School vendor at center of DPS scandal lived lavish lifestyle

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We are learning more about a school supply vendor at the center of the Detroit Public Schools kickback scandal and his lavish lifestyle.

A contractor who helped build Norman Shy's mansion says the suspect brought him huge headaches.

"I hope he goes down," said contractor Jeff Worthington. "He needs to go down because he's a thief."

While accused of cheating Detroit Public Schools out of millions of dollars this 11,000 square-foot estate according to court records, is where the school supplies vendor in the middle of the alleged kickback scheme with more than a dozen DPS principals, Norman Shy, once lived.

"Norm was a really nice guy when we met him but you could tell he was into shady things," Worthington said.

Shy, 74, had a lavish lifestyle inside his Farmington Hills estate with nine bathrooms, a movie theater, and a huge pool. Worthington says for years Shy and his company Allstate Sales was not only scamming the school system but also, Worthington's parents and their company, Affinity Building.

Worthington says Shy was all cash, all the time.

"I sat there and watched Norm Shy hand over $68,000 in a grocery bag to one of his suppliers," Worthington said. "And that wasn't the first time I saw a lot of money go."

Worthington says their contractors built 85 percent of the mansion but were then accused of lousy work.

"My dad and he had a falling out and that's when he went after everyone, he went after our contractors," Worthington said.

Worthington says Shy sued his father's company for $500,000. Almost put out of business, he says they were forced to settle for $25,000.

"Everyone finally just said it's not worth the hassle," Worthington said.

Worthington said that Shy was working out of his basement before selling his home in 2014.

"I know there's at least $5 million in that house and he sold it for $2.3 (million)," he said. "Seriously?"

As Detroit Public Schools had been using Shy for school supplies, it's believed Shy raked in roughly $2.7 million dollars that should have gone to the schools, teachers and kids. Thirteen DPS principals are charged for taking in nearly $1 million in kickbacks. Shy has been charged with bribery and tax evasion.

"It turns my stomach what he did to my parents, not cool," Worthington said. "I hope he goes to jail for a long time - and Norm, I hope you see this."

The attorney for Norman Shy was unavailable for comment. Shy faces up to five years in prison.

Photos in the story are used courtesy of Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press.