Yesterday, Department of Education officials discovered a secretary had misused around $10,000 of high school funds for herself and her family. Today, the DOE reports that they've uncovered similar "financial irregularities and theft" at Public School/Middle School 149 in Harlem, except this time, the money wasn't all used: $10,000 of it was hidden around the school!
Officials say that former school business manager Katina Williams wrote more than $30,000 in checks payable to cash for unclear expenses, diverted the school funds into three bank accounts between 2005 and 2007, then apparently cashed them herself. Her frequent use of the checks "suggests a portion" of the money "was stolen." But Williams claims that she was following orders from Principal Shaniquia Dixon, and she called the DOE on Dixon: "It wasn't me; it was for her. All I was doing was following instructions. After I told her I wasn't going to do it anymore, I was ... fired from the school."
And to complete this trifecta of buffoonery and buck-passing, enter school aide Pearl Jones, who took over many of Williams' responsibilities after she was fired, including managing the school funds. Jones placed nearly $10,000 of cash-filled bags, boxes and cans in an unlocked filing cabinet in the school over the summer. She told investigators she'd had a busy June with no time to visit the bank and deposit the money, and she "figured" she would take care of it in September. But as any experienced thief will tell you, you always leave some money out in obvious places to throw off the scent of the hidden money. And since they left this money in the such an idiotically obvious place, they must have some real cash stored elsewhere. So start checking under your desks, PS 149!