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Ex-Principal Takes Plea Deal in Embezzlement Case

Michael Greening, a Royal Oak resident, pleads guilty to one count of embezzlement in Oakland County Circuit Court.

The former Royal Oak High School principal who was charged with with taking funds from Royal Oak's student activities account has accepted a plea bargain.

Michael Greening, 46, of Royal Oak, pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement of more than $1,000 but less than $20,000 as part of a negotiated plea deal he struck in Oakland County Circuit Court today.

As part of the plea bargain, a second embezzlement count was dismissed, as were two alternative counts. Judge Shalina Kumar ordered a sentencing hearing to be held on Jan. 22 at 10 a.m.

When asked if he had come into possession of money belonging to student accounts and used it for his personal use, Greening, under oath, answered, “Yes.”

Greening resigned from all employment with the school district in June.

As part of the negotiated deal, Greening has agreed to pay $25,880 in restitution. Costs for legal and accounting fees are still subject to determination at a future hearing.

Because Greening has no prior convictions, the sentencing guidelines are low—probation to six months jail time. Assistant Prosecutor Robert Novy did not offer a position on sentencing in court.

Under the law, after five years, Greening is eligible to apply for an expungement proceeding, which allows a person with a single criminal conviction to make his or her records unavailable. 

Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin provided this statement:

Our commitment has always been to an objective, thorough, complete, and fair process to resolve this very sad situation. Our internal investigation, the work of external auditors, the police investigation, and the prosecutor's office all came to the same conclusion. Mr. Greening's admission of wrongdoing and his guilty plea move us towards final resolution.   

Since January 3, 2012, Royal Oak High School has been under the leadership of Mr. Jim Moll, interim principal. This school year, enrollments in Advanced Placement Courses are at an all-time high, and new supports for students at risk of failure have been implemented. Student achievement is increasing. The school is moving forward. Mr. Moll's service as our interim principal will continue through June 30, 2013. In January 2013, we will begin the hiring process for our next principal.

