Judge Gerald Fisher ruled last week that convicted slumlord David Nuyen has broken his promises to get out of real estate. As part of a 2001 plea agreement, Nuyen agreed to sell all of his holdings; Fisher ruled that he hasn’t. The ruling means Nuyen now will face all 2,368 charges that were dropped in 2001. If convicted, he could serve 90 days on each count.
That’s 213,120 days—almost 584 years.
Nuyen maintains that he was never really guilty in the first place. He plea-bargained, he says, because he didn’t have time to fight the charges. Now he welcomes them. “I have a strong case. I like to have a chance to prove I am innocent,” he says.
Nuyen has a well-recorded history of ignoring repairs. He even wrote a book on his Scroogelike methods. But he lays the blame for his crumbling buildings on the tenants. About one building in Southeast: “It’s like the headquarters of drug people.…I can’t do [repairs] because of drugs there. If I go in there, they’re gonna kill me.”
It’s still unlikely Nuyen will be sentenced to spend the better part of a millennium behind bars. “If he’s found guilty, what’s gonna happen? I don’t know,” said Robert DeBerardinis, assistant attorney general. “You get convicted, there are only two things that happen. You get probation or you go to jail.”
In Nuyen’s case, though, he says, it’s clear that “probation doesn’t work.”