Detroit-Area School Principal Charged with Embezzlement

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Teacher's deskTo some, Samuel Craig has been an excellent role model. But to prosecutors, and at least one member of his local school board, he's an embezzler. He may have a tough time avoiding the latter tag. On September 28, Craig, formerly assistant principal at Highland Park Community High School, near Detroit, was charged in 30th District Court, State of Michigan, with embezzlement from his union, the Highland Park Association of School Administrators, where he served as treasurer. Craig also was charged with using a fraudulent transaction device. 

According to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, Samuel Craig, 54, a resident of Belleville, Mich., illegally diverted more than $36,000 from the union to his own use during April 2009-March 2011. He allegedly acquired blank checks already signed by union officials who believed he would pay the organization's bills. But Craig wrote the checks to himself and deposited the money in his own account. Schuette's Public Integrity Unit initiated an investigation shortly after certain union officials discovered money was missing.

But Craig may have had an ulterior motive beyond economic betterment, argues Highland Park school board member Robert Davis. "We brought it to the attention of the attorney general once it was discovered that Mr. Craig was involved in alleged misconduct with union funds," he admitted. Davis insists Craig had political ambitions: "He was paying for personal legal fees for individuals he was trying to get elected to the board. He put on a very aggressive campaign to try to become the superintendent of the Highland Park school district." Currently out on bond, Craig says he is innocent of any wrongdoing. "I have no criminal history," he said. "I've served this community most of my life."

Samuel Craig's allies think the charges are out of character. Highland Park school board president Alma Greer called Craig "one of the nicest administrators I have known." Her husband, Edward Greer, added: "He speaks to the youth on a regular basis and is an excellent role model. He is very wise." Eventually, Craig will get his chance to prove he's not guilty as well as nice. He's set for a preliminary court examination on November 22. Two previous exam dates were postponed at the request of his attorneys.