Woman accused of stealing money set for Chavez statue
Lansing — An 80-year-old woman has been charged with embezzling more than $70,000 that was set aside to build a statue in Lansing to honor farm labor leader Cesar Chavez.
The attorney general’s office says Maria Louisa Mason was executive director of the Michigan Hispanic/Latino Commission within the state Department of Civil Rights.
Mason is accused of transferring the money to bank accounts that she controlled and then using it to pay credit card bills, taxes and other personal expenses. Attorney General Bill Schuette says the scheme started in 2013 and lasted until June 2015.
The Chavez statue still hasn’t been built. A not-guilty plea was entered on Mason’s behalf Tuesday. Messages seeking comment were left for her lawyer.