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Ex-MPS Board President Michael Bonds charged in federal court in Philadelphia

Posted at 12:09 PM, Apr 11, 2019

Former MPS Board President Michael Bonds was charged in federal court in Philadelphia.

An indictment against Bonds says he acted to "defraud and deprive the citizens of Milwaukee" for the purpose of expanding the Milwaukee Charter School Universal Academy.

The U.S. Attorney's Office released this statement on the matter.

Universal Academy is a Philadelphia-based company that had three campuses in Milwaukee.

Documents say Bonds disguised bribes with a fake company and created fake invoices and records.

The I-Team began investigating Universal in 2017 after it abandoned its schools in the middle of the school year. The investigation revealed red flags with the company long before it abandoned the schools.

An accountant who looked at its tax documents for the I-Team in 2017 noticed red flags- including spending well beyond what the company indicated to the district it intended to spend.

Court documents indicate Bonds received payments shortly after supporting favorable measures for Universal- totaling at least $6,000. He's accused of ignoring financial issues in support of the company.

Bonds faces up to 10 years in prison in convicted and up to $518,000 in fines.

After backing out of its Milwaukee schools, Universal Academy was supposed to pay the district back about $1 million. Despite months of asking, the district still has not told the I-Team if the company made any payments.

MPS said it has no comment on the charges.

Bonds resigned in July 2018 from the board with less than one year left in his term.

Bonds did not give any indication why he was stepping down so abruptly, but he found himself on the hot seat during a debate about the district's most recent budget shortfall.

Check back throughout the day for more information about this developing story.