No deal: Detroit principal chooses trial in corruption case

AP News
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Posted: Nov 02, 2016 3:20 PM

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit principal has turned down a plea deal in an alleged bribery scheme and wants to go to trial for accepting more than $40,000 from a contractor over 14 years.

A federal judge warned Josette Buendia about the possible consequences Wednesday. If convicted, her prison sentence could be longer than what prosecutors offered.

Defense attorney Kim Stout says Buendia didn't spend the money on herself. Stout says it was used for students at Bennett Elementary School. Trial is set for Dec. 12.

Thirteen people have pleaded guilty, including 11 Detroit principals and the contractor, Norman Shy.

The government says bogus invoices were submitted for paper and other supplies. In exchange, principals received gift cards, cash and checks from Shy. The alleged scheme cost the Detroit district nearly $3 million.