12 Detroit School Principals Charged With Bribery By Feds

Feds Charge 12 Detroit School Principals With Bribery – USA Today


In its latest crackdown on school corruption here, the federal government Tuesday dropped a legal bomb on 12 current and former principals, one administrator and a vendor – all charged with running a nearly $1 million bribery and kickback scheme involving school supplies that rarely were delivered.

Among those charged: Ronald Alexander, principal at Charles L. Spain Elementary-Middle School that’s scheduled to receive more than $500,000 in donations from TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. Alexander’s charge, unrelated to DeGeneres’ announcement in February, is bribery for allegedly pocketing $23,000 money from Norman Shy in exchange for using the owner of Allstate Sales as a school-supply vendor, according to federal court records.

Shy, 74, of Franklin, Mich., is at the heart of the accusations. For 13 years, he is accused of paying $908,500 in kickbacks and bribes to at least a dozen Detroit Public Schools principals, scamming schools to the tune of $2.7 million with the help of those principals, prosecutors allege. Each defendant faces up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.

The announcement came nearly two months after ex-principal Kenyetta Wilbourn Snapp, once hailed as a rising education star and turnaround specialist in city schools, pleaded guilty to bribery. Snapp admitted she pocketed a $58,050 bribe from a vendor and spent it on herself while working for the embattled Education Achievement Authority, a state-formed agency that was supposed to help Detroit’s most troubled schools.

News of the larger 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. The schools have been under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager since 2009 and have accumulated an operating deficit of at least $515 million.

Last week, Michigan lawmakers passed $48.7 million in emergency financing to ensure that the school system doesn’t run out of cash early next month. They also put the district under the authority of a financial review commission.

“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,” state Rep. Kevin Cotter, a Republican from Mount Pleasant and speaker of the state House, said 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, calling the case “a punch in the gut.”

She stressed that the charges have nothing to do with the schools’ 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.”

The charges stem from a 2-year-old audit of the Education Achievement Authority, she said. That audit raised red flags, including one that led to Snapp’s eventual indictment.

Snapp, who is set to be sentenced June 1, faces up to 46 months in prison for bribery. Another women, Paulette Horton, an independent contractor who was involved in a deal to provide tutoring services at two high schools, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit program bribery. The 60-year-old consultant admitted that she was the middleman who handed over bribes to Snapp.

Vendor Glynis Thornton also pleaded guilty in January, admitting she gave Snapp money in exchange for awarding her company the tutoring contract. In her guilty plea, Thornton explained how the scheme worked: Thornton would give an independent contractor the bribe money for Snapp, that contractor would meet Snapp at a bank, give her the money, and keep some for herself.

McQuade would not say whether Snapp’s cooperation led to any of the new charges, only that the Education Achievement Authority investigation revealed more evidence of Detroit school officials’ wrongdoing.

Vendor Glynis Thornton also pleaded guilty in January, admitting she gave Snapp money in exchange for awarding her company the tutoring contract. In her guilty plea, Thornton explained how the scheme worked: Thornton would give an independent contractor the bribe money for Snapp, that contractor would meet Snapp at a bank, give her the money, and keep some for herself.

McQuade would not say whether Snapp’s cooperation led to any of the new charges, only that the Education Achievement Authority investigation revealed more evidence of Detroit school officials’ wrongdoing.

Among those charged Tuesday was Detroit resident Clara Flowers, 61, an assistant superintendent in the schools’ 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.

Shy maintained a ledger to keep track of how much money he owed Flowers in kickbacks, according to court documents. 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.

The Free Press attempted to contact lawyers for all 14 defendants. Only one offered to comment.

Most were unavailable. Two declined comment, saying it was too premature to discuss the case.

“Let’s not rush to judgment. These are merely allegations,” said Doraid Elder, who is representing Stanley Johnson, 62. The former principal of Hutchinson Elementary-Middle School is charged with accepting $84,170 in kickbacks.

“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,” Elder said of Johnson.

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

Johnson is “obviously devastated by the charges,” Elder said.

“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,” Elder said. “He’s had decades of a stellar record. I’m sure this is not easy for the students, the parents nor the individuals charged.”

City school officials and the defendants are cooperating, McQuade said. They all were 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.

The charges angered retired federal Judge Steven Rhodes, who is serving as the transition manager for Detroit Public Schools.

“I cannot overstate the outrage that I feel,” he said. The school system has suspended business with Shy and all of his companies.

School officials also have put new policies in place related to purchases, such as suspending all purchases by individual schools and requiring all school-based purchases to have central office approval.

“We want do whatever is necessary to prevent this from happening again,” Rhodes said.

The six principals who are current employees have been placed on unpaid administrative and replaced with new interim leaders, he said. The other principals already have left the district.



