The U.S. District Court denied GSA’s motion for summary judgement and ordered that they provide CREW with an unredacted version of a document that explained GSA’s decision to cancel the headquarters relocation project.

CREW is suing the General Services Admission (GSA) over failure to disclose records pertaining to GSA’s July 11, 2017 decision to cancel the procurement of a new FBI headquarters.

On July 12, 2017, CREW submitted a FOIA request by facsimile to GSA seeking six categories of records to shed light on the sudden and unexpected decision of GSA to cancel what it termed the “new FBI headquarters consolidation project,” announced on July 11, 2017. CREW sought a fee waiver to process its request, because the requested records would help answer why GSA had cancelled the procurement and would help the public in evaluate the merits of the cancellation, especially since a significant amount of money had already been spent on this project. On July 20, 2017 GSA advised CREW its request for a fee waiver “has been determined to be not applicable as the request is not billable.” GSA did not explain the reasoning behind this decision or what made CREW ‘s request “not billable.”

Recently, GSA in a months-overdue report to the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee, announced that instead of relocating the FBI headquarters to a new location, it planned to rebuild on the FBI’s current headquarters at a cost of $3.3 billion – nearly $2 billion more than the previously estimated cost of relocating the FBI  in 2017. Under this proposal, the current FBI location would no longer be a mixed-use development that likely would have included a luxury hotel to take advantage of the prime location. This suggests GSA’s decision may have been made, at least in part, to eliminate any direct competition with the Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C., which is just down the street from the FBI headquarters.

To date, GSA has neither provided CREW with a determination on its request, nor provided CREW any information on the status of its request. CREW therefore has exhausted all applicable administrative remedies with respect to its July 12, 2017 FOIA request.

In December 2018, the federal court issued a decision concluding that the GSA search for documents about the cancellation of the FBI headquarters move was deficient on multiple grounds, and ordered GSA to search again. In March 2019, the court ordered GSA to produce a document with no redactions which explained GSA’s reasons for cancelling the FBI headquarters move and rejected GSA’s interpretation of Findings and Determination documents.

Lawsuit Documents


  • February 20, 2018
  • March 26, 2018
  • August 6, 2018
  • August 6, 2018
  • Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgement - Sept. 7, 2018
  • Exhibits in Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgement - Sept. 7, 2018
  • Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant's Statement of Material Facts - Sept. 7, 2018
  • October 17, 2018
  • Defendant's Reply In Support of Motion for Summary Judgement - Nov. 8, 2018
  • 2nd Declaration of Travis Lewis - Defendant's Reply - Nov. 8, 2018
  • Dec. 17, 2018
  • February 14, 2019
  • Plaintiff's Response to Declaration of Joel T. Berelson - Feb 25, 2019
  • March 5, 2019
  • March 22, 2019
  • May 5, 2019
  • July 11, 2019
  • July 29, 2019

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