The deputy mayor who headed Washington, D.C.'s public safety efforts resigned Wednesday after he was accused of assault in Northern Virginia — an allegation that also raised questions about where he lives.
Christopher Geldart, who resigned as deputy mayor for public safety and justice, was charged with assaulting a personal trainer after they argued in a Gold's Gym parking lot in Arlington.
A police report listed Geldart's address as a home in Virginia, sparking speculation about his residency. Washington public officials must live in the city.
Mayor Muriel Bowser accepted his resignation Wednesday.
“I’m saddened to say that I have accepted the resignation of Deputy Mayor Chris Geldart,” Bowser told reporters Wednesday, saying, “I am proud of the work that we have done together over the last eight years.”
She said Geldart served the city as its director of homeland security, its director of public works and most recently its deputy mayor for public safety.
“Many of you will remember the great work that Chris did for us in the 2016 blizzard. He’s also played a significant role in our Covid response,” she said.
She said that she and Geldart had a face-to-face conversation and that the decision to accept his resignation was mutual.
“We both agree that the focus should be on the big issues affecting D.C.,” Bowser said.
She didn’t say specifically what prompted her to accept his resignation.
Geldart was leaving Gold’s Gym in the 3900 block of Wilson Boulevard in Arlington at about 12:25 p.m. Oct. 1 when "the door of the suspect's parked vehicle struck the vehicle the victim was entering," Arlington County police alleged in a statement.
"The dispute escalated during which the suspect allegedly grabbed the victim by the throat," police said.
Investigators identified the suspect as Geldart, saying he was a 53-year-old resident of Falls Church. He was charged with assault and battery.
"He was notified by telephone of the warrant, turned himself in and was released on a summons," the police statement said.
At Wednesday's news conference, Bowser said she believed the altercation was "over something minor," such as a "possible door ding."
But the response to the issue was "serious," she said.
She said she believes Geldart's family lives in Northern Virginia while he resides in Washington.
“We already know that his family lived in another place, and he claims to have established residency in the District," she said.
"I think that the issue surrounding and all of the questions being raised are distracting from his job and my job."
Geldart declined to comment on the allegation of assault or where he lives, but he said the resignation was necessary.
“I no longer wanted to be a distraction to the vitally important work of the public safety agencies of the District government,” he told NBC Washington.
City Administrator Kevin Donahue will act as interim deputy mayor.