His allegations of defamation, trespassing and unjust bargaining have all been dismissed by a judge. He owes the University more than $36,000 and his bank accounts were frozen. Now, after four of his five complaints against GW have been dismissed, Donald Kreuzer, neighbor to the 729-bed Ivory Tower, is making one last stand.
Since 1973, Kreuzer has lived at a townhouse at 600 23rd St. Since the fall, he, his fianc?e and his pet rabbit have had some new next door neighbors: hundreds of college students living just feet away in quads and doubles, many of which have a bird’s eye view of his three townhouses.
Kreuzer is appealing the decision of District Judge James Boasberg, who dismissed Kreuzer’s lawsuit last year and ordered him to pay GW $36,559.72 in legal fees.
One complaint, for “public and private nuisance” due to excessive garbage and noise, still stands, and will be tried this summer. D.C. court officials have not said whether they will hear Kreuzer’s appeal of the other four complaints.
The judge froze his three bank accounts just before Christmas, after Kreuzer signaled his intention to put the money in escrow until his appeal is heard. The longtime Foggy Bottom resident couldn’t get to most of his money, and successfully petitioned the court to open two of his accounts.
“I just want my day in court,” said Kreuzer, who works as a dentist in the Watergate complex.
Two years ago, as the dorm was being built, GW offered to buy Kreuzer’s three townhouses, but he refused the offer, arguing that he was being offered less than market value for his property.
He also alleges that GW threatened him and tried in every way possible to make him move out. In an April 2004 ruling, Boasberg said he found no evidence to support Kreuzer’s claim.
Kreuzer said the presence of students in the community is having an adverse effect on the character of Foggy Bottom. But that isn’t stopping him from making money off them – he rents one of his houses to students.
“Normal people have mutual respect for a shared environment, and students have a tendency … they express themselves a little bit too freely,” Kreuzer said.
Among other complaints, Kreuzer said people he thinks were GW students vandalized his Porsche. But he still insists that not all students are bad.
“Being around young people is very stimulating. There’s a lot of activity and a lot of life,” Kreuzer, a former University of Pennsylvania professor, said.
Elena Castellanos, a junior who lives in one of his units, said Kreuzer has “a really great sense of humor.” During the first week of this semester, Kreuzer discovered vomit on the sidewalk near his home and taped a sign to the mess that said, “Welcome back GW students.”
Castellanos also said she was pleased with the townhouse Krezuer is renting her, particularly because “it’s cheaper than GW housing.”
As Kreuzer sees it, his fight is with the University, not students. “(University President Stephen Joel) Trachtenberg measures the quality of the University by concrete,” Kreuzer said.
The court froze Kreuzer’s bank accounts late last year because he had not paid GW’s legal fees. Kreuzer said he was going to put the money he owed the University in an escrow account that gets awarded to the winner of an appeal, but he said GW acted too quickly.
“They didn’t have to do that,” he said.
Kreuzer also alleged that GW tried to trick him again by offering to let him pay the legal fees to a charity so that he could deduct it from his taxes. He said he would have been audited if he had followed GW’s advice.
Linda Schutjer, GW’s counsel in the Kreuzer dispute, said she told him that the money would be given to the School Without Walls, a charter school on campus, and that the decision to freeze his accounts was made “in consultation with outside counsel.”
Elizabeth Eliot, a former chair of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, a group that makes zoning recommendations, said Kreuzer is being mistreated.
“What the University did in regard to his property … it was just kind of shocking to me that the city allowed the University to behave like this,” Eliot said.
Kreuzer agreed with Eliot that GW’s expansion in Foggy Bottom is due to the city government’s neglect. He said city officials have declined to enforce agreements that limit the University’s acquisition of off-campus properties.
“When (the University) has the ability to grow and grow on its own,” Krezuer said, “then it’s like a cancer.”
-Micahel Barnett contributed to this report.