Skip to main content

Principals in slum-ravaged Detroit schools charged with $900,000 theft

Though they're well paid, cynicism takes over when the job becomes hopeless, says law prof

pic

A dozen Detroit principals and an administrator are accused of finding a way to bleed their struggling public schools of $900,000 — ordering chairs, writing paper and other supplies that in most cases were never delivered, even as investigators doggedly battled fraud in a district that lacks textbooks and even toilet paper.

Federal authorities say the bribery and kickback scheme started as early as 2002 and ended earlier this year. It is the latest in a string of embarrassing public corruption cases where elected officials and workers succumbed to the temptation of an easy dime left in a too-often unguarded public till.

“They stole from the children,” said an angry Ida Byrd-Hill, who had two children attending a Detroit high school in 2009 during the height of the alleged kickbacks.

“We keep forgetting that these schools belong to the citizens of Detroit,” she said. “They don’t belong to Detroit Public Schools. They don’t belong to the principals. Everybody has forgotten who they work for. They work for the parents.”

Mostly middle aged, the 13 schools officials charged last month with conspiracy to commit bribery had salaries far above what the average Detroiter takes home. But a public records search by The Associated Press showed some faced bankruptcies, tax liens and other personal financial troubles just prior to or during the time they are accused of receiving kickbacks from longtime district supply vendor Norman Shy, 74.

This article continues at [The Stream] Principals in Troubled Detroit Charged With Kickbacks

Back to top