The Jim Jones of Delaware fraud is at it again. What did the infamous Patrick Miller do now? He only lied to the entire membership of the Indian River Volunteer Fire Company at their monthly meeting. Continue reading
Enough is enough already. This guy has been walking around since the 1990s with fraud and abuse of taxpayer funds in his rearview mirror as he walks around like he is the Al Capone of Delaware. If the Delaware Attorney General’s office won’t act, the people will force them to!
Please sign the Change.org petition at the below link. I was really hoping Attorney General Matt Denn would take significant action against Patrick Miller but he failed, plain and simple. Now it is incumbent on incoming Attorney General Kathleen Jennings to reopen the investigations into Patrick Miller, not only at the Indian River School District but also the Indian River Volunteer Fire Company.
Change.org Petition: The People Demand A Full Investigation Into Patrick Miller!
It has been two years since the Indian River School District Audit Investigation report came out. In that time, the Delaware Attorney General’s office decided it wasn’t worth pursuing criminal charges against former Chief Financial Officer Patrick Miller. Even though African-American and minority charter school leaders who pulled the same shenanigans did get punished. Delaware’s justice system really sucks. Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn knows better than this. I am highly disappointed.
One citizen of the district decided to email the Indian River Board of Education and find out why they didn’t go after Miller in a civil suit. Continue reading
Did Kathy McGuiness and another powerful Delaware figure work behind the scenes to get someone from the Auditor of Accounts office a new job following the News Journal smear campaign against Kathleen Davies?
In eight days, Delaware will elect a new State Auditor. It is between Kathy McGuiness (Democrat) and James Spadola (Republican). While McGuiness’ has vowed the office would be completely independent, as has Spadola, the lingering plotline of the destruction of Kathleen Davies still has questions. One of those questions surrounds the destination of one of the architects of Davies’ ouster at the Auditor of Accounts office (AOA). Continue reading
It appears there was collusion going on between various Delaware agencies when it came to the Indian River School District audit investigation in 2016. As a result of that collusion, Patrick Miller walks free and Susan Bunting became the Delaware Secretary of Education. Continue reading
The former Superintendent of Indian River School District who is now the Delaware Secretary of Education, Dr. Susan Bunting, was well aware Patrick Miller, the former Indian River Chief Financial Officer, was stealing money. Despite telling the Auditor of Account’s office, Delaware media, and the staff of Indian River that she was shocked and had no clue about what Miller was doing, she knew. In fact, she knew going back to at least 2008. Continue reading
Yesterday, I posted a controversial article about how Susan Bunting failed to disclose vital information to the Delaware Auditor’s office. There was at least one (as of this writing) complaint against Indian River’s former Chief Financial Officer, Patrick Miller. Since then, new information has materialized that sheds some additional information on what I am calling Millergate. Once again, as in yesterday, there is language in this article that is not safe for work. Continue reading
Delaware State Auditor Tom Wagner’s office just released an audit investigation of Sussex Technical School District. Construction deals that did not meet Delaware State Code began with a bus parking lot for almost $206,000 and continued with over $4 million dollars with the same company. Wagner’s report, which can be seen below, found this to be very egregious. Common Sense Solutions, a construction company owned by Michael Horsey, made a whirlwind of profit from contracts that were not procured by the State of Delaware as required by the law.
The report, in its conclusion, stated the following:
CSS turned their original HS Bus Entrance CM contract of $205,699 into nearly $4,000,000 in payments by piggybacking the HS HVAC Systems, HS Instructional Shops, and District Office Renovations projects onto the original CM contract with Sussex Tech as well as providing other services to the District that were not subject to any contract or required State approvals.
Any attempts at resolving the ongoing situation by district employees was met with firm resistance according to the report:
Through various interviews with employees at Sussex Tech, it has been stated that each time someone began questioning the payments made to CSS, they were pushed out of the decision-making and payment approval processes.
Once again we have a Delaware school district or charter school where serious financial abuse and conflicts of interest are a higher priority than the education of children. Once again, why are we NOT getting annual audits of ALL school districts as required by Delaware State Code?
The Indian River School District passed their referendum today. According to The News Journal, voters passed the expense measure with 7,095 yes votes. 5,394 voted no.
The vote comes exactly 100 days after the district’s first attempt to pass a current expense referendum failed by a mere 30 votes back on Nov. 22, 2016.
The referendum came as a result of unprecedented growth within the district, interim superintendent Mark Steele said.
Earlier this week, voters in the Colonial School District did not pass their referendum measures. Like Christina, Brandywine, and Indian River in the past couple of years, Colonial will assuredly take another stab at it. For the Indian River, the district is no doubt breathing a sigh of relief after a contentious year which saw their Chief Financial Officer resign in controversy and a painful audit investigation which showed a great deal of financial issues in the district.
