The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs in Washington, D.C. has issued a citation to the landlords who leased a room in their condo to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, stating they did not have the required license to rent out the space.
The city “issued a Notice of Infraction to the [landlord] for engaging in unlicensed rental housing activity,” ABC News reported, citing a press release by the agency.
The condo, co-owned by Vicki Hart, wife of Steven Hart, a prominent fossil-fuels lobbyist, apparently did not have the business license required by the city to rent out the space. The notice of infraction “carries a potential fine of $2,034,” the press release stated.
Pruitt has come under increasing scrutiny following a report by ABC News that revealed he lived in the condo last year. His daughter also stayed in the second bedroom while interning at the White House last summer. A memo stated Pruitt paid $50 a night to stay in the condo.
The ABC News report stated Pruitt paid a total of $6,100 over a six month period. He leased the property, paying an average of about $1,000 a month.
Agency ethics officials said the deal did not violate federal ethics rules but the deal has raised eyebrows due to the fact the EPA head rented the space from the wife of a Washington lobbyist. Pruitt told Fox News when asked, "Is draining the swamp, renting an apartment from the wife of a Washington lobbyist?” that it was not “remotely fair to ask that question.”
Pruitt explained that he rented the condo from a fellow Oklahoman and that everything was above board.
“This was like an Airbnb situation,” Pruitt said of his home, located a block from the U.S. Capitol. “When I was not there, the landlord, they had access to the entirety of the facility. When I was there, I only had access to a room.”
Steven Hart told The Associated Press last week that Pruitt is a “casual friend” from Oklahoma with whom he had only occasional contact. The Hart family did not immediately comment on the citation.
Fox News’ Barnini Chakraborty, NuNu Japaridze, Andrew O'Reilly and the Associated Press contributed to this report.