AG Racine Announces Area Developer & Landlord To Pay $35,000 Penalty for Violating District Lead Laws & Failing to Inform Tenants About Toxic Lead Paint

Settlement Continues OAG’s Efforts to Hold Landlords & Developers Accountable for Putting District Residents’ Health & Safety at Risk

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Attorney General Karl A. Racine today announced an area developer and landlord agreed to pay a $35,000 penalty for violating the District’s lead paint laws and misleading tenants about the presence of toxic lead paint. 

Today’s settlement resolves an investigation by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) into violations of District laws by Meredith Lyda and Shaw Mostashari, and several corporations under their control, for failing to disclose the presence of lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards to tenants in residential properties.

The Mostasharis and several of their corporations also failed to comply with District Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) enforcement actions, which required the Mostasharis to remediate lead paint hazards and demonstrate successful remediation. In addition to paying a penalty, the Mostasharis will pay for a third-party lead-based paint clearance examination to confirm lead-based paint hazards are not present at a residential apartment building. The Mostasharis have also agreed to follow District environmental and consumer laws by conducting lead testing, giving tenants accurate and truthful information, and providing proper disclosures going forward, all of which help protect the health and safety of residents. 

This settlement comes less than a month after OAG entered a separate settlement with Mohammad Sikder, and corporate entities under his control, who also violated District lead and consumer protection laws, including failing to disclose the presence of lead-based paint in residential properties.

“Lead is extremely hazardous and can cause serious and long-lasting neurological damage and complications, especially in children,” said AG Racine. “We will not permit anyone to violate laws that put the health and safety of residents at risk of exposure to toxic materials. Residents in the District should know that their homes are free of lead paint hazards, and my office will work to make sure that’s the case.” 

The Mostasharis are the managing partners of 5Design Development LLC and 5Design Management LLC. Their companies own residential apartment buildings located at 4242 6th Street SE and 433 Atlantic Street SE.

Lead is a toxic metal that can cause painful physical symptoms, including organ and brain damage. Lead exposure is especially dangerous to young children. To protect residents from lead exposure, the District’s Lead Hazard Prevention and Elimination Act (LHPEA) places safe maintenance and disclosure requirements on residential landlords that lease buildings constructed before 1978, when the federal government banned consumer use of lead paint. OAG enforces the LHPEA and other District laws protecting residents from harm, including the Consumer Protections Procedures Act, which outlaws a wide variety of deceptive and unfair business practices.

As part of a settlement with OAG, the Mostasharis and their corporate entities will be required to: 

  • Pay $35,000 in civil penalties. 
  • Comply with District environmental and consumer protection laws that protect the health and safety of residents: As part of that compliance, they must provide compliant lead-based paint disclosures to all current and future tenants at 4242 6th Street SE and 433 Atlantic Street SE. They also must perform a lead-based paint clearance examination at 4242 6th Street SE and submit a lead-based paint clearance examination report to the District. 
  • Provide accurate information about the presence of lead-based paint: This includes the year homes were built and the presumed presence of lead-based paint in homes to purchasers, tenants, and District employees and officials. 

A copy of the legal complaint against the Mostasharis is available here.

A copy of the consent order and judgement resolving the District’s lawsuit against the Mostasharis is available here.
Background on OAG’s Environmental Work 
Over the last two years, OAG has—with the support of the Council—deployed additional resources to protect the environment and address persistent local environmental problems, including those that disproportionately impact low-income communities. OAG won a $400,000 penalty from a developer for violating District laws that protect residents from toxic lead; obtained a $350,000 penalty from a property owner that leaked toxic used oil in Ward 5; forced a landlord to clean up lead paint that put children at risk; recovered $52 million from Monsanto for its role in the spread of toxic PCBs in the District’s waters and other natural resources; and settled a lawsuit with Greyhound over air pollution violations at Union Station that led the company to adopt bus anti-idling policies nationwide. OAG has also recovered $2.5 million from a power plant that discharged oil into the Potomac River and is deeply involved in the District’s ongoing cleanup of the Anacostia River. Additionally, OAG joined multistate lawsuits to stop the Trump administration from rolling back critical environmental protections, such as auto emissions standards and Clean Water Act rules

District residents should report suspected violations of environmental law to DOEE through a smartphone app available here