Yesterday Brenda Belton, thief and former DCPS Charter School supervisor, was sentenced to 35 months in prison, which apparently was two months short of the maximum. It's too bad she couldn't be sentenced to more, but that's the nature of white collar crime...knock over a liquor store and get five to ten years for a few hundred bucks, couple thou if you're lucky; steal $800,000 from children (Belton herself apparently pocketed about half of that, steering the rest of the money to friends, family, and crooked contractors) and get less than three years. Jones, incidentally, who stole far less than Belton, could be sentenced to up to 10 years.
It's clear, though, that some people simply don't get it. The reaction from her "supporters" was telling:
Belton's family and friends, including her sister, daughter and ministers, filled three rows of seating at the sentencing. Many said they hoped Urbina would show Belton leniency, considering her role as an educator.Let's get one thing straight right now: this woman was no educator...she was a thief. She got inside the system and stole from it. When she was given an opportunity to "help the children with her skills" she found it more useful to help herself to the children's funding.
"It's a waste of resources putting her in jail," said Lafayette Seymour, a minister at Belton's church, the District-based Unity Center of Truth. "She would do more good if she were granted time served and were allowed to return to help the children with her skills and education."
However, the minister's attitude is very similar to Esther Monclova-Johnson, the DCPS supervisor who oversees "talented" afterschool program technology managers Emerson Crawley and William Jones, who saw fit to reimburse themselves from student fund money for their trips to Camelot strip club and Finemondo restaurant (the latter a near daily occurrence with tabs often running over a hundred dollars). Monclova-Johnson apparently feels these two individuals possess unique talents that can't possibly be replaced by someone perhaps a bit more honest:
"These guys are extremely talented, and the work that they give to the program is not worth them being dismissed over a practice that may have been approved . . . by past directors," Monclova-Johnson said. "They weren't doing anything that they felt was wrong at the time, but maybe it was."
Um, if it ever was approved that you could go to strip clubs on DCPS's dime, then I want that job. Not only should those two bums be fired, but Monclova-Johnson herself should be looking for a job. It's disgusting.