Now-former PS 139 Parents Association president Dafina Smith was arrested on Monday, March 3 for allegedly embezzling over $25,000 from the organization, according to a complaint filed with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office.
The document alleges that from October 14, 2013 to February 10 of this year, Ms. Smith stole $25,148 in cash from a TD Bank account holding the association’s funds, and that bank statements, employee testimony, and surveillance tapes confirm the withdrawals.
Ms. Smith was charged on March 4 with grand larceny and petit larceny, has been released on her own recognizance, and is due back in court on April 10.
As Principal Mary McDonald and many commenters pointed out upon the announcement that PS 139 would be getting rid of its SOAR and Mini-Schools programs, the school is not an easily-funded one–many students are eligible for free lunches, and parents have worked incredibly hard over the year to raise money for the PA, making these charges particularly heartbreaking.
In September 2013, neighbors and local merchants helped raise $2,700 for PS 139 during the Flatbush Development Corporation’s Cortelyou at Twilight event, intended to help fund the school’s Garden to Café program. The FDC has said they plan to hold the event again this Fall, and we are looking into ways the community can help support PS 139 in the more immediate future.
We have reached out to the Department of Education as well as Ms. Smith and her lawyer for comment on the charges. A representative for the PS 139 Parents Association declined to comment.