State Bar and feds investigating RRHA and general counsel - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

State Bar and feds investigating RRHA and general counsel

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Sources tell NBC12 the Virginia State Bar and the feds are investigating the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority and the woman paid with tax dollars to be its general counsel.  

Neither the State Bar nor the Office of the Inspector General ever confirm or deny the agencies are investigating but our information comes from someone contacted to help out with the inspection. That person was asked to provide evidence of any kind to back up what the authorities already know about Michelle Waller and RRHA.

This is the latest discovery in a saga that has seen RRHA plagued by controversy for months. According to sources right now, the Bar and federal officials are investigating on multiple fronts. They include allegations of Michelle Waller's possible unauthorized practice of law and her possible representation of a federally subsidized agency without the proper licensure.

"The investigators would look at documents that the individual signed off on to determine whether she was signing as counsel, whether she gave any legal advice, assisted in the drafting of documents," NBC12 legal analyst Steve Benjamin explains of what the investigation might include.

He says the results could have repercussions for an agency that receives federal, state and local tax dollars.

"It might possibly invalidate certain transactions," Benjamin asserted. "It could be criminal in nature, if it's fraudulent."

On a broader level investigators are searching for whether or not RRHA leaders impeded criminal investigations, according to sources. Still, there's something to consider about the latest development.

"We should all bear in mind that all we know is that they are investigations," Benjamin added. "We don't know what is factual. We don't know what may have occurred."

What we do know at this point, is the State Bar took away permission for Waller to practice law in Virginia. Even still, right now, she continues to be employed by RRHA as its general counsel.

NBC12 did contact Michelle Waller for comment on our story. An out-of-office reply says she'll have limited access to email starting Monday. It does not give any indication as to why she's out and when or if she'll return.

Late Monday, a spokesperson sent a statement, which says the agency is not aware of any investigation.

When we asked about Waller's qualifications last month, RRHA told us her job is to coordinate legal matters and translate them to senior management, then outside counsel appears in court.

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