Playground grant accepted by Nashua school board

NASHUA – Dr. Norman W. Crisp Elementary School is getting a new playground thanks in part to a woman who is accused of being an identity thief and con artist.

The Board of Education voted unanimously to accept a $30,000 grant from the Lowe’s corporation to be used for a new playground at the school. That grant was awarded based on the work of a volunteer grant writer who was arrested and charged with identity theft a few weeks ago.

Daniel Donovan, the district’s chief operating officer, told board members that he has spoken to Lowe’s representatives, who said the grant does exists and is on the up and up. In fact, Donovan already had the check, though it hadn’t been deposited before the vote.

“There should be no problems with the grant,” Donovan said.

Dana Michelle Lawrence, 43, was living in Nashua under the name Genevieve Kaplan when she volunteered with the city as a grant writer. Lawrence/Kaplan aroused suspicion in City Hall when she started demanding access to city bank account information, and police were called to investigate.

That’s when officers reportedly uncovered her false identity. Lawrence/Kaplan is wanted in Rhode Island in connection to a theft by deception conviction, and she is also a suspect in numerous frauds in several other states, according to police. She is currently jailed, and her case in court is pending.

Regardless of the inception of the grant, board member Sandra Ziehm is grateful to Lowe’s for the funding, saying she is delighted the company is so community oriented.

Damien Fisher can be reached at 594-1245, or @Telegraph_DF.