A city administrator convicted of auto insurance fraud kept his job at the Department of Education — and got a raise — even as school investigators called him “an example of dishonesty.”
The DOE gave Oneatha Swinton, the former principal of Port Richmond High School on Staten Island, a formal contract to continue despite the indictment and findings that she misappropriated $100,000 in school funds to a vendor, and “failed to protect” 600 DOE computers, printers and laptops that disappeared under his watch.
Instead of terminating Swinton, 43, as the Special Commissioner of Investigation into the city’s schools recommended, the DOE offered him an undisclosed position in the Office of Safety and Student Development with a salary of $187,000 plus health and pension – $25,000 more than he made. was arrested in 2018 for insurance fraud. Officials declined to give a title or details about his new gig.
Swinton also found time to establish her own splashy style, ObyDesign, but he took the site down after being contacted by The Post.
The benefits come as Chancellor David Banks has vowed to sweep out redundant government officials and plow more money into underfunded schools.
Parent leaders are scared.
“How can you continue to A) trust him and B) put him in charge of student development? Who knows?” asked Ellen McHugh, co-president of the Citywide Council on Special Education.
The Post uncovered Swinton’s insurance fraud in November 2017. Seven months later, the DOE removed him from the “rubber room” for punishment. Originally charged with six counts, he pleaded guilty in December 2018 to registering two Lexus SUVs in Pennsylvania to avoid a major insurance claim in New York. He was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay $6,200 in restitution and an $800 fine.
Swinton joined Port Richmond as interim dean in June 2017, after serving as dean at the John Jay School for Law in Brooklyn since 2010.
SCI found that Swinton, at John Jay, paid $100,000 in severance pay — which was in violation of procurement rules — to Tanya John, a DOE salesperson and former Bronx executive, according to an SCI report released to The Post under the Freedom of Information Act. . The money was allegedly spent on “Saturday retreats” and college nights out, investigators say.
It was John’s East Stroudsburg, PA home, where Swinton was fraudulently listed on his driver’s license and registration, a Pennsylvania Grand Jury charged.
SCI also found that Swinton failed to account for more than 600 DOE computers, laptops and printers during his tenure at John Jay HS. All equipment was missing.
“Swinton’s actions demonstrate a disregard for DOE rules and procedures and demonstrate a lack of integrity,” Special Commissioner Anastasia Coleman said in her January 2020 report to then-Chancellor Carranza, agreeing to fire her.
Officials could not explain why Swinton – who led an anti-police march in the John Jay grounds and angered some Port Richmond parents by chasing police officers out of a Staten Island school – was placed in the office that coordinates with the NYPD.
A source said Swinton attended a Zoom session last November, saying little but impressing with her “crazy hat”.
Swinton posts pictures of herself wearing big bright hats Instagram page.
“I’m flexible and open to learning and growing from everything around me,” he said in a July 8 post.
“All this, and they’re paying him? It’s amazing,” said Annette Renaud, former PTA president at John Jay HS. “It’s a scam.”
“‘It’s people in positions of authority who say ‘your rules but not mine,'” said Joann Nellis, former president of the Port Richmond PTA.
Swinton did not respond to a request for comment.
The Council of School Supervisors and Administrators is fighting to save the jobs of the accused members. CSA spokesman Craig DiFolco said in a statement, “Oneatha Swinton is a proven school leader and has performed well as director of the Office of Safety and Youth Development since the DOE appointed her to this position.” He didn’t explain it clearly.
Chancellor Banks had no comment. Swinton’s deal follows another controversial deal to keep former Maspeth High School principal Khurshid Abdul-Mutakabbir, who also earns $187,000, on salary for seven years at an undisclosed desk after he was fired for academic fraud.