Woman Who Appeared with Obama a Convicted Criminal

Charlottesville’s Leslie Macko, who stood at President Obama’s side as an example of people who need unemployment benefits, actually lost her job because of after a conviction for prescription drug fraud. Jessica Jaglois at CBS-19 dug up this gem, which certainly has the potential to become national news. Macko said that she’d been laid off from ACAC, and needed unemployment benefits extended since there were no other jobs to be had. In fact, ACAC fired her after she was convicted. Which leaves me wondering how she’s getting unemployment. Don’t you have to be laid off to be eligible?

07/29 Update: ACAC has added an update to the story to clarify something that definitely wasn’t clear the first time around, which is that her firing had nothing to do with her drug conviction. She was convicted of prescription drug fraud (and, in another incident, grand larceny), and she was fired, but that the two aren’t related.

12 Responses to “Woman Who Appeared with Obama a Convicted Criminal”


  • It really depends. There are reasons why a fired person can receive unemployment benefits.

    Also, this could have been an instance where ACAC made a strong suggestion that she go ahead and quit, as opposed to actually firing her. I’ve seen it happen several times and the article saying she “lost her job” doesn’t clear up exactly what happened.

    No matter what, it shows a pretty obvious lack of vetting by the people who arranged this.

  • Interesting—the terms of unemployment are nuanced than I thought. Thanks for the Nolo link!

  • Who says she lost her job because of the conviction? Her employer may not have even been aware of the conviction. Or knew and didn’t care. This is some seriously half-assed reporting on the part of the Newsplex.

  • She didn’t loose her job because of her conviction, she lost her job because of her misconduct at ACAC.

    Check it out……….

    http://www.newsplex.com/home/headlines/99497354.html

  • I strongly suggest that you take this item down from Cville News or edit it immediately. I read the story and there is no evidence there at all that her loss of employment had anything to do with her being convicted for changing the number of pills on her prescription. In fact, the story states very clearly that there is no indication of a connection.

  • I posted a comment on the Newsplex site questioning why they aired the story before doing adequate research. My comment didn’t make it past moderation, but comments condemning Ms Macko and calling the president a “thug from Chicago” did.

    It’s extremely difficult to get VA unemployment if you are fired for misconduct or failure to perform. The idea that this woman is somehow bilking the system is highly unlikely. I hate that Ms Macko’s name is being dragged through the mud when some of the most basic questions weren’t even answered.

  • Waldo,
    Like Jack, I also read the story and I think you may have misread it. Please read it again and see if you think it agrees with your post.

  • I encountered an interesting twist to VA unemployment law when I was laid off at the beginning of 2009.

    Had I merely been working full time, I would have been eligible for benefits. But because I was working full time *and* spending $100k to earn an Executive MBA from UVa-Darden on the side when I was laid off, I was deemed ineligible. (I was classified as a college student.)

  • It is very easy to get unemployment if your fired for snorting coke while stealing money and sleeping on the job. All you need to do is apply for benefits and then get lucky if the ex-employer does not take care of the paperwork and interview to provide the “cause” for firing.

    If they paperwork gets backup on the HRs desk and then they just toss it…here come the Unemployment checks. And since this is the government we are talking about, the paperwork is a pain and you have to set aside a chuck of your time for the interview.

  • It’s a shame this type of article passes for journalism. Make a bold title statement; throw in a few paragraphs that make you think these claims might actually be based in fact. Oh, and then throw in a final paragraph that says everything is just speculation.

    But I would be interested to see what the commenter Trvevor Reese was talking about (July 29, 2010 at 7:49 AM) “If you read the Police report you find out that she fudged the number on a prescription pad for Tylenol #3 to get more pills so she wouldn’t have to go back. She never even got the drugs and was so sick that the Police let her come in the next day to do the paperwork”

  • I read the story and there is no evidence there at all that her loss of employment had anything to do with her being convicted for changing the number of pills on her prescription. In fact, the story states very clearly that there is no indication of a connection.

    It says that now. It certainly didn’t say that when I wrote this. I’ve updated the story because, after all, it’s important to get things right.

    Personally, I don’t think that the error is quite so serious. It’s true that she was fired, and it’s true that she’s been convicted of prescription drug fraud. It’s simply not true that the two are connected. While a noteworthy detail, and bad because it’s wrong, it’s a far cry from erroneously reporting that somebody has been convicted of something or fired from someplace. (I’m looking at you, NBC-29.) That is, the basic facts are right, but the causality is off.

    Anyhow, that’s really all academic—none of that is to excuse my error. Wrong is wrong, and that’s no good. I’ve updated this to correct my logical leap.

  • She was not fired. ACAC “terminated” her and the state reversed it which means she was laid off. (ie “not for cause” )If you want a story go ask phil wendell (owner of ACAC)how many people he “fired” when the economy crapped and how many got their “firing” reversed. ACAC appealed twice and lost.

    The real question is what does any of this have to do with her opinion that extending unemployment benefits is a good thing. If you read the original article you will see that she is not receiving benefits even though she is elgible and is getting help from her father.

    I think this whole thing is a perfect example of a Jouraanalist trying to get ahead without caring who she detroys in the process. Sad very sad.

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