LANSING - Despite allegations that its former director embezzled more than $73,000 from its coffers, the Hispanic/Latino Commission of Michigan "is actively working on a number of vibrant new initiatives," the commission said in a statement on Thursday.
Maria Louisa "Marylou" Mason of Williamston, who retired from the commission in 2015 after nearly 30 years at its helm, has been charged with multiple counts of embezzlement after Attorney General Bill Schuette on Tuesday accused her of using thousands of dollars in public funds on herself. The 80-year-old faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Commission leaders have not returned messages seeking comment, and it isn't clear how those alleged crimes affected the operations of the commission, a small operation that received $261,000 from the state this year. The funds Schuette said were embezzled were earmarked to build a statue honoring civil rights activist Cesar Chavez in Lansing, Schuette said. That statue hasn't been built.
Thursday's statement didn't mention the statue nor address specifics on the commission's operations. It said only that commissioners are "committed to continuing our work with our partners in government to advance the interests of all residents of the state of Michigan."