FOX 2 (WJBK) - The former president of the Madison District Public Schools district board of education was sentenced today to almost four years in federal prison after pleading guilty to accepting bribes from a local contractor and tax evasion.
Albert Morrison was sentenced to 45 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit federal program bribery from 2014 through 2018 and Tax Evasion, United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison announced Thursday.
Morrison was the elected president of the Madison District Public Schools Board of Education from 2012 through 2018.
While Morrison was president, his longtime friend John David was awarded over $3.1 million for maintenance and construction projects in the school district. David was one of the owners of a building maintenance and reconstruction company, Emergency Restoration.
Ison's office says David, who was a long-time friend of Morrison, paid Morrison more than $561,000 in order to secure the work for the Madison District.
Morrison spent the money from David on personal luxury items such as vacations in Florida and a boat slip.
To keep the payments secret from the school board and the community, Morrison denied having any financial ties to David or Emergency Restoration when publicly confronted at a Madison District school board meeting.
Morrison also failed to disclose to State of Michigan auditors the payments he received from David.
Ison's office said Morrison avoided paying approximately $118,200 in taxes after not declaring to the IRS David’s payments as income in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, or 2018.
"Today’s sentence underscores our continued insistence that our trusted public officials hold themselves to the highest standards of integrity and honesty. It sends a clear message that when public officials break that trust, they will be held accountable," Ison said. "This sentence ensures that school officials will put the interests of our children first and that those who accept bribes and evade paying taxes will answer for their crimes."
"Today, Mr. Morrison is being held accountable for the crimes he committed as president of the Madison District Public School Board," said Cheyvoryea, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. "We thank the IRS and Department of Education – Office of Inspector General for working alongside the FBI to investigate these allegations and expose Mr. Morrison’s corruption."
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 was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah Resnick Cohen, Karen Reynolds, and Gjon Juncaj.
"Mr. Morrison abused his position of trust for personal gain, and with today’s action, will now be held accountable for cheating those he promised to serve – Madison’s school children and their families," said John Woolley, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General Midwestern Regional Office. "The OIG will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to aggressively pursue those who misappropriate education funds for their own selfish purposes. Our nation’s students and taxpayers deserve nothing less."