West Virginia Woman Who Called Michelle Obama ‘Ape in Heels’ Headed to Prison for Embezzling $18,000 in FEMA Aid

FEMA Disaster Recovery signs direct residents to help in Rainelle, W. Va., in August 2016. A former West Virginia nonprofit director is headed to prison for defrauding FEMA of $18,000 in disaster funds.
Photo: Steve Helber (Associated Press)

Ah, karma. The ousted director of a West Virginia nonprofit who got the boot after referring to then (and always) first lady Michelle Obama as an “ape in heels” is now headed to federal prison for wrongly accepting monies meant for flood victims.

Pamela Taylor, 57, was sentenced Thursday to 10 months in prison and two months’ home confinement for taking $18,000 in Federal Emergency Management Agency funds meant to help people whose homes were lost or damaged in flooding that engulfed Clay County, W.Va., in 2016, NBC News reports.

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Taylor was working as director of the nonprofit Clay County Development Corporation in 2016 when she posted a social media post in which she referred to Obama with the offensive and derogatory term. As The Root reported, in a Facebook post after the 2016 presidential election, Taylor dogged out Michelle Obama while praising Melania Trump:

“It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified first lady back in the White House. I’m tired of seeing an ape in heels.”

Taylor initially resigned after her comment went viral, igniting a firestorm. But after she got her job back, claiming she didn’t realize the racial implications of her “ape” comment, the state stepped in. It guaranteed her ouster by ending its relationship with the nonprofit, which had provided elder services.

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In her latest turn in the spotlight, authorities say Taylor pleaded guilty in February to wrongly registering for $18,000 in FEMA disaster aid.

She claimed her primary residence was damaged in the floods and that she was living in rental property, but she never moved and still lived in the home she said was damaged, according to NBC.

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Now it looks like Taylor will be calling a federal prison home for about a year. She also will have to pay a $10,000 fine.

As the old folks often say: God don’t like ugly.

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