Feds file obstruction case against ex-W. Bloomfield schools official
Detroit — Federal corruption prosecutors Wednesday charged a former assistant superintendent of West Bloomfield schools with obstructing a grand jury investigation for allegedly lying to investigators and deleting emails.
The case against Deanna Barash, 46, is the latest case filed by public corruption prosecutors against a public school official since 14 people, including school administrators and a contractor,were convicted in a $2.7 million bribery and kickback scheme involving Detroit Public Schools several years ago.
A federal court filing provides minimal details of the corruption investigation but accuses the former assistant superintendent of obstructing an unspecified investigation from May 2018 through Dec. 9, 2019.
The Detroit News learned the probe involves Barash's prior tenure at Northville Public Schools, where she worked as an assistant superintendent before being hired in West Bloomfield in 2017.
The investigation stemmed from a curriculum contract she authorized, according to a source familiar with the investigation. Barash had a business relationship with the contractor that was not disclosed until after the start of the federal investigation.
“My client accepts full responsibility for her actions,” Barash’s lawyer, David Nacht, told The News. “She will come into court and plead guilty. My client feels genuine remorse for her choices and is truly sorry for the embarrassment this could cause other districts where she has worked.”
Northville Public Schools superintendent Mary Kay Gallagher sent an email to district parents and staff on Thursday that said Barash, a former Northville Public Schools assistant superintendent, resigned her job there Sept. 18, 2017, and has not been involved in any district activities since then.
"After the resignation, the District identified irregularities, and this led to a thorough investigation," Gallagher said.
Based on the results of the investigation, Gallagher said the district took "legal intervention" to ensure that "relevant district funds were fully recovered."
Barash was charged in a criminal information, which means a guilty plea is expected.
The obstruction charge is punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison.
West Bloomfield school spokesman Dan Durkin also confirmed the criminal case does not involve the district but did not elaborate. He said Barash resigned last month.
"We don't comment further on personnel matters," Durkin said.