December 5 2017: Statement of Facts for Leslie Lewis, Indictment #117075031
Statement of Facts for Leslie Lewis
Indictment # 117075031
On August 9, 2011, Leslie Lewis was appointed as the Principal of Baltimore Community High School (“BCHS”) with a starting base salary of $106,670.00.
When initially appointed as Principal, BCHS was operated by One Bright Ray, Inc., a charter school, which decided in the spring of 2013 not to seek a renewal of its contract. Beginning on July 1, 2013, BCHS began its operations under the Baltimore City Public School system and Lewis remained as Principal during this period. BCHS was located 6820 Fait Avenue in Baltimore City and was an alternative school for students who were over-age and under-credit.
On Tuesday, November 10, 2015, the Baltimore City School Board voted to permanently close Baltimore Community High School, effective in June of 2016.
As the Principal of BCHS, Lewis had the power and authority to purchase items for the school through their K12Buy program; she had a fiduciary responsibility to the school in her role as Principal to ensure that school funds were spent on school related expenses. Moreover, Baltimore City Public Schools adopt the concept of Principal autonomy which loosely translates to their belief that the Principal of any given school is in the best position to know the needs of their respective school. Therefore, the Principal or person designated by the Principal, is responsible for making all purchases for the school through the K12Buy program.
K12Buy.com is Baltimore City Schools’ e-Procurement system and is the sole platform available to users to purchase goods and services for city schools. K12Buy LLC was founded in 2005 and Baltimore City Schools commenced using their e-Procurement platform in 2007. K12Buy is a district-wide purchasing system which is available to staff via the Internet 24 hours per day seven days a week 365 days a year. There are approximately 700 active city school users and 10,000 vendors currently available in the system. Some of the key benefits of the application include: paperless purchasing, online electronic approvals, automatic funds checking and encumbrances, fast and accurate transactions, (purchases typically take 2-3 days to approve versus 10-15 days in paper-based systems) plus users and approvers have complete visibility into their requisition status; such as “has my requisition been approved, was the purchase order sent, was the purchase order delivered, and what is the purchase order as well as any backup documentation associated with the purchase”. City School users shop for items on the K12Buy platform (much like one does on Amazon), selects those items, adds them to their cart, and then checks out which creates a purchase requisition in the K12Buy system. The user then selects the appropriate account codes, and submits the requisition to their supervisor for approval. Once approved, the requisition goes to procurement where it is converted into a purchase order and then sent electronically to the vendor. The goods or services are then shipped to the school and upon receipt the requisitioner will post receipts electronically which then permits the processing of the invoice when its presented to Accounts Payable for payment.
Some products are delivered to Baltimore City Public School headquarters located on North Avenue while others are delivered directly to the school itself. If the product is delivered to Headquarters, the serial number is noted and the product is tagged with a “Property of Baltimore City Schools” tag. If the product is delivered directly to the school, it is incumbent on the Principal or individual the Principal designates to have the item tagged as Baltimore City school property and serial number recorded.
As Principal, Lewis took the opportunity to order items through the BCHS account and use them for non-school designated purposes. Lewis ordered several items that she gave to individuals for non-school designated reasons.
Over the course of her time as Principal, Lewis ordered the following items through K12Buys using BCHS funds for non-school designated purposes:
To Pablo Torres:
- One (1) Bose Accoustimass 10 Series IV Speaker System ($999.99)
- One (1) Panasonic 50 inch flat-screen television ($779.99)
- One (1) Mini-Refrigerator ($185.59)
- One (1) Epson EX3220 SVGA 3LCD Projector ($449.95)
- Two (2) Apple iPad Minis ($279.00 each or $558.00 total)
- One (1) GE 7.0 Cu. Ft. 13 Cycle Electric Dryer ($539.99) which was given as a house-warming present. To Dana Campbell:
- According to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration’s records, Pablo Torres changed his address to 8231 Township Drive, Owings Mills, MD 21117 on April 15, 2014. According to the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation Real Property Data Search, the property located at 8231 Township Drive transferred to Pablo Torres on May 9, 2014. Purchase Order #637959, dated March 20, 2014, reflects the purchase of a GE 7.0 Cu. Ft. 13 Cycle Electric Dryer (White on White), purchased from Best Buy Gov LLC for $539.99. The shipping address was Baltimore Community High School at 6820 Fait Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224. A review of the K12Buy procurement records for Baltimore Community High School reflect that the requisition description for the purchase order stated “Dryer for school uniforms and custodial materials, rags, towels, and mop heads”.