Leftist Destruction Update: 93% Of Detroit Public School 8th Graders Not Proficient In Reading – 96% Not Proficient In Math

Detroit Public Schools: 93% Not Proficient In Reading; 96% Not Proficient In Math – CNS

In the Detroit public school district, 96 percent of eighth graders are not proficient in mathematics and 93 percent are not proficient in reading.

That is according to the results of the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress tests published by the Department of Education’s National Center for Educational Statistics.

Only 4 percent of Detroit public school eighth graders are proficient or better in math and only 7 percent in reading. This is despite the fact that in the 2011-2012 school year – the latest for which the Department of Education has reported the financial data – the Detroit public schools had “total expenditures” of $18,361 per student and “current expenditures” of $13,330 per student.

According to data published by the Detroit Public Schools, the school district’s operating expenses in the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2014 amounted to approximately $14,743 per student.

Nationwide, only 33 percent of public-school eighth graders scored proficient or better in reading in 2015 and only 32 percent scored proficient or better in mathematics.


In 2015, 21 large urban school districts participated in the NAEP tests in reading and mathematics as part of what the Department of Education calls its Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA). Among these 21 districts, the Detroit Public Schools had the smallest percentages of eighth graders scoring proficient or better in reading and math.

In reading, the Cleveland public schools were next to last among the large urban school districts with only 11 percent scoring proficient or better. Baltimore and Fresno were tied for third worst with only 13 percent scoring proficient or better; and Philadelphia ranked fifth worst with only 16 percent scoring proficient or better.

The Cleveland public schools also ranked next to last in math, with only 9 percent of eight graders scoring proficient or better. Baltimore and Fresno were also tied for third worst in math, with only 12 percent scoring proficient or better; and Los Angeles ranked fifth worst with 15 percent scoring proficient or better in math.

The Department of Education has published fiscal information on the Detroit public schools for the 2011-2012 school year. That year, the Detroit Public Schools had total expenditures of $1,231,375,000, equaling $18,361 per student. That included $13,330 per student for current expenditures, $3,182 for capital outlays, and $1,737 for interest on the school system’s debt.

$271,358,000 of the school district’s funding for the 2011-2012 school year came from the federal government.


The $13,330 for “current expenditures” included $515,473,000 for “instructional expenditures,” $133,282,000 for “student and staff support,” $97,800,000 for “administration,” and $147,411,000 for “operations, food service” and other expenses.

The Detroit Public Schools’ Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2014 says the school district served “an estimated 48,905 students” during that fiscal year. “Of the District’s total operating expenditures of approximately $721 million, 48 percent or approximately $346 million, was spent on instruction for the year ended on June 30, 2014,” said the report.

The approximately $721 million in total operating expenditures the school district reported for fiscal 2014 equaled approximately $14,743 for each of the district’s 48,905 students.



Leftist Incompetence Update: Unfinished Prison Costs Detroit $1.2 Million Per Month

Liberals Built This: Unfinished Prison Costs Detroit $1.2 Million Per Month – Weasel Zippers


This is liberal control.

Via Fox News:

A prison in downtown Detroit that was deemed too expensive to complete is now a construction site frozen in time that still costs cash-strapped local taxpayers more than $1 million a month.

It was supposed to be a state-of-art lockup in the heart of the Motor City, but four years after breaking ground, with construction costs totaling $150 million and no end in sight, the city pulled the plug on the project four years ago.

Now, the Wayne County Jail sits empty among the ruins of a bankrupt city, costing taxpayers upwards of $1.2 million in debt service and monthly upkeep costs for electricity, security, sump pumps – and even off-site storage for pre-fabricated jail cells that will never be used.

Keep reading



Detroit Resident Melinda Brown Duncan Has A Few Words For The Politicians Who Run Her City (Video)

Detroit Woman’s Rant Was So Powerful People Think She Should Run For Mayor – TellMeNow


Meet Melinda Brown Duncan, a Detroit resident who’s had it up to her eyeballs with the efforts – or lack thereof – of local politicians to fix up the city. In perhaps one of the most comically honest rants ever given, Ms. Duncan now even has people calling for her to run for mayor.

Duncan starts off by explaining how local politicians are out of touch with reality as they don’t experience the same hardships endured by their constituents. Instead of living it up in their posh environments, all paid for by tax payers, Duncan suggests that maybe they should come and take a peek what it’s like living in the “real” Detroit.


She then suggests that police officers need to pay more – as they put their lives on the line – as maybe such an adjustment may add to law enforcement efficiency. Saying that she doesn’t know anything about politics, Duncan does say that if no one can run the city properly, she’d be more than willing to handle the task at hand.

