NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WOOD) — A Mona Shores school board member is under fire after a parent filed a complaint linked to past fraud.
The school board confirmed the complaint involves Wesley Wilson. Board members are set to discuss the complaint at their Monday meeting.
A parent, who did not want to go on camera, sent News 8 the police report (PDF) detailing the matter at the center of the controversy. Showing the fraud happened in the fall of 2017, the report contains multiple detailed police interviews with student members of the Grand Valley State University College Democrats.
Witnesses alleged Wilson, who was the president of the GVSU Democrats and a Mona Shores School Board member at the time, knowingly falsified documents to get the University to pay in full for five students’ plane tickets to a Las Vegas conference.
According to the report, the university’s student Senate has a 50% policy, which means it will fund half of a student organization’s trip. Several students said without their knowledge, Wilson requested funding for plane tickets for 10 students even though only five were going. The police report also notes two of the five students listed did not attend GVSU and therefore would not have qualified for any funding.
In all, the cost of the tickets totaled $1,675.
In an interview with detectives, Wilson told them they didn’t intend to do anything wrong.
“We had 10 people and then people bailed. Then we had five and went with that,” Wilson said to detectives, according to the report.
The police report shows Wilson was taken into custody in April 2018. Court officials confirm he pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor charge of fraud and another was dismissed. He was ordered to pay $2,300 in fines, serve 6 months of probation and work 25 hours of community service.
Wilson declined to comment ahead of the Monday evening school board meeting.
“We only learned of the criminal charges recently, this month,” school board President Stan Miller told News 8. “Even if we had known about it, the board has no authority to remove a board member. It’s unfortunate that we are distracting teachers, administrators in the community at a time when we are working to educate in global pandemic.”
Miller said while there are plans to discuss the complaint, the board may vote to discuss it in a closed session. He says members expect to make a public statement later this week.