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“He was apparently an adjunct professor at Georgetown law, a government lawyer at IRS – and was busted for meth distribution?”

by Prince Of Petworth February 2, 2017 at 12:30 pm 65 Comments

ellington
Photo by PoPville flickr user Clif Burns

Ed. Note: Back in 2012 we had a report of a meth lab fire in Dupont.

“Dear PoPville,

This was certainly the news today [Wednesday] in my apartment building (13 and U Street, NW)! Law enforcement (police? DEA? Homeland Security?) raided his apartment early this morning. Innocent until proven guilty, but – dude has degrees from 2 of 5 top law schools in country, was apparently an adjunct professor at Georgetown law, is a government lawyer at IRS – and was busted for meth distribution? Huge police/federal agent presence, so doesn’t seem like they are thinking just some poor schmuck with small amount for personal use. Yikes.”

CNBC reported yesterday:

“Jack Vitayanon, a Washington, D.C., resident who is an attorney in the IRS’s Office of Professional Responsibility, allegedly conspired with others in Arizona and Long Island, New York, “to distribute methamphetamine” since mid-2014, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn.

Vitayanon’s LinkedIn page says that he is also an adjunct professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington.”

  • Anonymous

    Those law school loans won’t pay themselves – taking “side hustle” to it’s extreme conclusion.

  • DCUnity

    I guess he has to pay off his students loans, somehow. It’s not an uncommon thing for some college/law students to do.

    • Ben

      Sell meth? What circles do you hang out with??!!

      • Anon

        Meth is (relatively) big in the gay community.

        • Bob Sacamento

          Yea I had a high school teacher that was selling meth and was gay (he got caught). Very anecdotal but people shouldnt be so shocked.

        • Duponter

          I’m sorry, but this is a stupid comment. It isn’t “big” in the gay community. It isn’t 2005. Yes, for some time it was a bit of an epidemic in the community, but that’s quieted down a lot due to efforts to educate and inform. I have no doubt some gay people do meth, but this statement makes it sound like gay people are prone to it somehow.

          You know more white straight people in suburbia do meth than gay people right?

          I get you said “relatively,” but I still this is untrue and a frankly rude and dangerous thing to say without some supporting evidence.

          • TX2DC

            Well said.

          • Anon

            Sorry – I didn’t intend to imply that it’s use is exclusive to the gay community or that it’s used by a high percentage of gay individuals.

          • Anon

            Here’s some evidence for you: advocate.com/commentary/2015/10/06/why-no-one-talking-about-meth-and-gay-men-besides-danny-pintauro

          • Anon

            Hi. Gay here. To be fair, when I heard about this, my immediate thought was: “What? Who does meth in the city? Oh, wait – gay dudes.” The qualifier being “in the city.” The only folks I’ve ever know do meth are: (a) a handful of trashy white hicks I went to high school with in WV and (b) a handful of gay guys in the city. The commenter said “relatively” and I think that’s pretty fair. Is it the norm? Totally not. But that’s not what the commenter said.

        • B

          I’ve been gay for all of my 53 years, and I don’t know anyone who smokes meth. Seriously. Please don’t stereotype.

          • TX2DC

            +1. Plenty of ignorant comments today.

          • jsauri

            How many people do you know that snort it though?

        • TX2DC

          Meth is also a big problem in rural areas (deep south, Midwest, etc) – not just in the gay community.

          • Anon

            Correct. I was trying to explain its presence in DC.

  • JS

    Maybe he has lung cancer?

  • notwalterwhite

    Our very own walter white.

  • Michael Pierce

    Wow, you really know the gentrification of DC is complete when you have Georgetown law professors selling meth.

  • Anon

    Damn, just your neighborly meth connect. Guessing the Nelly’s crowds are going to die down for a while now?

    • AsAMother

      Where will straight girls get their meth now?

    • TX2DC

      Grow up, seriously.

    • Michael Pierce

      Ahhhhh, so that’s why they were always so obnoxiously loud!

  • anonymouse_dianne

    There goes the neighborhood. Does he live at the Ellington? I’m at Union Row just up the street.

  • Mr. Plimpton

    This guy was an associate at Debevoise for 5 years. Trust me, he had no student debt left.
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/jack-vitayanon-8951a515

    • Cleveland Park runner

      You seem to be unfamiliar with the idea of golden handcuffs.

      • Mr. Plimpton

        Huh? Lawyers dont get paid by any kind of deferred payments (“dont leave or you’re sacrificing $X”), aka “golden handcuffs.” My point was that this guy was paid at or above $200k for 5 years, so he was unlikely to have any student debt left.

