In addition to being a scandal-ridden EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, it seems, is also a bad houseguest.
Pruitt's been facing criticism for days since reports broke that he stayed in a D.C. condo tied to an energy industry lobbyist for just $50 a night, a possible ethics breach. Besides that, as it turns out, the couple who rented it to him last spring, Vicki and Steve Hart, weren’t fans of Pruitt’s by the end of his stay — they even had to kick him out and change the locks, according to Politico.
The rental agreement has created a major ethics controversy for Pruitt. Agency heads can’t accept gifts from lobbyists, and the EPA’s internal ethics offices is considering a closer investigation into whether the low rent constituted a gift. Pruitt, defending himself against the allegations of impropriety, has tried to downplay the nature of the lease, likening it to an Airbnb-type arrangement — temporary, and on a night-by-night basis while he got settled into Washington and found himself a new place.
That’s what it was supposed to be, according to Politico’s sources. But Pruitt way overstayed his welcome, and his hosts got pissed.
The Harts know Pruitt from Oklahoma, where Pruitt served as attorney general and saw the six-week lease they drew up for him as a favor for a friend. They drew up a lease, running from February to April 1, but when the lease ran out, Pruitt wouldn’t go. He reportedly asked repeatedly to extend the lease, all while paying his rent late, and inviting his daughter to stay there too, according to ABC News.
They tried to politely nudge him out of the room, even going so far as to send him ads for other rentals, according to Politico’s sources. Both people, who Politico did not name, said that Pruitt was an entitled, difficult guest who seemed to be drunk on his new power as EPA chief. He finally moved out in July, after the Hart’s told him they’d be renting the room to another tenant.
“Scott Pruitt is the Kato Kaelin of Capitol Hill. He is the long-term houseguest who takes advantage of his hosts and refuses to take a hint about when it’s time to leave,” one of Politico’s sources reportedly said, referring to the houseguest of OJ Simpson who later served as a witness in Simpson's 1994–95 murder trial.
The scandals have spiraled out of Pruitt’s control. An environmental group hung up these flyers around Capitol Hill, where Pruitt lives — though no longer with that couple.
Still, President Donald Trump appears to have his back. He tweeted Friday that Pruitt was “doing a great job but is TOTALLY under siege.”