Judge dismisses Kreuzer lawsuit

A District judge dismissed the lawsuit last week of a Foggy Bottom resident who claimed the Ivory Tower is being built partially on his property.

The suit’s dismissal, which University officials announced Tuesday, brought an end to a year-long legal battle that threatened to derail construction of GW’s newest residence hall, which is being erected on 23rd and G streets.

Donald Kreuzer, who owns three townhouses on 23rd Street, filed suit against the University in May 2003, saying the hall hovers over his property.

But Judge James Boasberg found no evidence to support Kreuzer’s trespassing charge and granted GW’s request to dismiss the claim, according to District court documents.

The decision, along with multiple 2003 rulings that dismissed other complaints lodged by Kreuzer, has effectively killed the Foggy Bottom resident’s fight against the University.

GW officials lauded Boasberg’s decision, saying it brought an end to a suit they always maintained was baseless. If the judge opted not to dismiss the suit, the University would have been scheduled to appear in court this summer.

“I honestly was not worried,” said Associate General Counsel Linda Schutjer, who handled the case for GW. “I’m actually just surprised it took this long.”

Kreuzer and his lawyer, J. Michael Hannon, could not be reached for comment.

Although officials never thought the suit would delay the Ivory Tower’s August opening, the dismissal assured them that GW will not be facing a lengthy court battle, Schutjer said.

“It certainly eliminates any risk to the University that any lawsuit causes,” she said. “We felt that our position was very strong, but that was our position.”

In addition to the trespassing claim, Kreuzer also alleged that University officials used sneaky and underhanded tactics in an attempt to buy his property and defamed him in public statements.

Kreuzer asked District officials to halt construction of the residence hall while his case was being decided – a motion that was denied in June 2003. The rejection cleared the way for the 729-bed hall’s completion and meant that GW would only incur financial penalties if the judge ruled in Kreuzer’s favor.

“Once that happened, all we were talking about was money damages,” Schutjer said.

Of the seven counts originally filed by Kreuzer, only one – which alleges that the Ivory Tower’s residents will generate excessive garbage and noise – remains.

Schutjer said GW would hopefully assuage Kreuzer’s concerns about student behavior in out-of-court discussions some time in the next few months.

“We would like to somehow kind of negotiate with him where he feels comfortable with the residence hall where it is,” said Schutjer, who was not yet sure how officials would address Kreuzer’s concerns.

Schutjer said the University would also be receptive to buying Kreuzer’s property.

If GW and Kreuzer enter into talks, they will have to overcome the enmity that has characterized their relationship over the last few years. Kreuzer has said that the University tried to strong-arm him into selling his homes, while GW officials have publicly questioned his competence. In a May 2003 interview, President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg said of Kreuzer, “I think he’s inhaling,” and called him a “pest.”

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