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Former Madison Heights School Board President Charged In Bribery Scheme

(CBS DETROIT) -- The former president of the Madison District Public School Board of Education and a local district contractor are charged in connection with a $560,000 bribery scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Federal officials say Albert Morrison, 60, received payments from contractor John David, 64, in exchange for $3.1 million in school contracts.

"Children and their parents deserve a school system free of corruption," said U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison. "Today's indictment demonstrates our commitment to ensure that our educational systems put the interests of our kids first."

From 2014 through 2018, David allegedly wrote checks to Morrison's company, Comfort Consulting. The checks were then deposited to Morrison's personal account. A total of $561,667 in payments were made to the ex-school board president. Officials say the money was used for vacations to Florida and

From 2014 through 2018, Morrison also failed to declare to the IRS the payments he received from David to Comfort Consulting as income. He avoided paying about $118,000 in taxes, federal officials say.

Additionally, Morrison failed to disclose to the State of Michigan auditors the payments he received from David.

Officials say Morrison denied any financial ties to David after being confronted at a school board meeting. However, David admitted he had to "pay to play" and his company received about $3, 167,275 from the district during the bribery.

Both men are charged in a superseding indictment with conspiracy to commit bribery and also charged with three counts of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds.

The charges were added to an indictment filed on April 6, charging Morrison with tax evasion and failure to file tax returns.

If convicted, both men can face up to five years for the conspiracy charge and up to 10 years for each of the three counts of bribery.

Morrison could also face up to five years for the tax evasion charge and one year for the failure to file tax returns.

"It is important that contracts funded by our school systems be awarded through a fair and transparent process, not through deals funded by bribes to those in positions of power," said James A. Tarasca, special agent in charge of the FBI's Detroit Field Office. "The FBI prioritizes efforts to expose corruption and we will continue to aggressively investigate these allegations alongside our partners at the IRS and Department of Education Office of Inspector General."

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