Cars parked outside $US12 ($18) million renovation project at Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ D.C. mansion were tagged with at least 564 separate parking tickets costing nearly $US17,000 ($25,407), of which $US5,600 ($8,369) were listed as unpaid in DMV records, WUSA 9 recently reported.
Bezos bought the 27,000 square foot (2,508 square metre) mansion in Kalorama (which used to be the Textile Museum) for $US23 ($34) million in 2016, conveniently close to the Crystal City, Virginia site Amazon later selected for its second headquarters. He promptly dropped another $US12 ($18) million on renovations that expanded it to 34,000 square feet. According to WUSA 9, public documents show that Bezos’ home now has “11 bedrooms, a ballroom, wine cellar, whiskey tasting room, a movie theatre and more than 1,000 light fixtures.”
Public documents show that someone racked up a “staggering $US16,840 ($25,168) worth of parking tickets in the 2200 and 2300 blocks of S Street directly outside of the mansion” between October 2016 and October 2019, according to WUSA 9. Station investigative reporter Eric Flack staked out the residence and observed workers streaming in and out to vehicles with parking tickets, with one electrical design company’s van receiving 14 tickets over a period of three weeks. The tickets were for a number of violations, including ignoring “no parking” signs and stealing other neighbourhood residents’ spots. Others were handed out for parking on crosswalks and on pedestrian pathways, WUSA 9 wrote.
According to WUSA 9, workers said they signed non-disclosure agreements and no neighbours agreed to talk on the record (perhaps in part because while starting a public feud with a neighbour is rarely a good idea, starting a public feud with the richest man in the world could qualify as a worse one). Ben Wofford, a writer for the Washingtonian who has covered the Bezos purchase and its various delays, told the station that amid a recent party at the mansion the site looked like a “Red Cross relief zone,” with “trucks idling, cars moving in and out, people hurling boxes like they were putting out a fire on the prairie.” Per the Washingtonian, attendees included JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, White House staffers including Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, and Kellyanne Conway, and Senator Mitt Romney, who brought… Ben Stiller for some reason.
A source told WUSA 9 that the “general contractor worked to mitigate the parking challenges in the area by setting up off-site parking and shuttles to and from the site” and “All the outstanding tickets in question have been paid.” That’s good, because Amazon would surely never misrepresent how much it pays to the government! In any case, Bezos was recently reported to have possibly bought a second Kalorama mansion, so the parking shenanigans may continue.