Robert Davis pleads guilty to stealing Highland Park school funds

DETROIT (WXYZ) - The Highland Park man known for constantly filing lawsuits against local government leaders has found himself on the wrong side of the law and may soon be behind bars.

Union activist Robert Davis pleaded guilty today in federal court to stealing school money and a tax crime.  Davis is facing between 18 and 24 months in federal prison.

The 7 Action News Investigators first reported on the allegations of missing money in February of 2012 .  Davis had asserted his 5th amendment rights several times when he was questioned under oath about misusing money that belonged to Highland Park schools.  The 34-year-old is a member of the school board, the former School Board President.

The FBI raided his home and Davis was later indicted.  The feds said between 2004 and 2010 Davis used “cover companies” to submit false invoices for payment to Highland Park Schools.  At Davis’s direction, those “companies” then issued checks totaling $197,983 to Davis’s PAC: “Citizens United to Save Highland Park Schools.”  Davis admitted in court he converted the money for his own use.

“It came a time where it needed to be put behind me.  I mean, this has been going on for the last 5 years,” Davis told 7 Action News moments after he pleaded guilty.  “I think the right thing to do was to get this thing behind me so I can move forward with my career, and continue to work hard on behalf of the people of the state of Michigan.  And take ownership as to what mistakes were made on my part, and as a man, I have to do that.”

Davis and his lawyer asked the judge that he be allowed to keep his job with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, despite his embezzlement conviction.  Federal law prohibits people convicted of certain crimes from being employed by a union.  Davis says he wants to keep working.

“That’s why it’s important to get this behind me, so that this can no longer be that asterisk mark beside my name. So that I can continue to fight for the people of the state of Michigan, the hard working men and women here. And I’m looking forward to continuing to do that,” said Davis.

Davis could also be fined up to $500,000.  He will be sentenced on December 9.  It’s not clear yet if he will be able to keep his job after his prison sentence.


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