Lawsuit: Md. man pocketed $120K in athletic field rental scam

A Maryland man is accused of charging an adult soccer league about $100 an hour to rent D.C. Public Schools’ athletic fields when he didn’t have the right to — and then keeping the money.

A lawsuit accuses Larry Washington and two of his companies of falsely claiming to have an agreement to collect the fees, and then taking in about $120,000 in rental payments between 2009 and 2013 from the Washington International Soccer League (WISL).

The soccer fields WISL rented included those at Coolidge High School, Dunbar High School, Eastern High School and McKinley Technology High School.

The suit was originally brought by the WISL in 2016 under the whistleblower provisions of the District’s False Claims Act.

It was filed under seal, which gave the D.C. government time to investigate and intervene in the lawsuit.

Now, the D.C. Attorney General’s office has done just that, and it is seeking damages, penalties and costs that could total more than $370,000.

“The purpose of this lawsuit is to hold Mr. Washington accountable for fraudulently pocketing funds that rightly belong to DCPS,” said Attorney General Karl Racine. “We are also warning others that cheating the District of Columbia will not be tolerated.”

The proper way to rent out a DCPS athletic field is to fill out an application, get it approved by the school’s principal, and submit it to the D.C. Department of General Services Realty Office.

The rental fees are used to help pay for the operation and upkeep of the fields.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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