The Delaware State Auditor, Tom Wagner, released a follow-up today to the Indian River School District audit investigation. The original report, released days before the district’s December referendum, showed very damning allegations against the district’s former Chief Financial Officer Patrick Miller. Today’s memorandum from Wagner came out before another referendum the district will be holding on March 2nd. While the follow-up shows significant improvement there are still some areas of concern as shown in the below report.
Today, Delaware Governor-elect John Carney picked Indian River Superintendent Susan Bunting as the Delaware Secretary of Education when his term begins in January, 2017. This is probably the worst choice he could make and it has the potential to become ripe with scandal. Continue reading
Tom Wagner is going to have a VERY busy 2017. Why? Because I’m going to make sure he does. Everyone and their mother is talking about education funding and how to change it. But all of these funding advocates aren’t bringing up in the elephant in the room. Do our districts and charters in Delaware spend the money they already have for the benefit of children? Is that foremost in their minds when they spend their money?
Indian River School District, Family Foundations Academy, Delaware Military Academy, Academy of Dover, Providence Creek Academy, Odyssey Charter School, Sussex Academy, Charter School of Wilmington, Delaware Academy of Public Safety & Security, Delaware College Prep, Kuumba Academy, and Pencader Business School have all been investigated by the auditor’s office and found to have some pretty major financial issues. The extremes, outright theft of tens, if not hundreds, of dollars which should be going toward the kids. And they were the ones that got caught.
I believe, no, make that KNOW there are others. I’ve been investigating an educational establishment the past few weeks. You can ask, but I won’t tell you who. There are not enough flags that would trigger an audit by Wagner’s office. So I will create those flags and I will plant right in the middle of Wagner’s office. The days of playing with school funds are over. And if anyone should start to feel bold, I’ve made arrangements to make sure information gets out no matter what.
We live in complicated times with no clear direction of what is up and what is down. This is the world we have created. We can sit and talk about education until the cows come home but we have already slaughtered those cows and served them for dinner. Everyone wants to feast on the scraps. Tom Wagner’s office is, by law, supposed to audit every single school district in Delaware. But he can’t. Because our General Assembly won’t fund his office to do the work needed to hold our districts accountable for how they spend money. Which is why I find it VERY ironic that certain charters and districts want to go after certain things in their quest for more money. I find that to be completely despicable and if it continues I will not rest until that conversation ends. Because NOTHING would tick me off more than something going forward with one particular certain thing. If you thought I was a pain in the ass about opt out, that will be an episode of Romper Room compared to THAT. Out of respect, I am not going to make that public at this point but it is a fair warning. And I will say it is not even remotely connected with the charter school lawsuit against Christina and the Delaware DOE.
So, Tom Wagner, my plan is to keep you so busy that you will have no other option than begging the General Assembly to beef up your staff. And I will have an apparatus so this won’t just be talk coming from you. Our General Assembly will be VERY aware why you are so busy.
Someone has to get in the dirty and ugly trenches and dig around. That’s me. If you don’t like it, too bad. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about. If it isn’t good for kids it isn’t right. As for Wagner, there is one thing you need to resolve once and for all. We both know what it is. I’ve dug around in that abyss as well. And it reeks of corruption. The tide is high.
The News Journal is reporting Indian River lost their referendum by a mere 30 votes, with 3,321 for and 3,351 against. It reminds me of a recent election in our country. I have no doubt the district will roll the dice with a 2nd attempt in the next couple of months. But the district has to own up to the audit investigation last week. By stating the referendum has nothing to do with that report, they are shooting themselves in the foot. I have a very hard time with Susan Bunting and her credibility at this point. If Patrick Miller, the former CFO, was controlling everything with finances in the district then she let him do that. She turned a blind eye to what was going on and that shows a clear lack of leadership. As well, the Board has the capability of determining the district’s finances.
Bunting said issues need to be addressed across the board to ensure the referendum passes if it is held again. Although an audit was released late last week detailing financial issues over the past five years, Bunting said she won’t blame the audit for the failure for the referendum to pass.
If it was one year or possibly two that Miller played with school finances, that would be one thing. But this went on a long time. Even more frightening that it took tips to the Auditor’s office to get to the bottom of it. Not only was Bunting and the Board asleep at the wheel, so was our state. What happened in Indian River should give our legislators a wake-up call as well. They should somehow get funding from somewhere and beef up the State Auditor of Accounts Office. Every school district and charter school in this state needs a thorough audit. We cannot continue like this. Our children lose every single time. All this talk of extra funding for schools… the funds are already there. We just need to redefine the existing funding and find a system where those funds are used equitably for all students. We can’t afford to stick with the status quo and then act shocked when we see reports like the Indian River one last week.
