Family Foundations Academy Still Has Some Big Unanswered Questions

Yay! The school has been saved by the graciousness of the Delaware Charter Schools Network!  We can all go back to our regular business.  Except for this one little item:

ONLINE CHECKBOOK DETAIL TRANSACTIONS

Department: FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY – Vendor: FOX ROTHSCHILD LLP
for
Period: FY 2015 Period 1 thru 6

No. of Payments: Amount:
5 $214,730.93
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 11/5/2014 $8,367.50 374930
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 9/24/2014 $155,000.00 362670
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 12/8/2014 $18,107.93 385007
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 11/5/2014 $13,255.50 374930
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 8/28/2014 $20,000.00 354800

Department: FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY – Vendor: FOX ROTHSCHILD LLP
for
Period: FY 2014

No. of Payments: Amount:
12 $140,000.00
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 5/2/2014 $10,000.00 321286
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 9/9/2013 $10,000.00 255886
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 4/8/2014 $20,000.00 313887
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 2/11/2014 $20,000.00 297503
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 1/9/2014 $10,000.00 288236
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 8/8/2013 $10,000.00 248818
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 6/19/2014 $10,000.00 337991
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 12/5/2013 $10,000.00 280331
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 10/15/2013 $10,000.00 265941
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 4/11/2014 $10,000.00 315273
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 11/14/2013 $10,000.00 274705
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 6/13/2014 $10,000.00 335458

We know this isn’t for Auphsite.  They already got paid:

Department: FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY – Vendor: AUPHSITE HOLDING COMPANY
for
Period: FY 2015 Period 1 thru 6

No. of Payments: Amount:
22 $85,081.96

So how does a charter school of 800 students manage to accumulate $354,000 in attorney fees?  With one check alone being $155,000, this had to be something big.  Does this have anything to do with it?  From Avi Wolfman Arant’s Newsworks article last week:

The school’s lawyers recommended Family Foundations conceal that audit from the state, which did not become aware of the document until December.

Sorry, this school can pin everything on Moore and Brewington all they want, but there is something deeper at play here….

 

 

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Family Foundations Academy: “potentially serious allegations of financial mismanagement”

As the drums of war continue to beat against Family Foundations Academy, news surfaced at the Delaware State Board of Education meeting yesterday that a 200 page audit of the embattled school was received by the Delaware Department of Education the day before.

Patrick Heffernan, a member of the board, stated he was “very disappointed this report came in at the 11th hour”, a day before the board had to decide on their charter renewal.

While it wasn’t implicitly said, there was a general feeling there were serious questions about the audit the school had done last winter, with Auphsite Consulting Group.  I had my own questions about that report as it blindly accepted what the school said were education expenses.  Furthermore, the individuals who compiled the audit were questionable.  I searched the three members on the report, Darnell Sulaiman, Nakisha Hadi, and Terri Muhammad.  I did find information on Sulaiman and Muhammad, but Nakisha Hadi, the financial analyst and certified forensic accountant does not appear to even exist.  Anywhere.  The only places that show them as a legitimate business appear on the company’s own website at 1500 Walnut St., Ste. 700 and a Manta business listing that shows them at a separate address, which is a row-house in Philadelphia, not the Walnut Street address on the report and their website.

Another company in Philadelphia, on Market Street, is Charter School Renewal, a company run by Alan Wohlstetter, a former attorney for Fox Rothschild.  Wohlstetter appears to be the current attorney for Family Foundations Academy based on the Delaware Charter School Office documents on their own website.  Fox Rothschild had many payments sent to them in 2014 from Family Foundations Academy, totaling well over $320,000.00.  Wohlstetter recently joined the firm of Zarwin, Baum, DeVito, Kaplan, Schaer, Toddy, P.C.  In their news release for Wohlstetter’s placement in the firm, they wrote the following:

Prior to joining the firm, Alan Wohlstetter was involved in financing more than thirty charter schools, serving as a Bond Counsel or Underwriter’s Counsel for schools in Pennsylvania, California, Texas, and Colorado. Most recently, he closed a $30 million bond financing for a Philadelphia charter school and currently serves as General Counsel to three charter schools. What’s more, Alan also serves as President of Charter School Renewal, a consulting firm which helps charter schools navigate change. 

Last June, Wohlstetter wrote a document for Fox Rothschild called Common Ground In Education: Closing Pennsylvania’s Low-Performing Charter Schools.

Another attorney from Fox Rothschild, Wali Rushdan, appeared to be helping Family Foundations Academy at their September 30th board meeting by taking minutes of the meeting.  Rushdan is also a member of the very same Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity that all the members of the Family Foundations Board and Head of School Sean Moore belong to.  While this could all appear to be coincidence, it should definitely be looked into by investigators.  There are just way too many connections here folks, and there needs to be answers and explanations to all of this in a public forum.

As well, Moore served as treasurer of the Delaware Charter School Network governing board.  This advocacy group for Delaware charter schools is essentially a lobbyist firm for charters.  According to their 2012 Form 990, the organization spent $24,000.00 in lobbying costs.  If Sean Moore was treasurer for this group, and he is behind a great deal of the financial malfeasance at Family Foundations Academy, I would have to wonder if he misspent funds there as well.

I reached out to State Auditor Tom Wagner’s office this morning but no one was able to talk at this point in time and I am awaiting a return call.  As well, I called Auphsite Consulting Group which does answer as Darnell Sulaiman but I was unable to connect with anyone there as well.

To be continued I’m sure…