Duncan’s rant was so powerful that people have even started calling for her election and have even already began making campaign shirt. Although they’re more than likely sarcastic in nature, some are arguing that Duncan could, in all reality, probably run the city better than those currently in charge.




Detroit Police Chief speaks on self-defense

God bless this man

Detroit Police Chief James Craig is getting national attention for encouraging residents to arm themselves for their own self-defense.

Craig is featured on the cover of the NRA magazine America’s 1st Freedom. In the cover story, the chief insists he’s not responsible for a recent slew of self-defense shootings. Since January, there have been seven incidents of homeowners shooting intruders. Six resulted in death.

Craig says the shooting began to increase before he started the job in 2013. “More and more Detroiters are getting sick of the violence,” Craig says. “I know of no other place where I’ve seen this number of justifiable homicides.”

Craig adds, “We’re not advocating violence. We’re advocates of not being victims.”


Man Detroit is getting really dangerous for thugs

Here is a hint to bad people. Do not break in someone house, or you might end up dead from lead!

The criminal class in Detroit doesn’t appear to be getting any smarter, but it is certainly continuing to get smaller.

Police say a Detroit homeowner opened fire on two home invasion suspects Wednesday morning, fatally wounding one.

Detroit police Sgt. Michael Woody says the two 19-year-old suspects, a male and a female, broke into the home on the 19000 block of Asbury Park just before 6 a.m. Woody says the 47-year-old homeowner fired several shots with a rifle, striking both suspects after they broke a window and tried to get in.

The male was transported to a local hospital and pronounced dead, Woody says. The female suspect was struck in the leg, transported and listed in critical condition.

The homeowner wasn’t injured.

The Wayne County prosecutor’s office is expected to review the incident, but Woody says it appears to be another case of a Detroit homeowner defending his property.

Leftist-Run Detroit Plans Mass Water Shutoffs Over $260M In Delinquent Bills

Detroit Plans Mass Water Shutoffs Over $260M In Delinquent Bills – Detroit News

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department has a message for Detroit residents and companies more than 60 days late on their water bills: We’re coming for you.


With more than half of the city’s customers behind on payments, the department is gearing up for an aggressive campaign to shut off service to 1,500-3,000 delinquent accounts weekly, said Darryl Latimer, the department’s deputy director.

Including businesses, schools and commercial buildings, there are 323,900 Detroit water and sewerage accounts; 164,938 were overdue for a total of $175 million as of March 6. Residential accounts total 296,115; 154,229 were delinquent for a total of $91.7 million.

The department halts cutoffs through the winter because of complications associated with freezing temperatures, such as damaged pipes. But this spring, a new contractor has been hired to target those who are more than two months behind or who owe more than $150 — twice the average monthly bill of $75.

The department says it’s now ready to “catch up” with cutoffs halted because of the unusually harsh winter weather. DWSD is looking to show there are consequences associated with not paying water bills, Latimer said.

“Not everyone is in the situation where they can’t afford to pay,” he said. “It’s just that the utility bill is the last bill people choose to pay because there isn’t any threat of being out of service.”

People pay up more when they see the department out cutting off water to neighbors, and the statistics bear that out, officials said. In July, for example, before contractors started on the shutoffs, the department cut off 1,566 customers. That month, it collected $149,000 in water bills.

Extra contractors started working on cutoffs last summer. Attheir peak in October – before cold weather caused a halt to the disconnects – 3,700 cutoffs occurred. The department collected more than $350,000 in overdue bills that month. That number of cutoffs translated to more than double for warm weather months compared to last year.

“We’re trying to shift the behavioral payment patterns of our customer base right now,” said Constance Williams-Levye, DWSD commercial operations specialist. “And so aggressively we’ll have a team of contractors coming in, in addition to our field teams.”

Up to 20 additional contractor crews are expected to be employed working on the cutoffs, DWSD officials said.

The department bills monthly and sends out notices when bills are overdue. When an account is more than 60 days late, a notice goes out saying service could be cut, Latimer said.

Residents don’t necessarily have to move out but Latimer said there were instances, in the case of households with children, where the department of social services will come in and say the kids will be removed from the home if water is not restored.

“Usually folks will then come in and make some kind of arrangement,” Latimer said.
Long-overdue effort

Department officials say the initiative is unrelated to Detroit’s bankruptcy restructuring and is simply a renewed effort to remedy a longstanding problem. The fear of being stuck with Detroit’s delinquencies, however, has kept suburban leaders from embracing a regional water authority proposed by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said the department should have started being more assertive in its collections years ago.

“It’s all about the management responsibility,” Hackel said. “If they’re just getting around to it now, what were they doing before? Collections are just part of a system that’s been neglected for years.”

On Monday, the department is scheduled to send mailings to thousands of customers warning if their overdue water balances aren’t paid, the bill would be considered a property tax lien and could result in foreclosure.

