EAA contractor arraigned on bribery, money laundering

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

An ex-contractor for the Education Achievement Authority was arraigned on federal bribery and money laundering charges on Wednesday, one week before she is expected to plead guilty to charges in a kickback scheme involving two Detroit high schools.

Glynis Thornton made an appearance in U.S. District Court Wednesday afternoon for formal arraignment on charges, including: bribery, conspiracy to commit bribery and money laundering.

Thornton is expected enter a plea deal on Feb. 4 before U.S. District Judge David Lawson.

Thornton’s co-defendants, Kenyetta Wilbourn Snapp, the onetime principal of Mumford and Denby high schools, and Paulette Horton, an independent contractor, also have plea deals scheduled for next month.

Snapp’s is on Monday while Horton’s is Feb. 25.

Prosecutors would not comment on the plea deals or which charges the suspects will plead to. Defense attorneys for all three women did not return calls seeking comment.

A federal grand jury in Detroit indicted the trio last month. The indictment alleges that, from 2012 to 2014, Snapp conspired to commit bribery and money laundering, committed federal tax evasion and failed to file an income tax return.

All face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Snapp was a turnaround specialist at Denby High with a 2007 Maserati and a “GUCCI1” personalized license plate. She later joined Mumford and abruptly resigned in fall 2014 after FBI agents searched her home.

Thornton, whose company, Making a Difference Everyday (M.A.D.E.), provided afterschool tutoring services at Mumford and Denby, and Horton, who was an independent contractor working for M.A.D.E., were also charged in an indictment unsealed in December.

According to the grand jury indictment, Snapp selected M.A.D.E. as the afterschool tutoring vendor for both high schools. In exchange, Thornton paid Snapp kickbacks as a reward, investigators said.

Thornton allegedly disguised payments to Snapp by having checks issued payable to Horton’s company, rather than paying Snapp directly. Horton would then deposit and withdraw the money and give it to Snapp, according to the indictment.