For two decades, Miami lawyer Lynn Washington crafted a reputation as a staunch advocate for low-income residents and a legal expert in affordable housing.Wow, is this disheartening.
But now, he’s facing prison time — for looting more than a half million dollars in money aimed at revitalizing Miami’s inner city.
Washington, 55, recently pleaded guilty to stealing more than $520,000 from New Urban Development, an affiliate of the Urban League of Greater Miami. The charge: first-degree grand theft.
Under the plea deal, Washington must come up with the first restitution payment of $100,000 by Jan. 7. If he cannot make the payment, a Miami-Dade judge will send him to prison for five years.
If Washington, who has voluntarily resigned from the legal profession because of the misconduct, pays back chunks at regular intervals, his prison time will be reduced. If he pays it all back within several months, Miami-Dade prosecutors will allow him to remain under house arrest for two years, with an extra three years of probation.
Lynn had built a reputation over a lifetime of service to the community and civic engagement in a wide range of local causes -- and all of that blown for a measly half million held in trust?
Here's the kicker:
Exactly why Washington stole the money, and what he spent it on, remains a mystery. The lawsuit does not detail what project the money was intended for.It's a messed up world we live in sometimes, huh?