DETROIT (WWJ) - The principal of a struggling Detroit school that recently received $500,000 in donations from Ellen DeGeneres is among those facing federal charges in a bribery and kickback scheme.
U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said Tuesday that Ronald Alexander, current principal of Charles L. Spain Elementary-Middle School, pocketed $23,000 in kickbacks from a Detroit Public Schools vendor of school supplies.
According to court filings, Alexander and 12 others allegedly conspired with Norman Shy, owner of Allstate Sales, in a scheme to submit invoices for supplies that were never delivered.
The total amount of bribes and kickbacks that Shy paid to the 13 school officials was approximately $908,518, according to McQuade. In exchange, Shy and his company allegedly received approximately $2.7 million from DPS.
This comes just over a month after — introduced by Ellen assistant Jeannie Klisiewicz as "the most amazing man" — a grinning, enthusiastic Alexander was seen on video thanking the TV talk show host for the money his school so badly needs.
View the clip from the Feb. 11 episode:
"Of all the people in the whole world, I am the happiest principal on Earth. I love you, we love you...This is the best!" Alexander said, before joining Ellen to announce the surprise donation to cheering students and staff.
DPS Transition Manager Steven Rhodes said Tuesday that Alexander ,along with and five other current DPS principals charged in case, have been placed on unpaid leave.
Rhodes said that he shares in the outrage over these principals' alleged conduct; and that, to ensure that this doesn't happen again, the district is implementing a list of checks and balances effective immediately.
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