- Four (4) Apple iPad Mini’s ($279.00 each or $1116.00 total)
To Lewis church-based group in Georgia:
- One (1) Apple MacBook Pro Laptop Serial #C02K7014DV33 ($1,699.00) along with an Apple Care Protection Plan ($239.00)
- One (1) Apple iMac 27-inch Desktop Computer Serial #C02QW5CZGG7J ($1,699.00)
- One (1) Apple MacBook Pro Laptop Serial#C02QDST9FVH5 ($1,399.00)
- One (2) Apple iPad Pro 32 GB Serial #DLXR428ZGMLD/ DLXQC0DDGMLD ($779.00 each or $1558.00)
- (1) Apple iPad Air 2 16 GB Serial #DMPQFLZNG5VJ ($479.00)
The above-referenced items were recovered during the course of the Office of the State Prosecutor’s investigation. It is believed that Lewis gifted more items, specifically Apple products, to other friends and family that were never added to the school’s inventory after purchase however the purchase orders reflect that they were purchased by Lewis using school funds and were delivered to the school. These items include:
Three (3) Apple iMac Desktop Computers ($1,828.00 each with $119.00 each for Apple Care enrollment or total of $5,841.00), Four (4) Apple MacBook Pro Laptops ($2,929.00 each or $11,716.00 total), Three (3) color Laser Jet Pro printers ($299.95 each or $899.95), Three (3) Apple Thunderbolt 27-inch display monitors ($949.00 each or $2,847.00 total), Two (2) Apple iPad Air 16 GB tablets ($499.00 each or $998.00), Four (4) Apple iPad Pro 32 GB tablets ($779.00 each or $3,116.00 total), One (1) Epson projector ($449.95), Two (2) Go Pro Hero 4 cameras ($399.95 or $799.90 total), Two (2) Apple iPad Minis ($279.00 or $558.00 total) and Three (3) Microsoft Surface Pro tablets, plus accessories (approximately $5,004.48).
The total theft by Lewis exceeded $40,000.00. [i]
It should be noted that on the majority of the above-referenced items respective purchase orders, Lewis supplied false information and/or justification for the purchases. For example, Lewis wrote in the K12Buy program justification section that these products were going to be used for the “Technology for Special Education Resource Room”, “Special Education Intervention Program”, “English Lab Mobile Computer Lab”, and for “Teacher Professional Development.” If called to testify, witnesses who were employed at BCHS would testify that the school did not have an English mobile computer lab and further that none of the above-referenced items were used within the English Department. Moreover, witnesses employed in the Special Education Department, including the Special Education Coordinator, would testify that while a Special Education Resource Room existed at BCHS, it was outdated and none of the above-referenced items were ever used for Special Education resources or intervention programs. Further, witnesses would testify that they were not aware of any of the above-noted Apple or Microsoft products being used at BCHS.[ii]
If called to testify witnesses would identify Leslie Lewis and all events occurred in Baltimore City.
[i] Based on the State’s investigation, the State believes that the total theft and/or misappropriation by Lewis exceeded $35,000.00 and the Defense contends that this number is $10,270.00. However, both parties agree that the total theft/misappropriation is over $10,000.00 and that the actual number will be determined at a restitution hearing at a later date and time.
[ii] The Defense disputes the State’s theory of how the items were received by individuals employed by Baltimore Community High School, specifically Torres, Rabara, Stokes, and Campbell, but agrees to the items/property recovered in Georgia, and agrees that the theft/misappropriation is in excess of $10,000.00, and that the actual amount will be determined at a restitution hearing at a later date and time.