TELFORD TELESCOPE: DPS’ Proposed Grand-Jury-Convening; Proposed  $1 Billion Tort Case vs. Emergency Management

by Dr. John Telford

John-Telford-207x300Happy New Year to all of our D-REM correspondents!  The least-adequately-and-truthfully-covered story nationally has been the growing and yawning income gap between this country’s haves and have-nots and the reasons for it.  Locally, the least-adequately-and-truthfully-covered stories have been the Flint water scandal, Detroit officials’ reluctance to devise a water-affordability plan for impoverished residents, and the main-stream media’s reluctance to tell the truth about how the then-solvent and academically competitive Detroit Public School District has been virtually destroyed by the 1999 state takeover of the past decade-and-a-half.    Since my pro bono year in 2012-2013 as the democratically elected Detroit Public School Board’s appointed  Superintendent and the then-Emergency Manager disempowered the Board and fired me when Public Act 436–the replacement law for the EM law (PA 4) took effect (an illegal law that we Michiganians had voted to rescind)–I have sat at the Board-in-exile’s table as its Superintendent-in-exile at its meetings at Frederick Douglass High School on west Warren.  It is there on January 14 at 6:00 p.m. that I will be presenting my proposals for the Board to seek the empaneling of a Grand Jury and to file a $1 billion Federal tort case seeking damages on behalf of Detroit’s 100,000 schoolchildren. Our current Federal Court suit to get the odious emergency manager law overturned is taking far too long to get heard.  I hope that as many Detroiters as can fill the Frederick Douglass auditorium will come at 6:00 on January 14 to hear a discussion of the following:

a) the Board’s potential proposed petitioning for the convening of a grand jury, and

b) the necessity for the Board to file a TORT lawsuit–pled by a local contingency lawyer (I may be able to bring one in) or by a high-powered out-of-state attorney who cannot be intimidated–seeking a billion dollars in damages (see below):

DPS Tort Strategy:

  • $ 1Billion Tort Case
  • High powered attorney from out of state (possibly the great Willie Gary, who has won cases totaling $22 billion)
  • (Or another out-of-state attorney, who–like Counselor Gary–cannot be intimidated)
  • This local pro bono attorney can set the stage for the case for the out-of-state attorney.  This case should also involve data provided by others close to the case, including DPS teachers, administrators, and security guards who were summarily released with five-minute evaluations by an outside party (or no evaluation) in the spring of 2012 and thereafter,  “Educational Achievement” Authority students who would be willing to testify regarding conditions in their schools, EAA parents who were told their sons’ and daughters’ diplomas are worthless, and perhaps even recently-released prison inmates who were incarcerated as a result of their having been miseducated in DPS during the unwarranted fifteen-year state takeover.This case has the potential to become the most colorful case in DPS history, and the national attention it will draw will cause the Governor, the Legislature, and other contributively duplicitous parties to back off in a hurry–and yet back off too late!

Harms (Damages):

Detroit students and parents were deprived of their rights under the US Constitution to equal protection and their public assets as citizens were plundered and looted by the following co-conspirators:

  • Governor Snyder (actually installed a 4th DPS emergency manager after saying the Ems did harm)
  • Arne Duncan (pronounced DPS the “ground zero” of America’s troubled schools and then contributed to the trouble)
  • Eastern Michigan University
  • John Covington and his successor (squandered thousands of Detroiters’ tax dollars)
  • Former DPS Superintendent Barbara Byrd-Bennett (about to do prison time for malfeasance as Chicago Superintendent)
  • The Broad Foundation
  • DPS Emergency Managers–present and past
  • No-bid vendors gifted with million-dollar contracts
  • Assets were wasted and scrapped (television technology, other technology, expensive running tracks, books)

Elements of Case:

  • Decline of DPS MEAP scores over the takeover period
  • Sharp increase in achievement gap
  • Egregious decline of student population
  • Billion-dollar building-fund looting and closing 200-plus schools–many unnecessarily
  • Bankrupting system
  • Closing school for pregnant girls
  • Closing aviation school
  • Closing school for handicapped children
  • Giving away assets to insiders and building high-priced running tracks by schools and then closing the schools
  • Old Headquarters deal and Fisher Building deal
  • Lack of a forensic audit
  • Misappropriation of Title 1 funds
  • Emergency Manager Law reinstatement after successful ballot initiative rejecting it
  • NAEP scores
  • Arne Duncan “ground zero” statement
  • Privatiztion scam
  • Detroit literacy rate
  • No priority/turnaround plan
  • Turnover of assets to EAA competitor and others
  • Funding a competitor
  • Signing of law enabling competitor with EMU and giving away 15 schools to failed EAA


Dr. John Telford is a Detroit educator and poet whose most recent book is a biography of the path-breaking Miller High School and Pershing High School coach Will Robinson.  The books is available at (type in Dr. John Telford) or by direct order from the author at or (313) 460-8272.  Tapes of Dr. Telford’s shows on WCHB NewsTalk1200 and of his TV appearances can be accessed at  


  1. Related to this and somewhat forgotten, or perhaps never thought of, was the thievery of billions in art under the bancruptcy and specifically the Grand Bargain. Many don’t think it is related to the future of DPS but it is.

    All experts agree if Detroit is ever going to recover DPS needs to recover. Plenty of money will be needed to make this happen and don’t expect the state to make up the needed shortfall. It will not happen. The politics in Michigan are such that the poliical will is not their. It will need to be forced upon the state.

    The Governor of the state, Rick Snyder, deliberately needlessly commandeered billions of dollars in art away from the city and choose to protect it versus the city itself. Bankruptcy law protected the art from being sold to pay off creditors.

    Instead the art should have methodically been sold to rebuild DPS with the result being the rebuilding of a middle class in Motown.

    The press is also culpable for contributing to the greatest at heist in history for praising and edorsing this theft. Here is a 9 minute review of the treachery called the Grand Bargain . …

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