The CEO of Prince George's County Public Schools contributed $500 dollars a school board member's re-election campaign at the same time that school board member was helping renegotiate CEO Kevin Maxwell's nearly half-million dollar employment contract.
Board Member Carolyn Boston has now returned the $500 to Maxwell. She's denying she did anything wrong.
But the Maxwell contribution is just one of a series of complaints a group of activist parents has made to the Maryland Ethics Commission.
Angry about a series of scandals at Prince George's County Schools, two moms from DuVal High looked at campaign finance reports on line and were surprised by what they found. Not just that check written by Maxwell to Boston's campaign in late December, but also a $2,000 check written to Boston's campaign by Mainstream Development Educational Group, a company that had done business with the schools in 2012 and could have applied to do business in the future.
Then there are checks connected to the husband of Deputy Schools Superintendent Monique Davis and given to another school board member, Sonya Williams. They include a $3,000 check from Davis for Congress and two more checks totaling $4,000 from Friends of Derek Davis.
"I'm angry because if you have an allegiance to someone else besides the people who elected you, or the parents of the children in these schools, then someone else's agenda gets pushed, said Yolanda Rogers of Concerned Parents of PGCPS Students.
The activists say the contributions violate Maryland's ethics rules.
But a spokesman for the schools CEO, as well as board member Boston, brushed off the criticism, insisting there was no quid pro quo, and suggesting the complaints themselves are a dirty campaign trick.
But Rogers said, "'m not running for anything. It's not political for me. It's way beyond political. This is about my child and all the children in Prince George's County."
Boston said she returned the CEO's contribution after lawyers told her she could either return the money or recuse herself from voting on Maxwell's salary package.
We have yet to hear back from school board member Sonya Williams.
But the deputy superintendent's husband, Dereck Davis, said he was just trying to help an old friend and talented board member.
Boston says she's considering suing the activists for slander.