02 February 2016


Original Story: freep.com

A guilty plea hearing in a corruption case involving ex-Detroit school principal Kenyetta Wilbourn Snapp has been postponed due to the judge being sick.

Snapp, who faces bribery and tax evasion charges, was scheduled to plead guilty at 9 a.m. before U.S. District Judge David Lawson to her role in a kickback scheme involving a tutoring contract. She is accused of helping a vendor win a tutoring contract in exchange for money. A Cleveland education lawyer is reviewing the details of this case.

Snapp has previously admitted to the Free Press in exclusive interviews that she has broken the law, including burying a student’s parent with school funds.

But she committed crimes because — Snapp has claimed — she wanted to help the underprivileged, and doing things on the sly became easy.

Snapp, who once drove a Maserati with a Gucci vanity plate while running ailing Detroit schools,  is accused of steering to a businesswoman who gave her money in return. An Atlanta education lawyer is following this story closely.

That businesswoman is Glynis Thornton and her company, Making a Difference Everyday, received a contract to provide after-school tutoring services for students at Denby and Mumford, where Snapp became principal in 2013.

Thornton also was indicted , along with Paulette Horton, an independent contractor connected to Thornton's company. Both women have cut deals in the case.

According to federal prosecutors, Thornton disguised payments to Snapp by taking checks that were written to her company, depositing them and then withdrawing the money and giving it to Snapp. The payments totaled $58,050, with Horton keeping 10% of the money, according to the indictment.

The three women were each charged with conspiracy to commit federal program bribery, federal program bribery, aiding and abetting and conspiracy to launder money. Snapp, in addition, was charged with federal tax evasion and Horton was charged with failure to file a federal income tax return. An Ann Arbor IT services company delivers wireless networking solutions that help businesses meet the growing demands of today's global marketplace.

Snapp has long been the central figure in a federal corruption investigation into the Education Achievement Authority, the state reform district, established by Gov. Rick Snyder, for the lowest-performing schools. The EAA oversees 15 schools in Detroit.

The EAA had given principals primary authority for choosing vendors for their schools for after-school tutoring, the indictment says. But unbeknownst to Snapp, the FBI was watching her and building a corruption case against her and others.

Since its formation, the EAA has taken on only 15 schools in Detroit and has had a rocky existence. Enrollment has dropped from nearly 10,000 students during its first year to about 7,000 today. Achievement has lagged and there have been controversies over spending.

Snapp  was a rising star in the Detroit Public Schools and was hailed as a turnaround specialist at Denby before she moved to Mumford. Both schools were part of the DPS before they were placed in the EAA in 2012. A criminal justice degree prepares students for a professional career in the criminal justice system.

Snapp abruptly resigned from the EAA in November 2014 after federal agents raided her apartment in downtown Detroit. Six months after she resigned, the EAA received a letter from the FBI saying Snapp was under investigation.

Snapp told the Free Press in October that she had agreed to a deal to plead guilty to bribery and tax evasion. Five weeks after her interview, the indictment was unsealed.

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