Real Estate

Trump Pardons Prominent DC Developer Douglas Jemal

The man who rebuilt much of Chinatown and Ivy City was convicted of wire fraud in 2006.

Among Donald Trump’s last-minute spate of 73 pardons: prominent DC real estate developer Douglas Jemal.

Jemal—who revitalized much of Chinatown’s commercial corridor and more recently redeveloped Northeast DC’s Ivy City—was convicted of wire fraud in 2006. The case against him revolved around public corruption, with prosecutors alleging the developer had bribed a DC government official to get contracts with inflated profits.

Jemal maintained his innocence, with his defense arguing that he was profitable simply because he was a good businessman. A jury acquitted Jemal of the most serious conspiracy and bribery charges, while finding him guilty of a lesser charge of wire fraud.

Washingtonian emailed Douglas Jemal and his son Norman Jemal, now managing principal of Douglas Development, to ask how the pardon came about. If we hear back, we will update this story.

Senior Editor

Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 as a staff writer, and became a senior editor in 2014. She oversees the magazine’s real estate and home design coverage, and writes long-form feature stories. She was a 2020 Livingston Award finalist for her two-part investigation into a wrongful conviction stemming from a murder in rural Virginia.