The executive director of a Brooklyn preschool was busted for using $220,000 in school funds to finance her "online personal counseling services" and a string of luxury Audi-8 sedans, according to state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Until yesterday, Silvia Kuper ran the Therapy and Learning Center in South Slope, a non-profit that provides preschool and early intervention services for children both with and without special needs. In addition to repaying the $220,000 she mishandled between 2007 and 2012, Kuper will also owe an additional $20,000 to cover the cost of the attorney general's investigation.
“It’s sad any time my office finds evidence of self-dealing by those who work in and lead New York’s important not-for-profit sector organizations. But charging personal expenses on the backs of children, particularly those with disabilities, is beyond the pale,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “Ms. Kuper will be required to repay hundreds of thousands in charitable dollars she stole for herself, and she’ll be permanently barred from running any New York charity—whether a school or any other organization that serves New Yorkers.”
The investigation found that Kuper used the TLC's corporate American Express card to charge more than $130,000 in fees on "personal counseling services websites" which had "no legitimate business purpose." (The Daily News contends that these "services" were psychics.) She also leased a series of Audi A8 4.2 Quattro sedans for $1,300 per month on the school's dime, which, though she was in fact authorized to lease a car, were found to be a tad over the top. You have to pity the sybaritic schoolmaster—after shelling out $130,000 on psychics, you'd have thought she could see this coming.