Manassas High School principal faces long list of charges - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Manassas High School principal faces long list of charges

James Griffin (Source: SCSO) James Griffin (Source: SCSO)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

A Shelby County Schools principal is behind bars Wednesday morning.

James Griffin, principal for Manassas High School, faces a long list of forgery and theft charges.

In 2015, Shelby County Schools asked all schools to close their existing bank accounts and open one with Regions Bank.

In January, the school's financial secretary told Griffin the school still had an account with Tri-State Bank with more than $14,000 in it. Griffin withdrew $12,000 from that account to deposit into the Regions account, which left more than $2,000 in the account. He then requested all of the remaining checks for that account.

Over the next few weeks, Griffin wrote checks to employees. One teacher said she received an $800 check in January and a $600 check in February for concessions she bought at Sam's Club. That teacher said the store wouldn't accept the Tri-State bank checks, so she had to cash them to use the money. After making the purchases, the teacher gave the receipt and change directly to Griffin.

Shelby County Schools started to investigate the school and determined there were no requests for funds or receipts of change.

A detective then interviewed the financial secretary for the school and the assistant principal, who were not authorized to be secondary signers on the checks. The two said the signatures on checks were not theirs and had been forged. They then said they weren't aware the checks had been written and were never asked to sign them.

Additionally, Grace Ministries made a donation to Manassas High School, which should have been deposited into the Regions Bank account, but was instead deposited into the Tri-State account. The day the check was deposited, investigators said Griffin wrote himself a check for $1,000, with the assistant principal's forged signature on it.

In April, the school's attendance secretary said Griffin forced her to give him half of a stipend she earned for work she had completed.

In May, the assistant principal told detectives that her signature had been forged on 10 Tri-State Bank checks from the high school.

Griffin is accused of co-signing fourteen checks with forged signatures. He's charged with 15 counts of official misconduct and theft of property between $1,000 and $10,000.

“I was devastated because he was such a great leader,” Manassas alum Patricia German said.

Griffin's LinkedIn profile shows he has been with the school for six years. He has a 16 year history with Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools.

“He cared about the children, the community, and the neighborhood. He even went out and ventured into the neighborhood to bring back into the community,” German said.

Shelby County Schools released the following statement Wednesday:

James Griffin is no longer an employee of the District. He resigned April 1, 2016 from his position as principal at Manassas High School.

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