- The Washington Times - Monday, January 27, 2003

CHICAGO, Jan. 27 (UPI) — School officials are trying to determine whether a retired elementary school principal who amassed $170,000 in gambling debts embezzled money from Locke Elementary School.

School finances were audited as part of a transition protocol when a principal retires. Auditors allegedly found evidence Myrtle Burton-Sahara wrote checks totaling $66,000 to herself without submitting proper paperwork for the expenditures, interim Schools Inspector General James Sullivan told Monday's Chicago Sun-Times.

The newspaper said Burton-Sahara denied any wrongdoing.

"There were some papers missing, but I certainly did not take that money," she said from her Glen Ellyn home.

Burton-Sahara said she visited casinos occasionally but denied having a "gambling habit."

The inspector general, however, found Burton-Sahara had been a frequent visitor to the Hollywood Casino in Aurora, Ill., and had lost $170,000.

The Board of Education is holding $85,000 in sick pay due Burton-Sahara upon retirement until the investigation can be completed.

Burton-Sahara began teaching in Chicago schools in 1957 and became one of the first black female principals in the system.





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