Sidney Powell, the embattled lawyer who launched a flurry of unsuccessful lawsuits last fall advancing President Donald Trump’s election fraud claims, has established a beachhead in the Washington area by purchasing a century-old building in Alexandria’s historic Old Town neighborhood — in a cash deal.
In April, a Texas-based limited-liability corporation paid $1.2 million to purchase a former antique shop on North Washington Street, land records show. The sellers said their real estate broker told them that Powell was the buyer and that she planned to use the building, on a commercial block, as a law office occupied by 6 or 7 staff.
“It’s sort of been a source of amusement for us more than anything,” said Lois Boyles, who ran Studio Antiques and Fine Arts out of the location with husband Richard Totoiu for 28 years, before closing the store in 2019.
“Our lovely Realtor initially told us there is a law firm that’s really interested in your building and wants to pay cash and wants to close in two weeks. … A day or two later, they said, ‘Oh, by the way, it’s Sidney Powell,’” Boyles said.
The purchase came about three months after Powell was hit with a defamation suit by the American division of Dominion Voting Systems, which has accused her of promoting baseless conspiracy theories about the company, including that it helped throw last year’s election to President Joe Biden.
And it comes as Powell faces a slew of complaints seeking her disbarment or other professional discipline for the series of suits she filed last fall challenging the election results in battleground states.
Just last week, a federal judge in Detroit ordered Powell and other pro-Trump lawyers to pay the attorneys’ fees the State of Michigan and the City of Detroit incurred in an election-related suit and to take a course on election law. Powell and her allies were also referred to state bar authorities for possible further action.
Boyles said the real estate transaction seemed routine to them, but she and Totoiu were a bit apprehensive that Powell’s legal woes might scuttle the sale.
“There is nothing scurrilous about it. We just had our fingers crossed that the money would be in our account before the suit from Dominion came through,” she said. “From our end, it seems above board.”
Lawyers for Powell moved to dismiss the suit against her, but earlier this month a federal judge in Washington refused to toss out the case and parallel suits against Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and My Pillow founder Mike Lindell. Powell’s attorneys have said she did not defame the company and that many of her claims were supported by sworn affidavits she had no reason to doubt.
In the aftermath of the 2020 election, Powell became one of the most outspoken leaders of a troupe of lawyers that filed dozens of suits seeking to contest Biden’s win, force recounts or get state legislators to declare Trump the winner. Powell, who memorably vowed to “release the Kraken” as she mounted a campaign to expose massive wrongdoing in the election, was briefly identified as an official member of Trump’s legal team and attended a Nov. 19, 2020, press conference at Republican National Committee headquarters along with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
At that marathon event, Powell repeatedly claimed that an “algorithm” had been used to underweight Trump votes and overweight those for Biden, but that an overwhelming number of Trump votes “broke” the formula and required another round of tampering by Trump opponents.
“We are not going to back down. We are going to clean this mess up now,” Powell said. “President Trump won by a landslide. We are going to prove it, and we are going to reclaim the United States of America for the people who vote for freedom.”
Three days later, Giuliani declared Powell was no longer part of the president’s team, although she continued to attend Oval Office meetings and Trump repeatedly considered naming Powell as a special counsel to investigate alleged election irregularities.
Boyles said she and her husband “don’t stand on the same side of the political fence” as Powell, which has led to some ribbing from people in their circles.
“Our friends and family, when we told them who we sold the building to, there was a short pause and ‘Oh …’ and then they said they were just kidding,” Boyles said.
Powell did not respond to email and phone messages seeking comment for this story.
One close associate of Powell, attorney Jesse Binnall, already works from an Alexandria office, located on King Street five blocks south of Powell’s new digs.
Binnall was co-counsel with Powell on the criminal defense of former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and handled some election-related litigation for the Trump campaign. Binnall now represents Powell’s political group Defending the Republic in the defamation suit from Dominion, and former President Donald Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr. in suits stemming from the Capitol riot.
On Monday, the brick building Powell purchased appeared to be undergoing some renovation work, with a painter’s ladder visible through one of the doors. There’s no sign posted indicating any tie to Powell or her organizations. Three rocking chairs positioned behind the beige-painted columns on the front porch convey more of a homey feel than that of a law office.
“Historic charm is evident in the details of crown and chair rail moldings, original fireplace, beautiful woodwork, and newly refinished original hardwood floors,” according to the listing for the property, built in 1910 as a single-family home and later converted to offices.
One evident addition since the property was transferred in April: security cameras that were not visible in photos of the building posted on real estate sites when the location was on the market.
Powell’s new D.C.-area outpost is nestled between a hair salon and another small-scale office building. She is now the next-door neighbor of sorts to longtime GOP media strategist and former Justice Department spokesperson Mark Corallo, whose firm has been located on the same block since 2005.
“It’s news to me,” Corallo said when a POLITICO reporter informed him of the development.
Alexandria land records show that in April, a firm called 524 Old Towne LLC paid $1.2 million to purchase the former antique shop. City records tie the firm to a UPS Store in West Palm Beach, Fla., that has also been used by Powell’s Defending the Republic group. Virginia corporate records show the firm registered to the same Dallas address Powell uses on her court filings — an address that corresponds to a coworking space.
Texas corporate records show 524 Old Towne LLC was set up about a week before the sale closed in April.
Totoiu said he and Boyles did get some of Powell’s financial information to make sure the offer was legitimate, but never encountered Powell face-to-face during the negotiations. “Everything was on paper. We never actually met her,” he said.
Powell was working from the building within a few weeks after the sale closed, Boyles said.
“She did have her office set up,” the former owner said.