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
   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 3190 Fairview Park Drive, Suite 100, Falls Church, VA 22042, phone: (703) 533-8660. 

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The Legal Forum is a news service for the Washington area's legal community that also offers job listings and grant writing for eligible nonprofits organizations. If you have questions, or you would like to place an ad, please Contact Us

Letters to the Editor

Legal Briefs

Tunnel Between D.C. and Baltimore
Faces Environmental Challenges

​    Elon Musk’s tunneling company for high-speed trains between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore overcame one regulatory obstacle last week but is facing another one.
    The U.S. Transportation Department announced last week that the Boring Company completed its environmental assessment for the project. A draft of the assessment is available now for public comment until the first week of June.
    The first phase of the project would use autonomous electric vehicles to transport travelers as fast as 150 mph between stations near Union Station in Washington and Camden Yards in Baltimore.
    Eventually, the tunnel could be morphed into a “hyperloop” system for magnetically-levitated trains that travel along the Northeast Corridor at 600 mph. The twin tunnels would be excavated 30 feet under the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.
    Transportation Department officials still are reviewing the hyperloop proposal.
    First, Musk and the Boring Company must address the concerns of landowners and residents along the route about disruptions from construction, noise and increased traffic near the stations.
    If recent history in Los Angeles is an example, courts are likely to intervene.
    Musk withdrew his plans for an underground transit system based in Los Angeles and running under Interstate 405 after community groups sued the city. They said the environmental review process was inadequate.


D.C. in Brief

Media Argues Against Judge's Use
Of Husher During Criminal Trial

​     A group of media and public interest organizations is siding with a criminal defendant in a motion for rehearing after a D.C. Superior Court judge masked jury selection in a 2015 trial by using a “husher” or white noise machine.
     The 18 media organizations argue the judge violated the media’s First Amendment right to a free press and the defendant’s right to a fair and open trial.
     They filed an amicus brief with the court this month that says, “The very purposes of the First Amendment right of access — to allow the public to oversee and understand what is transpiring in the courtroom, and to monitor judges and participants — cannot be achieved if the public cannot hear what is being said. The First Amendment creates a strong presumption of public access to all aspects of criminal trials, including voir dire.”
     In Blades v. United States, Jonathan Blades is charged with multiple felonies after a February 2014 fight and shooting in Northwest Washington, D.C.
     During voir dire, Associate Judge Michael Ryan summoned prospective jurors to the bench to ask them potentially disqualifying questions. He used a husher to allow only Blades, the attorneys and the court reporter to hear the questions and answers.
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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 and
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D.C. Contractor Convicted
But Faces More Trials

     A contractor to the District of Columbia government is facing trial in federal court this summer after being convicted this month in D.C. Superior Court on financial charges that could land him in prison for 23 years.
     Keith Forney, a real estate developer and strip club owner, was found guilty of perjury, corrupt election practices and defrauding the District’s contracting program that gives preference to local businesses, known as Certified Business Enterprises (CBE).
     Most of the charges result from millions of dollars of public construction contracts he won over the years from D.C., Maryland and the federal government. The projects included schools, community centers and the renovation of Eastern Market.
     Other charges are based on his generous campaign donations to several local politicians who were positioned to help win the contracts. Forney allegedly exceeded the campaign donation limits allowed by law.
     In one famous case in 2012, then D.C. Council member Marion Barry was accused of accepting a $2,800 cash gift from Forney at his strip club, called the Stadium Club. The D.C. Council censured Barry afterward.
     D.C. law limits campaign contributions from a single person or business entity to $500 for ward candidates and $1,000 for candidates for city-wide seats.
     Other charges came from Forney’s residency status. Although he is a Maryland resident, he obtained a D.C. driver’s license that he used to register to vote. He also won multi-million dollar contracts with the D.C. government by improperly claiming he lived in the District.
     The 60-year-old faces two more trials in the coming months, one for tax fraud and the other on charges of mail fraud and related financial crimes.

U.S. Court Allows Patents
For Marijuana Formulations

     A federal court ruling last week set a precedent likely to create a storm of new patent business for Washington, D.C. law firms willing to venture into the quickly growing marijuana industry.
     The Tenth Circuit ruled that cannabinoid formulations can be considered the unique handiwork of their developers and not naturally occurring substances.
     The ruling appears to be a first for the marijuana industry at a time it is being legalized nationwide.
     A recent report from Arcview Market Research and its research partner BDS Analytics showed spending on legal cannabis worldwide is expected to reach $57 billion by 2027. Cannabis is the active ingredient that makes the marijuana plant a drug.
     Adult-use for the recreational market will make up 67 percent of the spending while medical uses take up the rest, according to Arcview Market Research.

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D.C. Council Resolution Alleges
Damage from Maryland Traffic Plan

​     A Washington, D.C. Council proposal this week to oppose a plan by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan to build toll lanes on three major highways leading into the District is setting the stage for a major environmental lawsuit.
     A pending D.C. Council resolution urges Hogan to expand public transit rather than roadways.
     The D.C. resolution says wider roadways will only make traffic congestion worse and run up the local government’s bill for maintenance.
     “It also is a setback for our region’s ambitious climate goals,” Council member Brianne K. Nadeau (D-Ward 1) said in a statement. She introduced the resolution.
     “Widening these highways would have direct negative consequences on the District of Columbia,” Nadeau said.
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