        • Mr. Plimpton

          I should add — I dont have any idea how much he was actually paid, but that would be typical for associates at white shoe firms in DC/NYC.

        • Anon

          Not if he was blowing it all on meth!

        • KenyonDweller

          It doesn’t really matter how much he made. Interest rates are so low now that it rarely makes financial sense to pay off student debt.

          • anon

            is it easy to get another loan to pay off student debt? you certainly can’t refinance them.

          • Ben

            Sofi and others refinance student debt.

          • GradSchoolDebt

            I don’t find 6% to be low. I could get a house for a lower interest rate.

        • FoggyBottom

          For information sake — here is a little history of big law salary in reverse order. Big Law market (of which Debevoise is a part of ) did not jump to 160K for first year associates until the end of 2007. Big Law salaries did not reach 145K until Cravath moved up in 2006. Before that, 130K and less were the norm at these firms, and they didn’t all match each other either. Heck, 100K a year wasn’t broken until 2000.

          Debevoise is a heck of a firm, but they weren’t paying Wachtell bonuses then either. My guess, this guy wasn’t breaking 200K even with bonus until his last year. Still, he made a lot of money and Dartmouth, Georgetown, NYU prices were far cheaper then too.

      • Anon

        He still would have made 6 figures as a gov’t lawyer. I don’t think the duress defense is gonna work here.

        • flieswithhoney

          Just as an fyi, new fed attorneys usually earn 100k less than their firm countparts. I started at 55k, including CoLA.

          • Anon

            I’m fairly certain average for a fed gov’t lawyer is above $100k, especially for experienced attorneys leaving a big firm. I looked at a bunch of agency jobs when I left w 5 years experience, and I think they all started low 100s. Huge pay cut for sure, but still among the very fortunate.

          • flieswithhoney

            Techincally, I make under 100k before CoLA is added after being a fed attorney for 10 years. Fortunate, sure, but accuracy is important especially these days when lots of people think we are overpaid.

          • Tsar of Truxton

            You came in at an 11, I am assuming, which is pretty normal for someone fresh out of law school. As a transfer from a firm, he should have qualified for a 13 or 14. Either way, I think people underestimate how much debt you can have coming out of law school. He wasn’t making 200k as a first year in 2003 (DC firms started paying 160 to 1st years a little before he left). He was probably making 150-180 (after bonus), which is nothing to sneeze at, but with a high cost of living and 200k+ in debt, he still wouldn’t have been rolling it it enough to make double loan payments or whatever unless he was a hermit.

    • Duponter

      I work in biglaw, have for five years and I’m not even halfway through my law school debt. You seem confused. Some of us still like to eat and dress ourselves too. After law school finishes, with interest added on for the three years you’ve borrowed money, if you had no financial assistance, you owe $220K or more. And interest rates are low, but they are not low for student loans compared to mortgages. I pay an average of nearly 7% on my student loan debt. You can refi through Sofi or other companies, but that’s fairly recent and you lose a lot of the protections you get from federally backed Stafford loans if you do it (i.e., adjusted repayment based on compensation). Considering how many big law lawyers were laid off after the recession, it’s a gamble to be willing to give up those protections.

      That said, what lawyers at firms make their first five years is fairly standard and routinely published. It’s a lot, but it’s a stretch to pay off law school in five years on it. You can I’m sure, but you’re putting quite a bit on that debt to do it and living pretty modestly.

      • flieswithhoney

        You stated the key, which is living modestly. It’s very easy to do the opposite in DC and spend one’s discretionary income on restaurants, ubers, gadgets, etc.

      • rss

        +1. I’ve been a government lawyer for a little over 5 years – since I graduated from law school – and my debt just goes up every year because I don’t make enough to cover the monthly interest. (started with 179K at 7.3 or so percent interest, now it’s over 200K.) So even if he made it through half of his law school debt while at the firm, he’s no more than a GS 14 now and probably barely making a dent in the principal. none of this is to say he should be selling meth though, of course….

        • Anon

          He could def. be a 15 (or whatever the IRS equivalent is). I graduated law school 5 years after him, never worked in a firm, and I am a 15.

        • flieswithhoney

          Alas, there are some agencies that have zero non-supervisory 15s. I’m sadly at one of them.

          • Shawz

            If you’re a 14 or 15 in the government, and you live in an expensive condo on U st, it can be kind of hard to save money. Especially if your loans on are the larger side and you enjoy doing things like going out to eat a couple times a week and taking vacations.

