Schuette Secures Forfeiture of Former Detroit Principal Josette Buendia's Pension, Bringing Total Secured to 13

Contact: Andrea Bitely, Megan Hawthorne 517-373-8060
Agency: Attorney General

July 28, 2017

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced that he has secured the forfeiture of the state-paid portions of the pension held by former Detroit principal, Josette Buendia. She was convicted last year of accepting federal program bribery in a $2.7-million kickback scheme that resulted in charges against former Detroit Public Schools vendor Norman Shy and 13 district officials.

Schuette has already secured pension forfeitures for the 12 other principals involved in the bribery scheme.

“These individuals were entrusted with the education and well-being of their students and teachers,” said Schuette. “Instead of doing the job they were given, these individuals selfishly stole money to line their pockets while robbing those children of better opportunities.”

An Order was entered by Chief Judge Robert Colombo Jr., Wayne County Circuit Court Friday July 28, 2017 for the forfeiture of all state paid pension contributions of Buendia covering the time frame of the criminal activities. 

Buendia’s pension has been reduced by $866.20 per month or $10,304.40 per year.

The total amount that this successful forfeiture returns to the State Public School Employee Pension Fund for state-paid pension contributions for the 13 convicted principals is:

  • Monthly: $18,466.40
  • Yearly: $202, 808.52
  • Additionally, the 13 Principals will collectively re-pay $358,079.57 to the State.

The state-paid pension contributions were forfeited, meaning they will no longer be paid to the individuals. Additionally, any pension amounts that have been over-paid to the principals while this matter was pending have been ordered to be re-paid to the State. The principals will experience further reduction in their pensions until full re-payment has been made.

Michigan Law on Pension Forfeiture

Michigan law provides for the forfeiture of public employee retirement benefits paid by the State into the retirement fund if a member or retiree is convicted of or enters a guilty plea to a felony that is related to their service as a public employee. The confiscated funds cannot be used to pay restitution.