Posted on August 24, 2022

Ex-Principal Gets $187K DOE Gig Despite ‘Pattern of Dishonesty’

Susan Edelman and Mary Kay Linge, New York Post, August 20, 2022

A city principal convicted of car insurance fraud kept her employment with the Department of Education – and even got a fat raise – despite what school investigators called her “pattern of dishonesty.”

The DOE gave Oneatha Swinton, the former acting principal of Port Richmond High school in Staten Island, a sweetheart deal to stay on despite the criminal rap along with findings that she improperly funneled $100,000 in school funds to a vendor, and “failed to safeguard” 600 DOE computers, printers and laptops which vanished under her watch.

Instead of terminating Swinton, 43, as recommended by the Special Commissioner of Investigation for city schools, the DOE gave her an unspecified place in its Office of Safety and Youth Development with a $187,000 salary plus health and pension benefits — $25,000 more than she made when arrested in 2018 for insurance fraud. Officials refused to give a title or description of her new gig.

Swinton even found the time to launch her own splashy fashion brand, ObyDezign, but took down the website after being contacted by The Post.


The Post revealed Swinton’s insurance scam in November 2017. Seven months later the DOE removed her to a disciplinary “rubber room.” Originally charged with six felony counts, she pleaded guilty in December 2018 to registering two Lexus SUVs in Pennsylvania to avoid New York’s high insurance rates. She was sentenced to three years’ probation and ordered to pay $6,200 in restitution plus an $800 fine.

Swinton joined Port Richmond as its interim principal in June 2017, after serving as principal at John Jay School for Law in Brooklyn since 2010.

The SCI found that Swinton, at John Jay, paid a total $100,000 in split payments — which was against purchasing rules — to Tanya John, a DOE vendor and ex-principal in the Bronx {snip} The money was reportedly spent on “Saturday retreats” and overnight college trips {snip}


Officials would not explain why Swinton — who led an anti-police march through the halls of John Jay and angered some Port Richmond parents by kicking cops out of the Staten Island school – was placed in an office that serves as a liaison with the NYPD.