Former Cleveland district administrator ordered probe of colleagues

Dec. 21, 2009
Daniel Burns, now accused of stealing district money, authorized surveillance on other administrators
FromThe Cleveland Plain Dealer: Former Cleveland schools Chief Operating Officer Daniel Burns had a private firm conduct undercover investigations of three high-ranking district administrators, probes that cost tens of thousands of dollars but failed to find anything suspicious. Chief Executive Officer Eugene Sanders says that without his knowledge, Burns authorized surveillance and videotaping of Deputy Chief of Secondary Education Lincoln Haughton, Deputy Chief of Special Programs Sharon McDonald and Kevin Burtzlaff, school board liaison and lawyer, in 2007. Burns resigned in January amid a state and county probe of questionable purchases. Burns is charged with stealing $160,000 in district money paid for printing equipment that prosecutors said never existed. He has pleaded not guilty. Earlier...from The Cleveland Plain Dealer: Daniel Burns, the Cleveland schools' former chief operating officer, has pleaded not guilty to stealing about $160,000 from the district. John Briggle, a Toledo-area businessman accused of aiding Burns in a purchasing scam, also pleaded not guilty. Burns and Briggle are charged with theft, racketeering and tampering with records. Prosecutors and state auditors say they faked the purchase of six large printing and duplicating machines that never existed. The deals were structured in a way that avoided bidding. Earlier...from The Cleveland Plain Dealer: The former chief operating officer of the Cleveland school district and two businessman must repay the district more than $180,000 for equipment that was never delivered and services that were never performed, the state auditor has ruled. Daniel Burns, who resigned as the district's chief business official in January, and John Briggle of Superior Offset Supplies were indicted this month on charges that include theft and racketeering.

January 2009: Three missing copying machines, each the size of a small car, are at the heart of an investigation into the Cleveland schools' purchasing practices, according to the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office. A search warrant reveals that investigators are looking at two printing equipment and supply companies in the Toledo area. The missing machines are the reason that the Sheriff's Office and state auditors are probing the schools' purchasing practices. Investigators can find no trace of the hulking copiers. The investigation has heaped suspicion on the district's former chief operating officer, Daniel Burns, who resigned a week agofrom his $184,000-a-year job. His assistant, Shenee McCoy-Gibbons, has been on leave since December, when sheriff's deputies searched the school district offices.
Read The Cleveland Plain Dealer article.

FROM DECEMBER 2008: Daniel Burns, a top-ranking Cleveland school administrator, has been placed on paid leave while the state auditor's office investigates purchasing practices. A routine state audit turned up questions about equipment valued at about $160,000, according to the district. Burns, the district's chief operating officer, worked with Cleveland school CEO Eugene Sanders in Toledo and came with him when Sanders took the Cleveland job in 2006. Burns' executive assistant, Shenee McCoy-Gibbons, also is on paid leave.

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