Woman to stand trial in theft of money for Cesar Chavez statue

LANSING (AP) — An 80-year-old woman will stand trial after more than $70,000 set aside to build a statue in Lansing to honor farm labor leader Cesar Chavez was embezzled.

The Lansing State Journal reports that Maria Louisa Mason of Williamston waived her right last Thursday to a hearing on the evidence in district court.

Mason had been executive director of the Michigan Hispanic/Latino Commission within the state Department of Civil Rights. She retired in 2015 from state government work.

Mason is accused of transferring the money to bank accounts that she controlled and then using it to pay credit card bills, taxes and other personal expenses. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette
said the scheme started in 2013 and lasted until June 2015.

The Chavez statue still hasn’t been built.