Type Jerome Oberlton's name into Google, and one of the first things to pop up is a Baltimore Sun article detailing all the places he used the local school district's credit cards. These included businesses like Bath & Body Works and Ross, which would seem to provide little of use for the head of a public school district's technology department. A bit further down in the search results, you'll find mention of the $250,000 Oberlton spent renovating his executive suite.
Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles was aware of those reports when he hired Oberlton as his chief of staff in January. As district spokesman Jon Dahlander relayed to the Morning News at the time, Miles "has spoken with Mr. Oberlton about his entire tenure on numerous occasions, and he is aware of that story. He understands the sensitivity of the situation. He is still very comfortable with him coming on board."
Miles' comfort was misplaced. That much became clear this morning when word of Oberlton's departure began circulating. At first, it seemed like yet another in the series of high-profile defections that have marked Miles' first year in DISD. It soon became clear, however, that Oberlton's case is different. He announced to Miles he's the subject of a federal criminal investigation.
The investigation, according to DISD, stems from Oberlton's tenure with Atlanta Public Schools. That district is engulfed in a cheating scandal that's left many of Oberlton's former colleagues facing conspiracy charges. The specifics of Oberlton's case aren't yet clear, but one assumes it's related.
Miles, meanwhile, is "profoundly shocked and disappointed."
"When I learned of the seriousness of this issue yesterday, I immediately requested Mr. Oberlton's resignation. I was shocked because the district conducted a thorough background and credit check including interviews with his most recent employer," he said in a statement released by DISD. "My disappointment is accompanied by anger because Jerome did not inform us about his involvement in this investigation until yesterday."
Officials are expected to spend this week frantically Asking Jeeves if there's anyone else they should be worried about.