Delaware State Auditor Tom Wagner released the Indian River School District Audit Investigation at 2pm today. The numerous allegations in the report include using facsimile signatures for purchases, the Superintendent receiving gifts in the form of jewelry, the former CFO donating over $50,000 to non-profits where he served as the President of the boards, the business office lying to the auditor about a discrimination lawsuit against the former CFO, incorrect paychecks and salaries for teachers, not following the state rules for accounting, the CFO’s sister-in-law working in the business office, almost $160,000 in payment vouchers that had half for invalid purchases and the other half breaking rules all over the place, possible allegations of the district paying for a board member’s tuition at a Maryland school, many reimbursements to the CFO’s personal American Express Card, over $20,000 on in-state food purchases, the Superintendent buying White House Christmas ornaments, over 20% of certain scholarships given to relatives of board members, and much more.
Indian River has a referendum in five days, on November 22nd. Do you support this referendum after reading this report?
Updated: 3:02pm, 11/17/16: The Dover Post is reporting the district will hold a press event tomorrow at 10am to discuss the Auditor’s report. Newsflash, Bunting was mentioned in this report a lot. She doesn’t get to just walk away and blame everything on Patrick Miller, the former CFO…
Indian River has a referendum coming on November 22nd. Before that happens, the Delaware Auditor of Accounts office will issue an audit inspection report. A citizen in the district paid for ads in the Sussex County Post with allegations against the district and how they are spending money. In response, Indian River Superintendent Dr. Susan Bunting, Board President Charles Bireley and Board Vice-President Rodney Layfield submitted a letter to the editor at the Sussex County Post.
Many of the ads attacking the referendum and the response from the district center around the former Chief Financial Officer, Patrick Miller. Miller resigned earlier this year without any public knowledge of the events which led to his resignation. He was put on paid administrative leave the month prior.
As a result of the letter from the district, there is some clarity around the hiring of Miller in Indian River:
It should be noted that Mr. Miller was hired by the Indian River School District in September 1998, approximately six weeks before the state auditor’s office began its investigation of Brandywine’s finances. The final auditor’s report was not issued until September 2000 and Mr. Miller’s criminal case was not adjudicated until November 2000, more than two years after he was hired by IRSD.
As it turns out, the district is claiming they requested an audit, even though no prior audit report suggested a problem:
The public should know that the district requested the audit that is currently being conducted by the state auditor’s office. This request was made based upon information received in April by the administration and Board of Education. Therefore, any accusation of a “cover up” is unfounded, misleading and unfair.
One item in the letter puzzled me greatly.
The district is committed to being a good steward of our taxpayers’ dollars. This is evident in the property tax reductions implemented by our Board of Education during the past three years.
If the district knew they had all these future costs coming and a student population growing by leaps and bounds, why would they lower property taxes? Were these for things like tuition tax or because prior referenda increases ran out? For example, the capital costs for a school building do not last forever. Eventually those increases end. If that is the case with Indian River, it doesn’t show the board just deciding to lower taxes but rather they are following what was naturally supposed to happen.
While I have posted what amounts to rumors (although told to me by many different people not associated with each other) regarding Miller, I will wait to see what the audit investigation reports. I believe that when taxpayer dollars are at stake in the operation of a school district which has over 10,000 students in it, the privacy of one employee should not be given greater weight than everyone else involved in the district. There needs to be some type of legislation allowing a school district or board of education to release information when something happens that triggers an investigation from the auditor’s office. When there is very little transparency surrounding serious issues, especially during a referendum campaign, the public needs to know exactly what is going on. If this were a charter school, they would be forced to reveal what is going on through a formal review process. We need that type of mechanism for our local school districts as well.
The Chief Financial Officer of the Indian River School District, Patrick Miller, will be able to retire according to Jon Budler with Delaware 105.9. Miller was put on paid administrative leave last month after allegations surface of financial malfeasance. The Delaware State Auditor’s office is conducting an audit of the district’s finances.
As per the article, Miller will be able to keep his pension but his retirement will save the district the burden of paying his $162,258 yearly salary during what could be a lengthy state audit process. Miller was also the subject of an audit with Brandywine School District when he had the same title there in the 1990s. He began his stint with Indian River in 1998 but the state audit report did not come out until 2000.
As per Indian River Board President Dr. Don Hattier:
This is what we’re stuck with. If Mr. Miller is allowed to retire, at least he’s off our payroll which safes the district a ton of money. I believe that’s what the public wants us to do.
According to an article on WBOC’s website, former Academy of Dover Principal Noel Rodriguez is being investigated by the Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust division of the Delaware Attorney General’s office. This office, which opened in January when Attorney General Matt Denn took office, also investigated the former heads of school at Family Foundations Academy, Sean Moore and Dr. Tennell Brewington, but no charges were filed in that case.
The heat is on for charter schools after this report came out. With seven charters under investigation by the State Auditor, Tom Wagner, you can be sure legislators will be pushing for radical change. One of them, State Rep. Kim Williams, finally got her House Bill 186 released from the House Education Committee after Chair Earl Jaques sat on it for a week. The bill goes to the House for a full vote, but it is not on any agenda yet. Furthermore, even if it passes the House, it would go to the Senate Education Committee, which probably won’t convene again until January 2016 when the legislators take their 6 month hiatus.