News 12 Detroit principals stole $1M in kickback scheme

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  1. dawg

    dawg In The Dog House Staff Member

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    In its latest crackdown on school corruption in Detroit, the federal government today dropped a legal bomb on 12 current and former principals, one administrator and a vendor — all of them charged with running a nearly $1-million bribery and kickback scheme involving school supplies that were rarely ever delivered.

    At the heart of the alleged scheme is businessman Norman Shy, 74, of Franklin, who is accused of paying $908,500 in kickbacks and bribes to at least 12 Detroit Public School principals who used him as a school supply vendor in exchange for money — some for as little as $4,000, another for $324,000. He secretly did this for 13 years, scamming school after school to the tune of $2.7 million with the help of principals who benefited along the way, prosecutors allege.

    The news of the corruption case comes at a critical time as the state grapples with fixing the finances of the struggling Detroit district, the largest school system in Michigan. DPS has been under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager since 2009 and has accumulated an operating deficit of at least $515 million.

    Just last week, the Legislature passed $48.7 million in emergency funding to ensure that DPS doesn’t run out of cash early next month, as well as put the district under the authority of a financial review commission to oversee the district’s finances

    “This is exactly why House Republicans were so adamant that strong fiscal oversight be a prerequisite to any additional state funding for Detroit’s corrupt and broken school administration," said Speaker of the House Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant in a news release Tuesday. "And it is why we will continue to insist that strong financial and academic reforms be a part of any long-term solution to decades of DPS failures,”

    U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade announced the sweeping charges at a news conference Tuesday afternoon, calling the case "a punch in the gut."

    McQuade stressed that the charges have nothing to do with DPS's existing financial troubles, or the political debate surrounding whether the state should help the city's struggling school system.

    "Public corruption never comes at a good time," McQuade said. "This case is not about DPS. It is not about emergency managers. It is about these 14 individuals who breached their trust."

    McQuade noted that the charges stem from a two-year-old audit of the Education Achievement Authority, a state-formed agency that was supposed to oversee and help Detroit's most troubled schools. That audit raised red flags, including one that led to the eventual indictment of former principal Kenyetta Wilbourn Snapp, who pleaded guilty to bribery two months ago and agreed to cooperate with the government in its prosecution against others.

    Snapp, who was hailed as a once-rising education star and turnaround specialist, admitted to the Free Press in December that she pocketed $58,050 in bribes from a vendor and spent it on herself while working for the embattled EAA. Snapp, who is set to be sentenced June 1, faces up to 46 months in prison for bribery. Two other people have also pleaded guilty in that case — a contractor who acted as middleman and a vendor.

    McQuade would not say whether Snapp's cooperation led to any of today's charges, only that the EAA investigation revealed more evidence of wrongdoing by Detroit school officials.

    Among those charged today is Clara Flowers, 61, of Detroit, an assistant superintendent of DPS’s Office of Specialized Student Services. She is charged with pocketing $324,785 in kickbacks from Shy for using him as a school supply vendor.

    The kickbacks came in the form of cash, gift cards and payments to contractors who put a new roof on Flowers' house, painted it and did gutter work. Flowers first used Shy sometime before 2009, when as principal of Henderson Academy she chose his company as that school's school supply vendor. She would continue to use Shy as a vendor when she became an assistant superintendent.

    According to court documents, Shy maintained a ledger to keep track of how much money he owed Flowers in kickbacks. The two regularly met to discuss how much Flowers was owed for her favors, and Shy was careful not to get caught, disguising his payments to Flowers in a variety of methods such as checks payable to contractors who worked on Flowers’ home, including one company that did painting and gutter work. Shy also used DPS money to help pay for a new roof on Flowers’ house.

    The Free Press attempted to contact attorneys for all 14 defendants. Only one offered to comment. Most were unavailable; two declined comment, saying it was too premature to discuss the case.

    The one defense lawyer who did speak is Doraid Elder, who is representing Stanley Johnson, 62, the former principal of Hutchinson Elementary-Middle School, charged with accepting $84,170 in kickbacks from Shy.

    "Let's not rush to judgment. These are merely allegations," Elder told the Free Press. " I don’t want people to forget that he’s put over two decades of his heart and soul into giving kids the best education possible."

    According to court documents, Johnson ordered school supplies from Shy, then submitted false invoices to DPS, which in turn paid for goods that were rarely delivered. Shy would secretly funnel money back to Johnson by issuing payments to sham companies that Johnson created to conceal the kickbacks, prosecutors allege.

    Elder said Johnson is "obviously devastated by the charges"

    ."At times, he’s reached in his own pocket and paid for things to help get the kids certain resources that they normally would not be able to get. He's had decades of a stellar record. I’m sure this is not easy for the students, the parents nor the individuals charged."

