FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. - The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday night to declare six abandoned homes blighted, initiating proceedings under Virginia law that will allow the county the demolish them if the owners don't do it first.
Property records show one of the homes, in McLean, is owned by someone with a connection to the Embassy of Qatar.
County records show the home on Bellview Road is owned by Mishal Al Thani. The ambassador to the U.S. from Qatar has a similar name and is reportedly part of the Middle Eastern country's ruling family.
County officials and neighbors say the home has become a safety hazard and a haven for squatters and teens who have caused trouble. A fire destroyed the home in October 2020, but the property and structures remain worth more than $1,000,000, according to county records.
It is not clear why the owner left the property to fall into disrepair and rack up nearly $100,000 in fines from the county.
"Many teenagers have basically made it a party house," said neighbor Vikrant Binjrajka. Binjrajka says on one New Year's night several years ago hundreds of teens partied at the home for hours.
"It's just a huge loss for whoever owns it and it's a big problem. It's a nuisance for everyone here," Binjrajka said.
Bruce R. Smith, a lawyer for the owner's agent, tells FOX 5, "As stated at the hearing today, the owner of the property promptly responded to the blight determination, secured the property, and is fully committed to demolishing the structures and resolving all of the county's concerns."
One of the other abandoned homes is located on Covington Street in the county. Its owner testified at the Board of Supervisors meeting that he would demolish the property before the county has the chance.