Blue Santa ‘grinch’ out of prison, back in Austin

Shon Washington (Photo: TDCJ)
Shon Washington (Photo: TDCJ)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man convicted in a financial scandal at a partner agency of the Blue Santa non-profit is out of prison, a spokesman with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice tells KXAN.

Shon Washington, 41, remains on parole and is living at the Austin Transitional Center in southeast Austin under mandatory supervision, according to TDCJ spokesperson Jason Clark.

Washington was sentenced to four years in prison after his conviction for stealing from a non-profit. Days before Christmas 2012, state investigators charged others, too.

In October 2012, the discovery that the then-director of the Christmas Bureau of Austin-Travis County had been stealing money threatened to leave hundreds of local families without help Christmas morning that year.

The Christmas Bureau had long helped Operation Blue Santa. Its staff sorted hundreds of applications for holiday help sent in from needy families and seniors. That list and collected donations were shared with Blue Santa.

In late 2012, no list appeared.

It turned out the Christmas Bureau’s former Board of Directors never vetted its President Shon Washington. That year, he said $80,000 historically in the Bureau’s bank account as start-up money was simply not there.

“The money that we usually have to start up is nothing,” Washington said.

Don’t confuse the Christmas Bureau of Austin-Travis County with others of the same name such as the Hill Country Christmas Bureau, which still operate in certain Central Texas communities.

Records show Washington’s sentence ends June 27, 2017.

Parole and mandatory supervision are similar in that the Parole Division supervises both categories of offenders. They must report to parole officers, must abide by the same rules in the community, and are subject to arrest and re-incarceration if they violate the conditions of release.

“With mandatory supervision an offender may accrue enough combined “calendar time” and “good time” to qualify by law for mandatory supervision release prior to completion of their entire sentence, Clark wrote in an email to KXAN.

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