Communities pay a combination of a fixed amount per month as well as an amount for every thousand cubic feet of water – or every 7,480 gallons. Detroit residents, on average, pay about 25 percent less than suburban water customers.

The department also is tightening a policy that allows customers to make multiple partial payments on overdue accounts. That creates a situation in which some go in and out of delinquency status, Latimer said. Plans call for allowing an overdue customer only one payment arrangement per year.
Suburbs remain reluctant

Orr has been trying to convince suburban officials – without success – to buy into the concept of a regional authority that would take over operations and responsibilities of the utility.

In return for greater control of operations, the authority would pay $47 million a year to the city.

Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano has supported the concept of a regional authority. But Hackel and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson have balked at the proposal, in part over concerns that their customers would end up taking on the cost of Detroit’s widespread delinquencies.

This month, Orr sent notices to the three counties on ending negotiations until the suburban leaders gain a consensus on a regional authority creation.

Orr said he is actively moving ahead with a second plan – selling the city-owned system or leasing it to a private management firm. Orr told The Detroit News on Wednesday he will send out requests for information in a couple of weeks or sooner gauging interest from private operators.

He says the regional authority plan was a good deal for everyone – including suburban customers – but recognizes that it isn’t going to happen.

Orr said the regional plan would benefit Detroit by generating about $47 million a year in lease payments to the city. The second plan would generate some $72 million a year through lower interest rates, but that money would go only to the water system, not the city.

Improved collections of delinquent Detroit accounts would be helpful, said Robert Daddow, Oakland County’s deputy county executive.

But far too many questions remain over issues including pension liabilities, cash flow and infrastructure and capital improvements, he said.

“Shutting of the water certainly sends a message,” Daddow said. “But this certainly isn’t just the people who will not pay; it’s the people who cannot pay because they don’t have the income level that would enable them to do so.”

In talks regarding the authority, some have asked whether the state could help low-income individuals with water bills. There are statewide programs to help people with their heating bills, for example, including The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW), a Detroit-basednonprofit that helps people pay heating bills.

“Why not have something equivalent for water and sewer?” Daddow said. But no such program is currently on the table.

Customers end up paying higher rates on bills for those from whom the utility can’t collect. Detroit residents and businesses – retail customers of the department – pay for negligent accounts in Detroit. Suburban customers pay for noncollectable accounts in the suburbs, Latimer explained.

Suburban communities add charges for their customers in addition to the wholesale rate billed by the Detroit water department to cover infrastructure and operating costs.
Long-term delinquents

The department has been working with Detroit Public Schools for years over delinquent accounts. DPS has a current overdue balance of $2.2 million, department officials say, down from a high of $12 million in 2012.

DPS disputes that number, but has been making monthly payments of nearly $1 million under a payment plan approved in October.

The department also continues to work collecting from suburban communities with delinquent accounts.

The department filed a federal lawsuit in November against Highland Park. The city has racked up $17.4 million in sewerage bills and an additional $1.6 million in water bills, according to DWSD. Last month the city removed the case from the federal courts and filed in state court “where it may be a faster process to gain relief,” according to the department.

The city of Inkster has an outstanding balance of nearly $1.2 million as of this month. But the city is paying on the current bill and making additional monthly payments, said Mathew Kannanthanam, a commercial operations specialist with DWSD. The city entered into a payment plan in April to pay the balance off by June of 2016, according to DWSD.

Melvindale also has an outstanding balance of nearly $1.1 million in water and sewerage bills.

The department is also owed more $670,000 from companies in Redford, Dearborn and Macomb Township for pollutant surcharges related to food and other processing disposals. Detroit-based Uncle Ray’s Snacks owes more than $676,000 in pollutant surcharges.

The company has agreed to a payment plan, according to DWSD records.

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Related article:

Bankrupt Detroit Pays $32 To Process A $30 Parking Ticket – Independent Journal Review

I could be wrong, but I think I’ve uncovered Detroit’s financial problem: The bankrupt city pays $32 to issue and process a $30 parking ticket. Obviously, they need to issue more tickets to make up the difference.

Not only is the city paying $32 to issue and process a $30 parking violation, it hasn’t adjusted rates since 2001. Even worse? Half of Detroit’s 3,404 parking meters are out-of-order at any given time.

Bill Nowling, spokesman for Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, says:

“It’s another example of the old, antiquated system and processes the city has that creates impediments for anyone trying to do their job.”

Detroit is considering a proposal from restructuring consultants to bump its current parking fines of $20, $30 and $100 per ticket to a two-tiered structure of $45 and $150.

Proving once again that government will never run like corporate America. Can you imagine owning – or working for – a company that not only loses money on every product it sells, but continues to do so for 13 years? Yeah, me neither.

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