RO Raven Family December 11, 2012 at 07:55 PM
This was a long painful road that Greening put this community and school community through to cop a plea at this point. He may have preserved a speck of respect if he owned up to it at the beginning. I do believe Greening was a good guy, who made some terrible decisions. Besides pilfering the money, his worse decision was allowing students to support him at the beginning of this process. Shame on him for that.
RO Raven Family December 11, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Let's also remember that his innocent family is still a part of our community, and will need some support and friendship going forward.
Marianne Mallory Hurley December 11, 2012 at 08:28 PM
So after a year of denials and claims of being "set up" we finally know the truth, St. Michael is a thief. His actions have caused irreparable rifts between teachers, students and community members and he will most likely only get probation. So much damage, for what? I have a great deal of sympathy for his daughters who have bravely kept their heads up throughout this ordeal, many adults would not have done as well. They do deserve school and community support.
Reddest Wing December 11, 2012 at 09:29 PM
I agree, this dragged on for a year!!! He b.s.'ed everybody. All the support of his former students (that he SHAMELESSLY ripped off) boo hoo for his reputation and family, He obviously didn't give a rip about any of that as he stole from the very kids he claimed to care so much about. I had a bad feeling about all this and unfortunately my kids were brainwashed into supporting him too. Well, here ya go kids....a real life lesson for sure. Good riddance Mr. Greening!!
Linda Barnhart December 12, 2012 at 12:10 AM
This is a sad day for Royal Oak Schools. If there were a bookkeeper still there this would not have happened. However, the administration felt this position was not needed. Have you learned this lesson yet. Don't cut and overload those who can't handle money.
Carmella December 12, 2012 at 01:44 AM
1st He took funds that did not belong to him 2nd he took money from the students 3rd He stood back and said nothing to his supports, he should have been man enough to admit his guilt 4th There was a walkout at the high school because of him, not to mention it was known for days. Did this man try to stop it? NO . 5th He plead bargain , so he only has to pay back what a 10th of what he stole from the CHILDREN of Royal Oak. My daughters cheer team raise $1500.00, washing cars only to be told the money had to go into a general fund! Where did that money go? Why don't you and his followers have a fund raiser for him and pay back all the money. One last thing you act like you are praising him for keeping quiet, You are right we all make mistakes, steal from children or the general population is not one of them
Tyler Scott Bain December 12, 2012 at 02:58 AM
This man helped me throughout hight school and at one point I used to look up to him as a hero. Today, I see a liar, a cheat, and a mulipulator who will do anything to stay superior in today's society. At one point I was I very valued member of Royal Oak High School and I can clearly see where he would have/could have taken his own personal cut in profits. Royal oak high school is too trusting of its students and forgets that when it comes to money; there are a lot of rules and regulations. If you steal for a high school community you are robbing many brilliant minds from being successful. I myself am a dropout from ROHS. I have no regrets throughout my high school career. But to all those who strived to become successful people in today's society; it is unfair to see those abusing their power for personal gain. Our students are today's future; stripping them of money/opportunities is not only unfair to those students, but it is detrimental to those students who have a chance at making this world a beautiful, sustainable place for humans to live.
Jules December 12, 2012 at 03:59 AM
Pasternak, do you want to take a crack in defending how Greening let his wife go before the school board, and letting her make a weeping plea of his innocence, and how the school district were the bad guys. If he put me in a similar position........well, I'll leave it at that. A real man wouldn't let a loved one be put in that position. It's one thing to embarass yourself, it's another, when you involve others in your dishonesty.
Anon December 12, 2012 at 09:34 AM
You have to say your guilty to take a plea people. I'd rather say I did something and take a lesser charge even if i didn't do it. And the student council members we're stealing money here and there my entire 4 years at royal oak. (probably where the money actually went)
Bill December 12, 2012 at 01:02 PM
He may do a happy dance for avoiding any real jail time, but then he has to go home and look into the eyes of a woman who’s children he embarrassed, and who he allowed to make a fool of herself. Yeah - no, that’s not going to go well. He’d have been better off taking the jail time... Oh hey, you can hire him as a consultant to help your child navigate the path into college...?! I bet he has some really cool, "outta-the-box" ideas on how to pay for that college education, too!
Carmella December 12, 2012 at 01:44 PM
why was my post flagged at inappropriate? Does the truth hurt
l.c. December 12, 2012 at 03:09 PM
1 year probation-what to bet? they had the proof but gave him slack-really promotes justice.
Wayne Leichliter December 12, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Lucky for him that he has a rich mother-in-law. From Lost Respect
Bill December 12, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Not "flagged," but could be. All of the comments have the option of being flagged.
Jody December 12, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Greening having his wife cry innocence is "B.S. by proxy". I still wonder why this highly paid administrator was having financial problems. Drugs, alcohol, or gambling addictions come to mind. So sad.
Jody December 12, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Money can't buy ethics, morals, or respect!
Erich Von Zipper December 13, 2012 at 05:47 PM
What has the board and admin done to keep this from continuing to happen? He may have been the one caught in the cookie jar but I doubt Greening was the only one.
Jaime Simms December 13, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Why hasn't Greening's secretary been reprimanded or disciplined, too. She took a deposit from the athletic coach near the end of the day and just put it in the safe without counting it, because it was time to punch out. When she counted it in the morning, it was $1000 short. In between putting it in the safe and counting it the next morning Greening did his dirty work. Can you imagine handling money that way at a bank? If she counted and verified the money as soon as the athletic coach gave it to her, it would have provided a check and balance preventing Greening from stealing. She should be suspended for her inaction.
Jaime Simms December 13, 2012 at 06:51 PM
btw.....this was according to her testimony in court.
Carmella December 14, 2012 at 05:41 PM
I think he needs to do community service. like wash the windows at the Boys and Girls club, Serve food to the needy at Harbor Light, or help clean the parks in the spring. One last thing my neighbor granddaughter lost her I pod, a teacher found it gave it to Mr Greening, when she went to claim it he asked the color she told him sliver, he told sorry this one is blue. The girl's father went to the school with no luck. Mr greening if you have it give it back.
xhb December 20, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Man, did Greening fool his supporters, or what? And yes, back in March his wife called the investigation "a farce" and that the board had "made a mistake" (see below). I can't blame his lawyer for the delay tactics though - this all ended up in a plea bargain and no jail time, and by stringing it out most everyone has forgotten about all of this. (do you think if this plea deal happened in March there would only be about 20 responses?).If anyone else stole over $25K anywhere else, do you think we would be able to simply pay it back and avoid jail time? Wife Calls Investigation of Royal Oak High School Principal a 'Farce' March 8, 2012 http://royaloak.patch.com/articles/principal-s-wife-calls-investigation-a-farce Beth Greening, speaking during a public comment period, told board members the situation has taken a toll on her entire family, including the couple’s two daughters who are students at Royal Oak High School. She called the investigation a farce. “Please don’t give me the response that it is not in your hands and that it must run its course because at any time it is within your power as the School District of Royal Oak to say, ‘We have made a mistake,’ but you won’t," Greening said. Also ... “For 14 years, Michael has invested his entire life to the School District of Royal Oak as if it was one of his children.
Reddest Wing December 20, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Only 22 comments, where are all the Save Greening sheeple?
RAM December 20, 2012 at 05:06 PM
I'm curious as well, where are all of St.Michael of Royal Oak's followers now that he is a proven thief and liar? They defended him with a vigor worthy of a cult leader.
xhb December 21, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Right, especially the supporters who were quick to remind, "innocent until proven guilty"...now where are they? On to something else. Merry Christmas Michael Greening! You already received your Christmas gift from your attorney and the judge. Count your blessings.
Bill December 21, 2012 at 11:19 PM
I was one of those who suggested we withhold judgement and let the process run it's course. Not that I was defending him. But out of respect for his kids, I was willing to withhold judgement and give him the benefit of the doubt. Though, admittedly, there was little doubt. His wife pretty much hung herself out to dry with her calculated attempt at garnering emotional support through her tearful outburst at the board meeting.

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