Los Angeles: Charter Operator Fined $16,000 for Conflicts of Interests That Netted Her $19,000 a Month and Possibly Millions


Cause we all know this could NEVER happen in Delaware, right?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Another amazing but true story from Los Angeles about the loose rules under which charters operate.

This charter operator opened a charter school in 2006 called the Wisdom Academy for Young Scientists. She bought a building and leased it to the charter for $19,000 a month. She paid herself a salary of $223,615. She renovated the building and charged it to the state. Auditors think the charter operator may have funneled millions of dollars to her own accounts from public funds. The violations were too egregious to overlook.

Some of the allegations bordered on the bizarre.

Auditors questioned, for example, the use of school funds to pay a $566,803 settlement to a former teacher who sued the organization for wrongful termination after she was directed by Okonkwo to travel with her to Nigeria to marry Okonkwo’s brother-in-law for the purpose of making him a United States citizen.

The school…

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