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Former Royal Oak High School Principal Gets 2-Year Probation

"I am obviously remorseful," said Michael Greening, a 15-year veteran of the Royal Oak School District.

Michael Greening, 46, of Royal Oak, was sentenced Tuesday to two years of probation for taking funds from a Royal Oak High School student activities account.

Greening pleaded guilty in December to a charge of felony embezzlement of more than $1,000 but less than $20,000, which carries a maximum five-year penalty and/or fines.

Defense attorney Paul Stablein told Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Shalina Kumar that Greening received many letters of support "from people who have known him for decades."

Greening, a graduate of Kimball High School, is a long-time resident of Royal Oak and has two daughters that presently attend Royal Oak High School.

"Mr. Greening is extremely remorseful to the school district, to Royal Oak High School and to the community," Stablein said, stating his client's long silence on the charges against him were the result of acting on his attorney's advice.

Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Robert Novy told the judge Greening's low-key actions reflected poorly on the school district, specifically mentioning a student walkout that he believed put the school board in "a bad light."

Speaking on behalf of Royal Oak Schools, Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin told Kumar that Greening violated the trust of students, colleagues and the entire community and that he was hoping Greening's sentencing would allow the district to have closure and regain focus on student learning in a positive way.

"He clearly did something that was wrong," Lewis-Lakin said, adding he hoped students learned when a wrong is committed, justice is served.

Lewis-Lakin also told the court the school district is seeking restitution for investigation and legal costs it incurred as a result of the former principal's crime.

Greening kept his courtroom remarks brief.

"I am obviously remorseful," he said. "I know exactly why I am here. I am not mystified. I made a series of mistakes and I am ready to get my life back together."

Kumar ordered Greening to pay $25,880 in restitution. Costs for legal and accounting fees are still subject to determination at a future hearing. She also ordered Greening not to enter Royal Oak High School unless it was to attend an event that had to do directly with his daughters.

Lewis-Lakin provided this statement after today's sentencing:

Mr. Greening entered into an agreement with the prosecutor's office that allowed him to plead guilty to a single felony. As a part of that plea, Mr. Greening stipulated to a restitution amount of over $25,000, an admission that he converted at least this amount of student activity funds to his personal use in a pattern of behavior that continued for over three years.     

The district has requested that the prosecutor's office pursue additional restitution for the accounting and legal fees incurred as a direct result of Mr. Greening's criminal activities. A final total restitution amount will be determined at a future hearing.

Since last January, Royal Oak High School has been under the leadership of Mr. Jim Moll, our interim principal. Initiatives to advance teaching and learning are moving forward. Indicators of student success are positive and improving.   This weekend, I had the privilege of observing our nationally recognized  ROHS Model United Nations team as they participated in a conference in Ann Arbor. In less than a month, three bus loads of ROHS students will spend their February recess in service to victims of disaster.  The process to hire a new long-term ROHS principal is underway. Our school, our students, are moving forward.   

TJO January 23, 2013 at 03:14 AM
MRA, that’s where you and I disagree. I don’t think “good people” steal from other good people. I did not want to believe like many, the accusations when they came out. I supported him because I did not want to believe the man (I also knew) could do this. Please clarify what you mean by “blind support”. On the matter of restitution, tell it to the 100’s of parents and students who devote their time fundraising. How is it that a misdemeanor traffic violation and felony embezzlement receive the same 2 year probation? What about all the people that don’t make over $100,000 that only want their children to participate in a sport, or music program who are asked to pay more and more to make it happen. If he is such a smart and wonderful person, he is smart enough to know beforehand what he was doing. That is not “a mistake” that is an act done with forethought. $25,000 in restitution doesn’t even come close to restitution. He was said to have taken up to $40,000 and that doesn’t even take in account the months of salary he collected after the fact, administrative costs, legal fees that the taxpayers have occurred as a direct result of his actions. When that is addressed then we can talk about moving on. I know many people who are faced with financial difficulties making far less, that don’t resort to stealing, many of those people are the very ones that he stole from.
Mark Itall January 23, 2013 at 07:17 AM
Because Mr. Wolf is a complete genius about everything, even if he doesn't know a darn thing. Just ask him. Be prepared for 5 or 6 posts in a row from him.
Jay Heff January 23, 2013 at 03:46 PM
He deserves to have his life ruined. He STOLE A LOT OF MONEY FROM INNOCENT PEOPLE!!! If he broke in to your house and stole $1,000, you'd want him behind bars. This is a joke, people. I'm sure he's a good person on the surface. But he's a liar, a cheat, and a thief. Sure, he deserves a second chance, but ONLY AFTER he pays his dues back to society and earns the trust again....
Carmella January 25, 2013 at 11:47 PM
definition of a sociopath "A person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience." Did he steal from the students? Was he lacking moral responsibility and social conscience? I understand why he still has a lot of supporters. He didn't steal from his friends or family. It it is easy to forgive. and look pass his behavior when he didn't steal from you.
Carmella January 25, 2013 at 11:48 PM
One last thing why did he drag this out so long?

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