PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — He’s become a polarizing figure.
The founder of an anti-bullying program at Mifflin Elementary School is now criminally charged with fraud and theft for misappropriation of funds.
The district immediately suspended the operation of the organization as well as the PTO. On Monday night, Lutual Love stepped down from both.
“Whatever actions that you feel that should be directed towards me should stay with me ‘cause I can handle it,” said Love.
Records show $18,000 dollars in expenditures, including more than $6,000 in withdrawals from ATMs — one of those is $204 withdrawal at the Rivers Casino.
There are also thousands of check card purchases for services, meals and entertainment, including things like $92 spent at Dave and Buster’s and a $46 bill at Footer’s Dry Cleaners.
But Love has alleged that the charges against him are racially motivated and he cites the discovery of a cross burned in the school lawn this summer as evidence.
“For the past year and a half we’ve been telling the district and officials at the school about the racial overtones at the school. We’ve been trying to get them involved,” said Love. “The burning cross, unfortunately, is a signal that we were right and they were wrong.”
But parents like Loretta Weir say they know nothing of the cross burning.
However, they do say that Love has a criminal past; including arrests and conviction for aggravated assault and drug possession, and that he should not be in the school.
“This is not an issue of race and I’m exhausted with hearing that,” said Weir. “The issue here is a criminal is in Mifflin School, a career criminal, a con man.”
With Love out of the picture, it remains to be seen if racial tension will develop or whether the community comes together in its mission to educate its children.
KD Investigates: Is Money Missing From Anti-Bullying Program? (7/22/13)
Parental Outrage Over Anti-Bullying Program (7/23/13)
More Reports by Andy Sheehan