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Testimony: Royal Oak Principal Took $11,000 from Student Funds

Court documents reveal details behind the embezzlement charges Michael Greening faces: Money was transferred from school accounts to high school principal's personal bank account.

Principal Michael Greening took more than $11,000 over two years from cash deposits intended for the school's student activities account, according to police testimony last week.

Greening on , each carrying a maximum five-year penalty and/or fines. He has been since Dec. 16 "due to the possibility of financial irregularities in student activities funds," according to Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin. Since that time little information has been released by the school district or .

Royal Oak Police Detective Keith Spencer testified Thursday in in Royal Oak that more than $6,000 worth of transactions in 2010 and more than $5,000 in transactions in 2011 were identified as being deposited into Greening's personal bank accounts or converted to his personal use from cash deposits made for the Royal Oak High School student activities fund.

The student activities fund includes money from variety of events, clubs and groups such as football, drama club, robotics, prom and the Spirit Club.

Spencer testified that he was told the only personnel who had access to the school's safes were Greening and his secretaries and that Greening had sole authority to remove or move funds around in the student activities accounts.

As an example, Spencer said that on Dec. 13, just three days before Greening was placed on leave, an athletic booster’s activity submitted a cash deposit to the main office for $1,243.73. It was noted that a deposit slip had been filled out and signed by Brian Gordon, the school's athletic director and assistant principal.

“The deposit was placed into one of two safes in the vault by the principal’s secretary, Lynne Staszak, to be counted later," Spencer testified. "When Ms. Staszak pulled the money out of the safe to count it, she noted the amount of cash in the deposit was significantly smaller than what it was when she has placed it in the safe."

After counting they money, she noted it was $1,000 short of the original submission.

Gordon noted that the deposit slip he filled out was missing and in its place was one written by someone else for $240.73.

On Dec. 14, a $1,000 transfer was signed by Greening moving money to the athletic boosters account from the student activities fund, according to testimony, and on the same day, a $900 cash deposit was made into Greening’s personal bank account.

The cash deposit into Greening’s personal account could not be traced to any other cash source known and available to Greening, Spencer said.

Spencer also testified about an April 15, 2010, transfer made and filed by Greening of $3,000 from the senior class account to the student activities fund. When teacher and senior class advisor Nanci Marek asked about shortage in the senior class account, Greening told her it was "for another purpose" and she did not investigate further, Spencer testified.

Gordon would not comment on the testimony, referring questions to the superintendent.

Other than cooperating fully with the Royal Oak Police Department and Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office, personnel of the district have remained silent on this matter.

"We have not released information or spoken about the case because of our commitment to the integrity of the investigatory process," said Lewis-Lakin.

Greening’s attorney, Paul Stablein, characterized Spencer’s testimony as a "summation of what the detective thinks he can prove." At a swear-to hearing, testimony does not have to be substantiated, he said.

“I still do not have any evidence,” Stablein said. He expects to receive it on Friday when the matter is back in the 44th District Court for the pre-exam conference.

“Until then, I can’t make any comment one way or another,” he said.

With the school district administration and police department mum during the investigation, the community has been hungry for any details, any reason for the allegations. 

Many students and members of the community have stood behind Greening since Lewis-Lakin sent a letter to the school's roughly 1,500 students and their families about placing Greening on leave and why. A Facebook page called Save Greening was quickly created and has grown to 764 "friends."