            Income after taxes = $6000/mo
            Mortgage/HOA payment = $2500/mo
            Loan payments = $1000/mo
            Total food/entertainment expenses = $2500/mo

            I can see the appeal of an extra source of income on the side…

          • Anon

            I’m kinda surprised to hear people think this was modivated by law school debt.
            .
            FWIW, I have a similar background. Spent 5 years at a big firm, then to much lower paying job. I live in the same building as him, so basically identical housing costs. No kids & single, like him. Started with big law school debt – and no family help – so have been slowly but surely plugging away. And am I rich now? Nope. But I’ve never struggled to make ends meet. There is no way, on those facts, absent some very very bad choices (like, I dunno, blowing a lot of money on meth) or very bad luck (e.g., medical bills), to be in such dire financial straights that it forces you into dealing drugs. Just. No.

        • navyard

          rss,
          the reason your debt is going up every year is NOT because you don’t make enough money. It’s that you are prioritizing other things over paying down your debt. If you want to get serious about getting out of debt, google it. There are literally thousands of blogs and websites about how to make small adjustments to your lifestyle so that you can pay down that level of debt within a few years. I know people who pay that down on much lower salaries than yours.

          Those who want to succeed will find a way. The rest will find an excuse.

  • northeazy

    “[methamphetamine] is a helluva drug.”

  • java

    We have a UDC law student living in our building who grow/cook and sells drugs (a little bit of everything). He is a real pain in the ass for those of us living here. He and his friends Clients drive or walk up to the building and he meets them outside. This has been going on for two years. Neighbors contacted DC Police. They don’t seem to care. Any advice on who to contact that might actually give a damn and be willing to do something?

    • textdoc

      Go higher up within MPD. If the local lieutenant doesn’t care, the commander of your district might.

    • Anon

      “cook” – Unless you’ve been inside his apartment, you obviously made that up.

    • PetworthGuy

      You would need to have more ammo than just “a little bit of everything”. By growing – I’m assuming you mean he’s growing marijuana, which is legal and the cops won’t investigate it (he could always just claim to be “gifting” it which is also legal). Even if he is selling it and meeting people outside, the police aren’t going to waste their time with a law student selling pot. But “cooking” could mean a few things – either converting marijuana into edibles/concentrates/oil/shatter (again, legal) or he’s converting cocaine into crack. The latter seems unlikely, but that would be much more of an incentive for police to investigate. But if you are unsure what he is “cooking” it doesn’t surprise me that the police don’t respond.

    • flieswithhoney

      Suggestions: document the illegal activity with pics or videos if you can do so safely, contact the FBI, post your ineffective assistance concerns on MPD’s twitter feed, and contact UDC. Maybe the fear of getting kicked out of law school or failing character and fitness will matter to the student.

      • textdoc

        “post your ineffective assistance concerns on MPD’s twitter feed” — I would NOT do this. Things you post on Twitter to unresponsive D.C. government agencies are public. Contact your district commander privately.

        • flieswithhoney

          Even if the OP uses an anonymous account and doesn’t identify his/her address? Something like, “Hey MPD, drugs are being sold in my building why won’t you help?” Asking seriously, as I want to start some twitter MPD shaming of my own.

          • textdoc

            I guess an anonymous account used solely for that purpose would work.

    • Anon

      What kind of drugs and what building? Asking for a friend….

  • PetworthGuy

    His resume combined with his age of 41 has me thinking it wasn’t anything to do with debt, but rather a type of “adrenaline rush” situation. Most people go skydiving when they want to spice up their boring lives…maybe he just sold meth instead? I’m sure more info will come to light at the trial etc.

  • anon

    Jack Vitayanon: “Hey boss, I’m leaving for the night. I’ll be finished with the Trump audit tomorrow so he can finally release his tax returns. See you in the morning.”

  • Chad Glover

    I don’t understand why this is front page news. What makes it so?
    Thousands of drug addicts every year get caught up in legal trouble as a result of their addiction. Why does this arrest garner so much attention? Because he works for IRS? If he worked in the private sector would anyone care?

    • textdoc

      I think this arrest is getting a lot of attention because most drug dealers don’t also have serious professional day jobs.

      • DCUnity

        Lol! That may be what you think but, man, you just don’t really know what truly goes on in the “professional” world.

        • textdoc

          OK, how about “most ARRESTED drug dealers don’t also have serious professional day jobs”?

    • Anon

      Found the client!

    • Anon

      Umm…. ? Seriously? A dude with top law degrees working as IRS attorney and also an adjunct professor at Gtown Law? Not something you see every day.

  • ST21

    Not a big meth guy myself but hey.. do you I guess. Whatever happened to some good ole pot and a glass of wine? Can’t beat it.

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