A D.C.-area realtor and developer and an FBI agent are charged with bribing a D.C. employee to get confidential information, and using it to make lucrative real estate deals in the nation’s capital.
Maryland realtor Brian Bailey, 38, of Silver Spring, Maryland, and FBI Special Agent David Paitsel, 48, of Asheville, North Carolina, were arrested Thursday on charges of bribery of a public official, a federal offense.
D.C.’s Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) says before a rental property goes up for sale, tenants must be sent an Offer of Sale notice telling them they have the right to buy the property. The law allows tenants to sell their rights of first refusal to a third party.
According to the criminal complaints against them, between May 2017 and January 2018 Bailey bribed an employee with the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development so that she would email him all Offer of Sale notices, which contain tenants’ names.
Then Bailey would ask Paitsel to use an online investigation software program called CLEAR to look up tenants’ contact information.
Once Paitsel provided that via email, Bailey would contact tenants and try to buy their TOPA rights.
In cases where a tenant agreed to sell his rights and Bailey resold them to another investor, Bailey gave Paitsel a share of the profit.
According to court documents, Paitsel is a special agent assigned to the FBI’s Charlotte Field Office, Asheville Resident Agency, but he used to work at FBI headquarters in D.C.
Bailey and Paitsel were released on their own recognizance.
Bailey’s preliminary hearing in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is scheduled for May 15, and Paitsel’s is set for May 20.