john doe April 25, 2012 at 11:28 AM
im sure you are at the top of your comp class, but this is not a class nor is it graded...besides 20 years from now everyone will typing in "text" language as it is quicker, and easily understood...
john doe April 25, 2012 at 11:31 AM
so these people got together, and took money out of greenings safe, re wrote deposit slips in his handwriting, then deposited cash into greenings personal accounts and transferred cash from one student activity account to another off of greenings laptop? wow these guys are good, maybe they should forget the education path, and go to the CIA
john doe April 25, 2012 at 11:52 AM
Kelly, they laid out a pretty simple chain of custody and event son the missing money.... it gets deposited with the principals secretary or himself directly, and a reciept with 2 copies is signed and dated... then the money goes into the principals private safe , then he personally is to deposit the cash... somewhere along that trip money is missing and deposit slips altered.... now in the accounts money was transferred from one student activity account to another to make up any short falls, but then shorting another account... simple logic
john doe April 25, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Funny Kelly, people like you are quick to judge a child molester on tv, but if you know the guy then you want to find some other answer.... again, he IS GUILTY of 1 issue of the other, EITHER embezzlement or negligence no way out of that when you are in charge and the kids are victimized
john doe April 25, 2012 at 12:00 PM
again he is not there to interact with students, he should be too busy this is the principals job: The school Principal serves as the educational leader, responsible for managing the policies, regulations, and procedures to ensure that all students are supervised in a safe traditional learning environment that meets the approved curricula and mission of the school. Achieving academic excellence requires that the school Principal work collaboratively to direct and nurture all members of the school staff hired by the Board and to communicate effectively with parents. Inherent in the position are the responsibilities for scheduling, curriculum development, extracurricular activities, personnel management, emergency procedures, and facility operations.
Pam Rusinowski April 25, 2012 at 01:18 PM
Shouldn't we wait until Mr. Greening has a trial and IF convicted, then issue punishment. NOT BEFORE!
KO April 25, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Thank you Mr. Gange, you nailed it :-)
KO April 25, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Sorry for the misspelling Mr. Gagne.
Anne Bennett April 25, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Whether he is guilty or not the charges brought against Greening will impact him and his family forever. There will always be questions regarding guilt or innocence. We all know that good people do bad things. Inconsistencies in chain of funds has been established in the Greening case and he has been charged with a crime. Whether you like Greening or not it does not matter. He has been charged with a felony and will have to defend himself in a court of law. I wish him luck, but if found guilty - throw the book at him. How arrogant. A person in his position taking advantage of a title and everything it is suppose to stand for.
Royal Oak Parent April 25, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Very well said Anne. Jane Doe, you can sit and critique John Doe about his use of "your" versus "you're", however, all students need to open their eyes about the facts in the case. It is just as John Doe said, the money was the responsibility of Mr. Greening. Along the lines, receipt forms have been altered, money missing, and his bank account saw a rise in money present the same day the money went missing. This money was the money of students and parents. Open your eyes! He could have been the greatest man in the world, but what he did was completely immoral and wrong. Unfortunately, he deserves everything that is thrown at him in terms of punishment.
Matt April 25, 2012 at 09:17 PM
This is total BS. hate to say it, but how the hell do you know these facts before the court releases them? How do you know hes guilty before its proven? Also somebody calling themselves John Doe then bashing my principle is halarious. By the way, its the Vice Principle who does the punishments. Anyways, this is a great time to say: Don't Believe everything you read on the internet. If your going to, make sure it has more than one source.
Kelly Geyer April 25, 2012 at 09:24 PM
@John Doe: I have thought about your posted comment to me at 8:03 this morning. I have attempted to remain positive in what has been and is becoming a very difficult situation for everyone involved. Especially for the staff, students and parents of the ROHS community. I have a right to my opinions Mr Doe just as you do. However, unless you personally know someone on this comment thread, please do not assume to know what I or anyone else thinks about another subject not related to this thread.
MS April 25, 2012 at 10:18 PM
I take issue with the fact that you quoted this website (http://www.napcis.org/PadrePioPrincipalJob.pdf) verbatim. I feel that if you are arguing about this topic so profusely, you should be familiar with the fact that Royal Oak High School is a public school, not an "independent Roman Catholic School" (the type of institution napcis.org is meant for). I guess I should be congratulating you on your ability to use Google in order to figure out what a principal does! You obviously know very little about what is going on in this situation; I highly doubt that you are an educator, parent or student. You may be a taxpayer concerned about the school funding that you contribute to, but the negligible amount of your taxes that were (or more likely were not) affected by this shouldn't even be an issue. That being said, please stop talking like you have some personal stake in this. Please stop blatantly criticizing a man who deserves the right to innocence until proven guilty, and a man who many people in the city of Royal Oak respect. And finally, please learn to use sources that accurately support your argument, because using a Catholic school's handbook for your definition of a principal's responsibilities is just plain embarrassing.
john doe April 26, 2012 at 12:22 AM
@MS... YOU & OTHERS DONT SEEM TO GET IT... HE cannot be found INNOCENT... that verdict is not an option to the judge or jury... he may be acquitted of the charges at best, but all that means is that the case presented to the jury was not beyond a reasonable doubt to convict.... not that he was innocent...
Alexandra Dulin April 26, 2012 at 01:39 AM
I trust that you all are aware that students have access to this page. I understand that individuals want to express their opinions, but you're not opening the eyes of a bunch of fourteen year-olds. You're confusing them even more, and causing more sadness and anger at the high school than would occur if you just kept quiet. Arguing and insulting each other like children proves nothing but your own willingness to sacrifice the reputation of a man who has yet to be proven guilty, while forcing a bunch of teenagers, who are attempting to deal with a severely disturbing incident, to watch a bunch of people who are supposed to be adults fight on anonymous online chat boards. You claim to express concern for the students, whether it is for their mental state or the money that is missing from their school. Well I'm a student, and I don't at all feel like adults care about me. I feel that they are more concerned about spouting their own misinformed and unsupported opinions, and attacking any one who has the audacity to disagree with their infallibility. You have the right to say what you want, but I ask you to consider whether or not what you say is going to do harm or good for the students, who are most affected by this incident and who you claim it's all about. Insulting someone's intelligence isn't going to find the missing money, and insulting someone's opinion isn't going to yield the verdict you desire.
