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Former Christmas Bureau President Says He Didn't Take Any Money
The head of an Austin charity under investigation opens up to KEYE TV about his side of the story. Shon Washington, the now former executive director of the Christmas Bureau, says the actions of the past few weeks have been a big misunderstanding. Washington said there's only a little more than $100,000 in the Christmas Bureau account, the rest of the money was donated last year to needy families.
As far as the investigation into his handling of the Christmas Bureau and the money, Washington says let the police do their work, but there's nothing to find. “Investigate all you want, I did the best with what I could and with what I had,” he says.
Washington’s statements come a day after Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo announced the department is investigating the Christmas Bureau
"The Christmas Bureau, whether they know it or not, will account for every dollar, either the easy way or the hard way,” said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo.
Washington, the man at the center of the investigation professed his innocence in a phone interview with KEYE TV. When asked if he did anything wrong or took any money he said, “No sir, no sir, not a dime."
Washington says he's been out of the country dealing with a death in the family. He says when he tried to reach out to Operation Blue Santa, he got no response.
Washington says the disconnected phone number and boarded up building where the Christmas Bureau once stood was just him falling behind.
"Was I in the wrong place at the wrong time, yes of course,” said Washington. “Have I done things that I regret, yes, but I would never regret taking the job at the Christmas Bureau. But people won't understand how much I loved it because they chose to look at my history and my past."
It’s a past that features several run-ins with police, including an arrest for drugs just a few months ago.
"I knew my past was going to come up, everybody that was there (at the Christmas Bureau) knew about my past,” said Washington.
Washington says he still planned to open the doors to the Christmas Bureau in a new location, but will step away from the organization.
So, what about the kids that could now be without presents?
"We've got six thousand families depending on the Christmas Bureau that are now depending on Blue Santa and you Austin,” said Chief Acevedo. “Please step up, please step out and help us bring joy and hope to a lot of young children.”
Washington says he just hopes his name is cleared at the end of the investigation.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo tells KEYE TV that right now there has been no indication criminal wrongdoing, and will let the public know the results of the investigation.
How to Help:
With the Christmas Bureau not serving many of the Texans it normally helps, Operation Blue Santa is taking on 6,000 more wish lists this year.
Thanks to the generous folks at the advertising giant G-S-D & M, Blue Santa has a great head start. GSD&M pledged $25,000 to Blue Santa and has already more than doubled that with a personal appeal from some of the co-founders of the agency.
The goal is to reach $70,000 by the end of the weekend.
You can find more information on how to donate here – http://www.keyetv.com/community/features/chuys-children/stories/how-donate-operation-blue-santa-7.shtml?wap=0&
By Adam Racusin