John McCaslin

She's described as a younger, hipper version of Washington socialite Sally Quinn.

Now, New York Times rising reporter - and avid partyer - Jennifer 8. Lee has been slapped with a $60,000 lawsuit, filed in D.C. Superior Court on Wednesday by her former landlord, Beth Solomon, a Washington lobbyist.

The lawsuit accuses the oddly named scribe (she added the 8 as a teenager to grab name recognition) of trashing the $2,900-a-month Washington penthouse the newspaper rented for her on M Street overlooking Capitol Hill.

"Somebody has got to set a standard here, and I am not going to get pushed around by (Lee) or the New York Times," Solomon told The Beltway Beat, adding that she has had to repair or replace broken furniture, floors, interior walls and appliances.

"And my baby grand piano, passed down in my family, was destroyed - they used it as a wet bar," she said.

The 28-year-old Lee's "high-powered and occasionally raucous social circuit" caught the attention of the New York Sun in February, the paper telling of "brunches and barbecues, dinner parties and poker nights, holiday soirees and intimate concerts she hosts on a nearly weekly basis in her penthouse loft."

The paper quoted Adam Kovacevich, former deputy press secretary for Sen. Joe Lieberman's presidential campaign, as saying: "Jenny is the Pamela Harriman and Katharine Graham for D.C.'s younger set."

The lawsuit accuses that younger set - high-level congressional staffers to influential "newsmakers" - of defecating on the patio, relieving themselves off the balcony and vomiting in the hallways.

It goes so far as to name Lee's guests - from conservative activist Grover Norquist and director Zach Exley to the Times' managing editor, Jill Abramson.

"I have been in this ridiculous negotiation for five months," Solomon told us. "I have been trying to settle this quietly all this time, and getting nowhere."

Solomon said the reporter's attorney, Larry Bank, who has handled legal affairs for the Times, offered as little as $15,000 to repair the damages and said "that's all (Lee) can come up with."

"I said to my attorney, take that offer off the table," she said. "You can walk on me just so far, and then I'm going to stand up for myself."

Solomon said that after she first encountered the "animal house," she sat down with Lee. "I said, 'Jenny, do you have any sense what it feels like to have your home destroyed?' And she just kind of looked at me with this sort of nonexpression."

There was no reaction from Lee, who has returned to New York City.


John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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