume last year with 11,000 agents across the mid-Atlantic, making it one of the nation’s biggest real estate firms.
Real Estate Prices Hold Back D.C.
For Amazon’s 2nd Headquarters
By Tom Ramstack, The Legal Forum
Real estate prices are the main issue holding back the chances of Washington, D.C., becoming the second headquarters for online retail giant Amazon.com, according to a new industry analysis.
The technology news website Recode compared the labor pools, real estate prices and locations of 22 U.S. cities to examine which one is most likely to host Amazon’s new business center.
Jeff Bezos, the company’s founder and chief executive, announced recently that he was looking for a second headquarters as Amazon continues to expand its operations.
Washington’s highly-educated workforce and prime location make it a top contender, according to Recode.
However, the region’s office real estate prices are the highest among the 22 competing cities, which will hurt its chances by at least a small margin.
Book on Boston Marathon Bombs
Shows Lone Wolf Terrorism Rises
A new book that reports on the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and trial of the convicted killer shows the attack was only an early example of more coming soon.
Boston's Bloody Marathon uses the bombings by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother as an example of the lone wolf terrorism increasingly encouraged by Islamic extremist groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda.
Lone wolves refer to terrorists who plot their attacks alone, usually with no organization to support them and no official links to violent groups. There is almost no way to know their next target until they strike. U.S. intelligence agencies call them perhaps the biggest terrorist threat to the United States and its allies.
Boston's Bloody Marathon, by Tom Ramstack, is available on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.
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Letters to the Editor
D.C. Mayor Proposes Easier Sealing
Of Criminal Records for Residents
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser is proposing legislation to make sealing of criminal records easier for local residents.
Under the proposal, arrests without convictions would automatically be sealed, the wait time for record-sealings would be shortened and some convictions could be reviewed for record sealing.
"We know that when we remove barriers to housing, education and employment for some residents by giving them a clean slate, we are actually building a safer, stronger city for all residents," Bowser said in a statement. "Through this legislation, we will give more individuals, more families and more neighborhoods a fair shot at success."
Criminal records are accessible to employers who work with children, police and courts.
Under current D.C. law, criminal records can be sealed only after the accused persons petition the courts and successfully argue their innocence. The process can take six months to years.
Among the roughly 40,000 people arrested in D.C. each year, only about one-third are prosecuted.
Senate Bill Could Help D.C.
Punish Internet Sex Ads
By Tom Ramstack, The Legal Forum
The Senate is considering a bill to crack down on Internet-based sex trafficking that could help Washington, D.C.’s mayor fulfill her pledge to protect the kinds of children who have been reported missing recently.
Witnesses at a Senate hearing this week said current laws make it too easy for websites to escape responsibility for their wrongdoing by arguing they are acting within their free speech rights.
The result is a rise in children and women being sold for sex through classified ad websites such as Backpage.com, according to lawyers and witnesses from advocacy groups. Seventy-three percent of sex trafficking cases are negotiated through Backpage ads, they said.
Mayor Muriel Bowser joined with local police in March to announce a campaign to protect children from predators after several teenaged girls disappeared. Their families suspect they were recruited into the sex trade through Internet solicitations.
The law being considered in the Senate would expand the authority of local police to prosecute website owners who allow ads soliciting sex to be posted on the Internet.
Big Referral Fees
For Little Work
Do you know someone who wants to sell a home, office or other real estate?
If you do, you could earn thousands of dollars with a quick phone call or e-mail. The Legal Forum pays a base fee of $1,500 for referrals to sellers’ property that sells for at least $200,000. Each $100,000 of value to the property over $200,000 gives the person making the referral an extra $100. A $700,000 dollar property value, for example, would earn a referral fee of $2,000.
Your only obligation is to phone or e-mail Tom Ramstack with the name, address, phone number or e-mail address of the seller. In most cases, it should take no more than 10 minutes of your time.
For more information, click the Real Estate icon on the menu above or contact Tom Ramstack at 240-421-6395 or e-mail email@example.com.
The referral fees are offered to anyone in the District of Columbia but only real estate licensees in other states. However, non-real estate agents can receive credits equal to the referral fee toward the purchase or sale of property in Virginia and Maryland.
The brokerage for the Legal Forum is Fairfax Realty at 3091 Fairview Park Drive, Unit 100, Falls Church, VA 22042, phone: (703) 533-8660.