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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Former EAA principal, 2 others indicted in alleged kickback scheme

Mumford High School is one Detroit school already under the EAA's control.
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Mumford High School set to close

A federal grand jury in Detroit has indicted a former Education Achievement Authority principal, vendor and another person.

The indictment charges former Denby and Mumford High School principal Kenyetta Wilbourn-Snapp in a bribery and kickback scheme.

It alleges that Snapp granted almost $700,000 in after-school tutoring contracts to a company called Making A Difference Everyday (MADE).

The head of that company, Glynnis Thornton, allegedly then funneled money back to Snapp through a consulting firm run by the third defendant, Paulette Horton.

The federal charges include conspiracy, bribery, money laundering and tax charges.

The EAA is a state-run district for the lowest-performing schools, and one of Gov. Snyder’s major education initiatives. It’s been plagued with problems since starting up in 2012.

Detroit U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade called the charges “incredibly disheartening.” She praised the EAA’s “full cooperation,” but it’s not clear whether an FBI investigation into the EAA continues.

The district’s first chancellor, John Covington, resigned under a cloud in July 2014. Wilbourn-Snapp resigned that November.

Snyder spokesman Dave Murray called the charges “heartbreaking.”

“We appreciate the diligence of EAA auditors who uncovered these problems, and [current] Chancellor [Veronica] Conforme for setting in place safeguards to ensure that money intended for the classroom will be spent there,” Murray said in a statement. “It’s important that we now continue focusing on providing EAA children with the education they need to be successful.”

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