Sunday, October 18, 2015

Detroit Public Schools: When Ghetto-Fab Goes Horribly Wrong

When ghetto-fab goes horribly wrong.

It somewhat reminds me of the scene in Superman III where Richard Pryor, a computer hack, gets busted as the one who embezzled only because he went out the next day and bought a flashy sports car and burned rubber in the parking lot.

It seems Ms. Willbourn was in a similar, conspicuously consumptive state of mind when she purchased her Maserati with the customized license plate of GUICCI1.

Then, I guess, she took ghetto-fab to the next level and went out to tell everyone her attorney had a plea deal for charges that the FBI had yet to file.

For obvious reasons, her attorney quit, yet, Detroit Public Schools still suck, and the EEA is nothing more than a pilot model for revenue-maximization of non-profits through privatization of social programs.

Perhaps, one day, Michigan will have an intellectual enlightenment and figure out that maintaining the industry of poverty creates the culture of selling chattel.

Stay tuned.  This is a major election cycle in Detroit and something tells me the feds have a full schedule of events for 2016!

Fed corruption probe targets DPS, EAA officials

The FBI has launched a corruption investigation involving Gov. Rick Snyder’s K-12 reform district and Detroit Public Schools, the latest blemish for districts struggling with low test scores, falling enrollment and funding shortfalls.

FBI target in Detroit schools probe loses lawyer

Detroit — Ex-Mumford High School Principal Kenyetta “K.C.” Wilbourn, the target of an FBI corruption investigation, might have a plea deal, but she has lost the lawyer who negotiated it.
Detroit defense attorney Steve Fishman no longer represents Wilbourn following an interview the FBI target gave Thursday to a local newspaper, admitting she pocketed $58,000 in bribes and evaded taxes.

Fishman declined comment.

The development throws Wilbourn’s alleged plea deal into uncertainty. The News first reported Wednesday that FBI agents were investigating Wilbourn and other officials at Gov. Rick Snyder’s K-12 reform district and Detroit Public Schools. Agents are trying to determine if school contracts were awarded to vendors who paid kickbacks, sources told The Detroit News.

While Wilbourn said she had reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors, there is no plea deal filed in federal court. She also has not been charged with a crime, according to publicly available court records.

"While we cannot comment on this story, in general, we do not prohibit defendants from speaking to the press, and we do not withdraw plea offers to those who do,” U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Gina Balaya said.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Education Achievement Authority called Wilbourn’s admission Thursday that she pocketed $58,000 in bribes and evaded taxes a “betrayal of trust.”

The spokesman for the EAA, Snyder’s K-12 reform district, was responding to comments Wilbourn made to the Detroit Free Press.

“We cannot confirm the status of the FBI investigation, with which we have been cooperating,” EAA spokesman Robert Guttersohn wrote in an email Thursday. “However, if the statements that have been attributed to Kenyetta Wilbourn are true, they represent a betrayal of the trust that all families and students place in educators each and every day, and those involved should be held accountable.”
The News reported late Wednesday that while investigating Wilbourn, FBI agents seized more than $2,300 from contractor Allstate Sales’ bank account in November 2014.

The company is owned by Franklin resident Norman Shy, 73, a longtime contractor for Detroit Public Schools and the EAA, according to business filings. He also is resident agent of a second school contracting firm, World Wide Sales.

The EAA stopped using Shy’s firms late last year but DPS has continued to pay more than $126,000, according to public records.

Shy’s two education-based companies have received more than $1 million in recent years from DPS and the EAA.

The EAA stopped doing business with Allstate and Worldwide Sales in September after uncovering unspecified discrepancies and potential misconduct during a districtwide review of contracts and implementing tighter financial controls.

DPS, however, continued to pay the firm more than $126,000 since October 2014, according to the district’s financial records.

“The EAA ceased doing business with Worldwide Sales and Allstate Sales in September 2014 as we implemented new procurement policies,” Guttersohn said Thursday.

Shy has referred calls seeking comment to the FBI.

A DPS spokeswoman did not respond to a message seeking comment Thursday.

Meanwhile Thursday, authority Chancellor Veronica Conforme said allegations of a pay-to-play scandal, if true, “are appalling.”

“If true, they represent a betrayal of the trust that families place in us each and every day, and those involved will be held accountable for their actions,” she wrote in a staff-wide email Thursday.
Keith Johnson, a former president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, cautioned against a rush to judgment.

“Any time there may be a hint of impropriety, there’s a responsibility to at least investigate,” he said. “There should be a thorough investigation and if there is any impropriety, people should be dealt with in accordance with the law. Certainly if that involved money that should have gone to the classrooms instead of going into somebody’s pockets.”

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