Principal of Detroit school that got $500K 'Ellen' gift charged in kickback scheme

He was recently on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to receive $500,000 for his struggling Detroit school, but now, Principal Ronald Alexander is facing federal charges in a scheme for bribery and kickbacks...

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He was recently on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to receive $500,000 for his struggling Detroit school, but now, Principal Ronald Alexander is facing federal charges in a scheme for bribery and kickbacks.

According to the court findings, Alexander, along with 12 others, conspired with Norman Shy, owner of Allstate Sales, in order to submit invoices for supplies that were never delivered, with Shy paying around $908,518 to the 13 different school officials in bribes and kickbacks, according to U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade.

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WWJ-TV in Detroit has additional details:

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.

The shocking news comes only a little over a month after Alexander appeared on the Ellen show and was introduced by Ellen assistant Jeannie Klisiewicz as “the most amazing man.” He received a $500,000 donation for his school, Charles L. Spain Elementary-Middle School.

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“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 on the show as he announced the donation.

Alexander, along with the other 12 school officials, have been placed on unpaid leave, according to DPS Transition Manager Steven Rhodes.

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Rhodes said that he was surprised and disgusted by the actions of the school officials and that a system of checks and balances was immediately being implemented to prevent this sort of scheme in the future.