Memphis City School Board Commissioner Wanda Halbert spoke for the first time Friday since her testimony earlier this week before a federal grand jury.
Specifically, Halbert spoke about a letter she recently wrote to the Shelby County Election Commission.
"I do want the community to know that what they're hearing are not necessarily the facts, and I absolutely did not take any contributions," Halbert said.
It is necessary to go back to 2004 to understand the importance of the letter. Back then, sources say, Memphis minority contractor Kirby Salton introduced then County Commissioner Bruce Thompson to the honchos at H&M Construction.
H&M wanted to build three Memphis City schools, and paid Thompson a $200,000 consulting fee when they won the $48.6 million no-bid construction contract.
Enter Halbert, and the letter, which refers to her 2004 re-election campaign, when she met Salton.
The letter says, "It has come to my attention a $2,000 contribution from two individuals, Bruce Thompson and Kirby Salton, was given to a member of my campaign team."
The letter goes on to say that Halbert was not aware the funds were given to her friend.
"No one can control what another individual does," she said Friday. "But also, no one can be held accountable for what other people do."
Halbert's letter explains she did not report the $2,000 in her campaign disclosure because the funds were stolen from the campaign headquarters she shared with Roscoe Dixon.
Dixon is now in prison charged with public corruption in the FBI's Tennessee Waltz sting.
"I think if there's one good thing that I'm praying will come out of this is that this shake-up will allow us to finally see something beautiful at the end of this and bring a better education for all the children of Memphis City Schools," Halbert said.
Board of Education rules for construction contracts say, "Registered and non-registered lobbying of MCS...Board members with respect to a pending project or award is prohibited..."
Halbert stressed she didn't include the $2,000 in her campaign disclosure statement because she never got the money.