The Latest: Principal facing charges was on DeGeneres' show
Mar. 29, 2016
DETROIT (AP) — The Latest on the Detroit Public Schools district (all times local):
A Detroit elementary school principal charged in a bribery scheme appeared last month on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" to accept $500,000 in donations to the school from a home improvement store.
Ronald Alexander was charged Tuesday as part of a federal corruption investigation unrelated to the donation from Lowes. He's among 13 current or former school administrators facing charges.
In an episode that aired in February, Alexander, teachers and students were shown at Spain Elementary celebrating DeGeneres' announcement that Lowes would contribute $500,000 toward renovations, new computers and other needs. There have been complaints of mold and other issues at Detroit school buildings.
DeGeneres started a GoFundMe page. Pop star Justin Bieber announced that a $1 of every ticket sold to an upcoming show in the Detroit area would go to Spain Elementary.
Authorities say the 74-year-old owner of a suburban supply business received $2.7 million from Detroit's public schools in a bribery and kickback scheme involving 13 current and former school administrators.
U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said Tuesday that the school officials were paid more than $900,000 in cash, gift cards and checks.
Allstate Sales owner Norman Shy, of Franklin, and 61-year-old district assistant superintendent Clara Flowers are charged with conspiracy to commit bribery and tax evasion. A dozen principals also are charged with conspiracy to commit bribery.
McQuade says fraudulent invoices for chairs, paper and other supplies were submitted. Some supplies were never delivered. In other cases the amount delivered was less than ordered.
The Associated Press left a message seeking comment from Shy. No listing was found for Flowers.
Federal authorities say more than a dozen current and former Detroit Public Schools district officials are facing charges — including bribery — following a corruption investigation.
U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade and officials with the FBI and the IRS plan to discuss details of the indictments at a Tuesday afternoon news conference.
The U.S. attorney's office in Detroit says those facing charges include 12 current and former principals, an administrator and vendor.
Earlier this year, a former Detroit high school principal pleaded guilty to accepting nearly $60,000 from a company hired to perform tutoring services. She faces three years or more in prison, although cooperation with investigators could get her a shorter sentence.
Another woman pleaded guilty to conspiracy and admitted paying bribes to the principal in exchange for her company getting work.
Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law $48.7 million in emergency funding to keep the Detroit Public Schools open through the end of the school year.
The governor says the spending legislation enacted Tuesday shows the district's challenges "aren't just Detroit's problem, they are concerns for all of Michigan."
The state's largest school district was in danger of starting to run out of money in April.
The $48.7 million is a stopgap measure while the Republican governor presses the GOP-controlled Legislature to enact a $720 million restructuring plan to split the district in two and pay off operating debt over a decade.
Separately, federal officials on Tuesday afternoon say they plan to announce charges involving several current and former Detroit Public Schools officials.