6 Former School Officials Accused Of Stealing From Taxpayers
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Updated 08/22/12 – 4:51 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — The Cook County State’s Attorney has announced the indictment of six people – all accused of using their positions in Chicago area school districts to steal money from taxpayers.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports, among those indicted are Alex Boyd, 65, who was superintendent of District 147 schools in the Harvey-Dixmoor area for 11 years.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said Boyd is accused of misappropriating hundreds of thousands of dollars from the school district, including “improperly using his school district-issued credit card to make more than $50,000 in unauthorized purchases that included personal restaurant and grocery store purchases, renting formal wear, alcohol and women’s apparel.”
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports
Boyd is also accused of illegally converting his district life-insurance policy for cash, improperly selling back more than 500 vacation and sick days to boost his pay, and buying airline tickets to keep his secretary quiet about his misdeeds. Prosecutors said Boyd’s total take was $500,000 in illicit payments.
CBS 2′s Roseanne Tellez reports Boyd’s secretary, 58-year-old Mable Chapman, is accused of turning a blind eye to the corruption, in exchange for trips to California, Florida, Texas and Missouri on the district’s dime. She also allegedly used district employees to plow her driveway.
Harvey resident Lavoice McCoy said, “It’s a disgrace to leadership.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Chapman, after she failed to show up in court on Wednesday.
Another of those indicted is Louis James, 58, the manager of sports administration for the Chicago Public Schools.
Alvarez said James used a forgery scheme to cheat the school system, and get store credit at Costco to buy certain items for himself. Among those items, Alvarez said, were “champagne, flowers, chocolates, condoms, and a king-size mattress.”
The others charged include former Marhsall Middle School teaching assistant Sonia Lopez, 49; former City Colleges professor Carol Howley, 64; and former Kennedy-King College business and industry director Natatia Trotter-Gordon, 43.
“I think we are very pleased to report that corruption will no longer be a part of the curriculum at these schools and school districts victimized by these defendants,” Alvarez said.
These are the most recent indictments included in what Alvarez is calling the “Operation Cookie Jar” investigations.
The probe has netted 27 arrests since it began in 2010.