Ex-Miami Jackson Adult Education Center principal Joey Bautista was arrested on August 23 for allegedly using over $41,000 in school district funds to pay his housekeeper.
According to the arrest report, Bautista allegedly got his housekeeper Adeline Joseph a job in 2013 as a “community-school activity leader” at Toussaint L’Ouverture Elementary School, which is a Miami Jackson Adult Education Center satellite location. Joseph told detectives she was employed as a custodian at the location for three to four months before Bautista reassigned her to Miami Jackson’s main location.
Instead of doing her duties as an activity leader at the center, Joseph returned to cleaning Bautista’s home and taking care of his two children, investigators said. From March 2013 to September 2015, Bautista allegedly signed school payroll records every other week detailing Joseph’s work hours and deposited almost $42,000 in school district funds into her bank account.
Between 2013 and 2015, Bautista only paid Joseph once—a $200 check for “Housekeeping”—from his personal bank account. When questioned about how he paid Joseph for her services, Bautista told detectives he paid her with personal checks and cash, but he could not produce evidence of those checks.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Rundle said authorities learned about Bautista’s alleged actions from a confidential source. The State Attorney’s Public Corruption Task Force worked with the Schools Police and Office of the Inspector General to go through payroll records and interview school employees. They learned that the administrators and custodians at Miami Jackson did not know Joseph and had not seen her working there or at any of the center’s satellite locations from 2013 to 2015.
“What’s sad is that here was a successful man who was cheating and using dollars that were meant to go to young people who are looking to better themselves through education,” Rundle told news sources. “He had a great job, people believed in him and he betrayed that trust.”
Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho told the press that Bautista was placed on assignment while the investigation continued. He was fired immediately following his arrest.
“The school district holds every employee to the highest standards of professionalism and integrity,” Carvalho said. “We will not tolerate the type of unscrupulous behavior by employees that betrays the trust of our community and belies the core values of the school district.”
Bautista has worked for the school district for almost 20 years. He was made principal of the Miami Jackson Adult Education Center in 2011.
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