    Also charged are:

    • Ronald Alexander, 60, principal at Charles L. Spain Elementary, who is charged with pocketing $23,000 in kickbacks from Shy in exchange for using him as a school supply vendor.
    • Beverly Campbell, 66, of Southfield, a former principal at both Rosa Parks School and Greenfield Union Elementary-Middle School, who is charged with bribery. She is charged with accepting $50,000 in cash kickbacks from Shy, who oftentimes never delivered the goods to her school, but got paid anyway with the help of phony invoices signed by Campbell, the government alleges.
    • Gerlma Johnson, 56, former principal at Charles Drew Academy, former principal at Earhart Elementary-Middle School and current principal of Marquette-Elementary Middle School, She is charged with accepting $22,884 in kickbacks from Shy.
    • James Hearn, 50, of West Bloomfield, principal at Marcus Garvey Academy, who is charged with accepting $11,500 in kickbacks from Shy.
    • Tanya Bowman, 48, of Novi, former principal at Osborn Collegiate Academy of Math, Science and Technology. She is charged with accepting $12,500 in kickbacks from Shy.
    • Josette Buendia, 50, of Garden City, principal at Bennett Elementary School. She is charged with accepting $45,775 in kickbacks from Shy.
    • Ronnie Sims, 55, of Albion, former principal at Fleming Elementary and Brenda Scott Middle School. He is charged with accepting $58,519 in cash kickbacks from Shy.
    • Willye Pearsall, 65, of Warren, former principal at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School. She is charged with accepting $50,000 in kickbacks from Shy.
    • Tia’ Von Moore-Patton, 46, of Farmington Hills, principal of Jerry White Center High School, is charged with accepting $4,000 in kickbacks from Shy.
    • Clara Smith, 67, of Southfield, principal at Thirkell Elementary-Middle School, is charged with accepting $194,000 in kickbacks from Shy.
    • Nina Graves-Hicks, 52, of Detroit, former principal of Davis Aerospace Technical High School. She is charged with accepting $27,385 in kickbacks from Shy.
    McQuade said DPS and the defendants are cooperating. They were all charged in a document known as an "information," which is similar to an indictment, but does not involve a grand jury. Prosecutors often bring charges by way of an information in cases where the government believes a plea deal will be reached. McQuade would not comment on any prospective plea deals in this case.

    More...

    http://www.freep.com/story/news/loc...nd-former-detroit-school-principals/82375712/
     
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  2. dawg

    dawg In The Dog House Staff Member

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    All these old farts going to federal prison, wow
     
  3. Mark Mayonnaise

    Mark Mayonnaise You look like a tree! VIP

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    Cookies are good
     
  4. Walygatr

    Walygatr Well-Known Member

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    Corrupt corporations are to blame. Amirite?
     
  5. Droog

    Droog Well-Known Member VIP

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    We knew about this happening for a while. Detroit schools has made a lot of people rich while screwing over the poor kids who attend.
     
  6. Droog

    Droog Well-Known Member VIP

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    Sure. If they can do it, why not public entities?
     
  7. MrWarmth

    MrWarmth ADORABLE DEPLORABLE Gold

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    This is why kids hate grown ups
     
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  8. PI Nate

    PI Nate Disenfranchised since 1984... Gold

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  9. DiamondGoddess

    DiamondGoddess Born Ready for My Close-Up! Gold

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    Soooooo bad!!!

    These fux were a-skimmin' and teachers are buying school supplies outta their own pockets.

    :facepalm:

    Principals make pretty good money, btw.
     
  10. Hankjones

    Hankjones Well-Known Member VIP

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    When I read the title I thought the cookie jar was going to be a student
     
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  11. bluedevil30

    bluedevil30 Well-Known Member

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    Why would any state or city let these type of officials choose vendors? Shouldn't this stuff be put to bid every year?
     
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  12. dawg

    dawg In The Dog House Staff Member

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    This is what wide spread corruption looks like.
     
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  13. sstressed

    sstressed enhancement toker VIP

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    no procurement people, no inventory controls... :jj:
     
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  14. Tickle Shits

    Tickle Shits Special Needs Typist. Gold

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    More government we need more government!
     
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  15. dawg

    dawg In The Dog House Staff Member

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    What all did the kids have to do without so these scum bags could pocket some cash? Computers? The supplies that were never delivered? Field trips?
     
  16. Mugsy

    Mugsy Well-Known Member

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    "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster, mmmkay."
    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Stretch5000

    Stretch5000 Well-Known Member

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    That businessman got ripped off. Almost a million dollars? A sack of Coneys and some scratch off tickets probably would have sufficed.
     
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  18. BooeyBanana

    BooeyBanana Well-Known Member

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    Will Jared be making subway sandwiches for the men????
     
  19. dawg

    dawg In The Dog House Staff Member

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    Well no, the tax payer got ripped off. They use tax payer and state money to pay him for nothing, they pocket some he pockets some and delivers nothing. All he does is create fake invoices.
     
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  20. Stretch5000

    Stretch5000 Well-Known Member

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    Way to kill my "shit is cheap in Detroit" joke bro :depressed: