Former President of the Madison District Public Schools Board of Education and a Local Contractor Charged in $560,000 Bribery Scheme
DETROIT - Albert Morrison, the former President of the Madison District Public Schools Board of Education and local school district contractor, John David, have been charged in a superseding indictment with conspiracy to commit bribery arising out of David’s payments of over $560,000 in bribes to Morrison in exchange for $3.1 million in school contracts to David, U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison announced today. The bribery charges were added to the indictment filed on April 6, 2022, that charged Morrison with tax evasion and failure to file tax returns in connection with his failure to report over $500,000 in income from David.
Ison was joined in the announcement by James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Michigan Division, Sarah Kull, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, and John Woolley, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Education, Office of Inspector General.
Albert Morrison, age 60, and John David, age 64, are charged in the superseding indictment as co-conspirators in a bribery conspiracy count, and they are each separately charged with three counts of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds. According to the indictment, Morrison was the elected President of the Madison District Public Schools Board of Education from 2012 through 2018. While Morrison was President, John David was one of the owners of a building maintenance and reconstruction company, Emergency Restoration (a/k/a Emergency Reconstruction), that was awarded over $3.1 million maintenance and construction projects in the Madison District Public Schools.
David, who was a long-time friend of Morrison, wrote checks from his company to Morrison’s solely owned company, Comfort Consulting, from 2014 through 2018. Morrison deposited the checks from David into his solely owned bank account. David, through his company, made at least $561,667 in payments to Morrison. David admitted he had to “pay to play” in the school district, and David’s companies received approximately $3,167,275 from the Madison District during the bribery conspiracy. Morrison spent the money from David on personal luxuries such as vacations in Florida and a boat slip.
To keep the payments secret from the school board and the community in the Madison Schools, Morrison, when publicly confronted at a Madison District school board meeting, denied having any financial ties to David or Emergency Restoration. Morrison and David also failed to disclose to State of Michigan auditors the payments Morrison received from David.
Morrison did not declare to the IRS David’s payments to Comfort Consulting as income in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, or 2018. In a further effort to conceal the payments from David, Morrison did not file a federal income tax return in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. By not declaring to the IRS the payments from David as income, Morrison avoided paying approximately $118,200 in taxes.
“Children and their parents deserve a school system free of corruption,” said United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison. “Today’s indictment demonstrates our commitment to ensure that our educational systems put the interests of our kids first.”
“It is important that contracts funded by our school systems be awarded through a fair and transparent process, not through deals funded by bribes to those in positions of power,” said James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. “The FBI prioritizes efforts to expose corruption and we will continue to aggressively investigate these allegations alongside our partners at the IRS and Department of Education Office of Inspector General.”
“Honest and law-abiding citizens are fed up with the likes of those who use deceit and fraud to unfairly line their pockets," said Special Agent in Charge Sarah Kull, Internal Revenue Service, Detroit Field Office. "Those individuals who engage in this type of financial fraud should know they will not go undetected and will be held accountable."
An indictment is merely an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. If convicted, Morrison and David face the following statutory maximum penalties: 5 years in prison for the conspiracy count and 10 years in prison for each of the three bribery counts against each of them. Morrison faces a statutory maximum penalty of 5 years in prison for each count of tax evasion and 1 year in prison for each count of failure to file tax returns. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, and the Department of Education. It is prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah Resnick Cohen, Karen Reynolds, and Gjon Juncaj.