David Binkle was Michelle Obama’s advisor during the creation of her highly criticized school lunch program.
Binkle was the poster child for the first lady’s program, instituting its strict nutrition standards for the nearly 1 million children the Los Angeles school district feeds a day. Binkle was so successful in instituting the program that he was brought to the White House to meet with the first lady and advise her on new ways to implement restrictions on children’s lunches.
At the time this is what Michelle Obama’s website said:
David Binkle, Director of Food Services for Los Angeles Unified School District, shared that his district has been able to successfully implement and even go beyond the nutrition standards for the 650,000 students they serve. As a result, they have seen increased participation in the program, improvements in students’ academics, and even increased graduation rates.
However, a lot has changed since then and Binkle is now facing several years of jail time for defrauding the program. According to court documents, Binkle stole $65,000 cash from Michelle Obama’s nutrition program. He could face up to 13 years in prison if he is convicted on the 15 felony counts brought against him.
The LA Times reports:
The Los Angeles Unified School District serves nearly 700,000 meals per day, and the professional chef helped lead a charge that saw vegetarian curries, pad Thai noodles and quinoa salads replace old cafeteria staples like chicken nuggets and corn dogs.
The initiatives won the district numerous awards, drew praise from then-First Lady Michelle Obama as she led a national push to combat childhood obesity, and earned Binkle appearances on Tedx Talks.
But as he was revolutionizing meals for the district’s students, prosecutors allege, Binkle illegally funneled roughly $65,000 of the district’s money into a private consulting firm he ran, then placed some of that money into his own pocket.
The 55-year-old appeared in court on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to 15 felony counts including embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds. He posted $220,000 bail and is scheduled to return to court in October. […]
According to court documents, Binkle repeatedly misappropriated district funds in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 between 2010 and 2014. Prosecutors also allege that he forged an application to become a vendor with the district and failed to disclose outside financial interests.
If convicted, he faces up to 13 years in prison.
The Los Angeles school district has disavowed Binkle and of course Michelle Obama is quietly pretending that this incident occurred.
Do you think maybe Michelle Obama knew Binkle was stealing money? Maybe he can come up with a new program for the prison lunch system.