MDPS, police probe reported embezzlement

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison-Park News | Published April 13, 2023


MADISON HEIGHTS — Madison Heights police and officials with Madison District Public Schools are reportedly investigating a school employee who was fired after allegedly admitting to embezzling money from the district.

At press time April 12, the name of the individual had not been disclosed, nor was the amount of money stolen, but authorities said the person worked on the district’s finances.

In a letter to families, MDPS Superintendent Patricia Perry wrote that the employee spoke to her the morning of April 3 and confessed to the diversion of district funds for personal use.

The employee was immediately terminated from his position, and his termination was formally finalized by the MDPS Board of Education at its regularly scheduled meeting that evening.

“Following his termination, I immediately notified all proper authorities, including the Madison Heights Police Department, of the information disclosed,” Perry wrote in her letter. “As this is an ongoing investigation, I am unable to share further details at this time. I assure you, however, that the district and I are cooperating fully with law enforcement in the handling of this situation.

“Our district’s families deserve transparency, and I want to be open and honest about the challenges we face,” she concluded. “More than ever, I am committed to continuing our good work as a school community.”

Madison Heights Police Chief Corey Haines shared what he could in a phone call following the announcement.

“I can confirm that the superintendent did come to the police station and make a full police report regarding this embezzlement allegation,” Haines said. “I can’t release the name at this point, since there have been no formal charges or arraignment, but right now, we are conducting our own independent investigation, and one thing we’re waiting on is the school district’s own forensic audit of their financial records.

“We will consider the information obtained from the audit to determine if there are more potential allegations of embezzlement, or if it increases the amount allegedly embezzled,” he said. “Then we will proceed to send the case to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office for a determination of what charges might be issued.”

Cindy Holder, the president of the MDPS Board of Education, said the news saddens her.

“No one wins in this situation. (The suspect) doesn’t win. His family doesn’t win. Our kids in the district don’t win. We were trying to finally get ahead, trying to get things on track after some of the difficulties this district has experienced, and it seemed like we were finally making progress, only to be gut punched again,” Holder said.

“But quite honestly, I have just been so impressed with our new superintendent, Patricia Perry, and her assistant superintendent, Pam Vermiglio — they are moving us forward, and they’re not going to let this get in the way of providing a good, safe education for our kids,” Holder said.

The board president said her administration remains focused on a variety of projects, such as the return of the district carnival at the beginning of June, and various bond-funded improvements being made in the school buildings.

“Our families are going to see, in the next few months, more of the construction work going on in our schools as we renovate them,” Holder said. “Much of that work is inside the buildings right now, but there will be more outside soon. Some people think that when you don’t see hammers flying, nothing is happening, but that’s not true. People will see all the work taking place soon enough.”