john doe April 26, 2012 at 03:35 AM
theres no need to sugar coat things for students... this is a great learning experience....1, even the nicest people you may meet, even people in a position of power can be crooks...2, no matter how slick u may be, if you break the law, you will get caught ....3, if you do the crime, you will face consequences..... so hopefully the students do read these comment boards and see how much anger, concern, disparity and problems one man can cause by either stealing, or not doing his job...
Bill April 26, 2012 at 05:17 AM
Nicely stated Ms. Dulin. Regardless of the charges, Mr. Greening is entitled to his day in court, and until all the facts are available it would be prudent to tone down the rhetoric. If for no other reason than respect for Mr. Greening’s family and more specifically his children. This exchange of anonymous, and sometimes emotionally charged comments serves as a great example of why higher education is so important.
Bill April 26, 2012 at 05:41 AM
Mr Doe... “STEP THREE lock him up and throw away the key!” Really? What’s the lesson here?! By the way, good principals get out and about, and speak with the students and teachers these days. They tend to be more approachable, and connected with the student body. Don't read between the lines, now - I'm not making a judgment either way...
ROHS Hockey Fan April 26, 2012 at 11:13 AM
As stated in the above article..."On Dec. 14, a $1,000 transfer was signed by Greening moving money to the athletic boosters account from the student activities fund, according to testimony, and on the same day, a $900 cash deposit was made into Greening’s personal bank account. The cash deposit into Greening’s personal account could not be traced to any other cash source known and available to Greening, Spencer said." Hmmm..... People, this is, in fact, evidence that the ROPD has found over their 4 month investigation. Yes, it has to be proven in court. Looks like he's got a lot of explaining to do. Should be interesting.
Ronald Wolf April 26, 2012 at 06:08 PM
The mills in Royal Oak grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly small ( Milton). Meanwhile whats happening about the "big money" transferred ostensibly as campaign contributions from present and prospective principals and friends of downtown "sports bars" in RO's DDA to various council members? "Coincidentally" seeming to result in favorable decisions.
nofuture April 27, 2012 at 04:46 PM
After reading the comments made by the students in this thread, I am seriously considering private school for my child. The flaws in grammar, spelling and critical thinking are disappointing. Furthermore, it seems that the ethos of the students is to accept this crime against them, and defend the accused. I don't want my daughter institutionalized to tolerate crimes against her because they were perpetrated by an authority figure (allegedly).
KO April 28, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Not one student has stated that that they "accept this crime against them". They are expressing their support of an individual that they respect, and feel is incapable of committing the crimes of which he is accused. Also keep in mind, some of these students are friends of the accused daughters. As they have learned in their "public" school, the legal system must run its course. If the accused is found guilty, then he will be punished. But until that time, they will continue to hold their heads up high. As a poster above, so ineloquently put it, "good people do bad things." The students are not denying that. But until the prosecution had proven that in this particular case, we, along with the students, must just wait and see. You stated: "I don't want my daughter institutionalized to tolerate crimes against her because they were perpetrated by an authority figure (allegedly)." "Allegedly" is the key word here. Or perhaps placing the word in parentheses was your attempt at sarcasm. Perhaps you require a lesson in critical thinking from the students.
Kelly Geyer April 28, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Very well stated KO. The point is the students took a stand for their Principal and his family; righ or wrong, no judgemens or accusations just their support. The administration, at the high school and at the school administration building should also be commended for allowing the students the opportunity to express themselves. This has been very difficult on them as well as for the staff, teachers and parents of ROHS. The administration treated these young people with respect in allowing them the opportunity to express themselves in a very mature manner.
nofuture April 28, 2012 at 07:30 PM
If a good person does a bad thing- they cease to be a good person. Your rebuttal is unnecessarily combative and lacks substance. It's an issue of perspective. I am fine with you living your life as a victim and teaching your kids to do the same. I choose not to. Do you have any other Will Farrell movie quotes to support your well thought out and mature position?
Bill April 29, 2012 at 05:01 AM
I have found the comments made on this forum surprising. First, for the apparent lack of tolerance in our community. Yes, I’m very aware of the legal system and I understand the implications of what has transpired. Yet, there’s still the presumption of innocence and there’s always two sides to every story. This is coming from somebody who is neither a supporter nor detractor of Mr. Greening. The other aspect of these discussions that I have found surprising is how quickly the participants turn to personal attacks. Maybe it’s the result of years of watching our political “leaders” attack each other or all these mindless reality TV shows where the participants have the mental capacity of gnats...?
TJO April 29, 2012 at 02:32 PM
What I find most disturbing in all of this is that people are so caught up debating wheather Mike is guilty or not, they are missing the important part of all this. Fact is money is missing, we know that much. People should fucus more on accountability accross the board. This is not the school boards or administrations money but ours. The families of Royal Oak Schools. For years I've seen too many free passes handed out.
Cpt Dano April 29, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Hey what does fucus mean? Is that what greening did?
Anna McGuire May 07, 2012 at 11:48 PM
@ Bob Dobalima...zilch!
Preferring Anonymity May 12, 2012 at 03:38 AM
I'm sure you haven't forgotten that this is a public forum. Everyone can see it, children, family, even Michael himself if he wanted to see it. Just reminding you because some of these comments are extremely offensive.
Rebecca August 25, 2012 at 05:34 AM
At least you stopped pretending to be a student, Lexi. Errrr, I mean bob. That is how you know "she" posted from a phone, right? Oh, sorry for this "condescending rant." LMAO! :-)

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