The crisis with Family Foundations Academy continues, and it’s looking real bad for them. Attention is focused on Head of School Sean Moore. After allegations by a parent that he bought two Mercedes Benz with state funds, as well as several other insinuations, including a very large lawsuit of the sexual nature, and increased usage of state p-cards, the Auditor of Accounts for Delaware is investigating the finances of the school. And it looks like the school has hired an attorney.
As revealed by Kilroy yesterday, Family Foundations Academy had a financial forensic investigation done last February by a company called Auphsite Consulting & Advisory. The report went over the use of purchase card transactions, also known as P-card purchases. These are essentially credit card transactions. When these are paid by state entities, they appear on Delaware Online Checkbook under the initials PCA instead of a check number.
This isn’t the first time Sean Moore has been called out on the use of p-cards. In 2011, a News Journal article written by Nichole Dobo detailed the high use of p-cards by administrators and school districts. She even interviewed Sean Moore:
At Family Foundations Academy Charter School, numerous trips were paid for with the state credit card, and that bill was then paid with fundraising money, said Sean Moore, a co-director at the school. For instance, one trip was to a 76ers basketball game. A parent group at the school raised money so parents and students could attend the game. It’s not practical, for instance, to ask parents to bring “a handful of ones” to pay for Sixers tickets, he said.
The Sixers, huh? More on that later! The full article from the News Journal can be found here: http://archive.delawareonline.com/article/20110206/NEWS03/102060344/Delaware-schools-hidden-spending
Earlier in this school year, Noel Rodriguez, the former head of school for Academy of Dover, “resigned”. However, several people told me it was due to misuse of the schools p-card. While this was never made public, and Academy of Dover would not state the reason for Rodriguez’ “resignation”, their board minutes last month stated the p-cards have been taken away from the school.
Back to the independent audit questioned the high number of p-card transactions done by the two Head of School leaders, Sean Moore and Dr. Tennell Brewington. The report found that out of the $116,309.45 in p-card purchases from July 1, 2012 to February 21, 2014, $3,908.85 was unallocated from what are deemed as valid school expenses.
The report recommended the school no longer use the WSFS bank account attached to this p-card, but the school did not heed that advice as p-card transactions continue on the State of Delaware Online Credit Card Transactions website through November 26th of this year with $38,849.41 in charges just for that month alone. While most were valid educational expenses, some were questionable, including a Comcast Spotlight PHL charge for $8,670.00. While Comcast charges are sure to arise in the state of Delaware due to cable costs, Family Foundations Academy was the only one to have a charge from Comcast Spotlight PHL. In fact, out of all the Comcast charges for all of the state entities, the next highest was a little over $3900 for The Hospital For The Chronically Ill. But to give the school the benefit of the doubt, maybe they were just really behind on their monthly bill. I saw what looked like a regular monthly charge from the end of September. But then in July, there were two transactions, one for $7,620 and another one for $8,670.
I checked to see what was happening at the Comcast Center in Philadelphia in July. Nothing popped up that could warrant those kinds of charges. But then I remembered the talk about the whole board and the two heads of school being in a fraternity. After some extensive googling, I remembered that several members of the board belong to a fraternity called Kappa Alpha Psi. They actually have a business called Kappa Alpha Psi Fraterity, Inc., based out of Philadelphia. On their Google Groups page, they have an event coming up on January 5th, 2015 for a ’76ers game at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. You can even get tickets on the Google Groups website, right here, by clicking on the ’76ers game for January 5th vs. the Cavaliers: http://www.wilmingtonkappas.com/Events/
Who is running the paypal site it brings you to? Hmm, I have to wonder.
In the report there were numerous charges that both Sean Moore and Dr. Tennell Brewington had as costs for the school. But many of these costs seem very high. I went over them with a few people, and they all agreed these seem to be extremely high costs for a charter school of 800 students.
Delaware Online Checkbook for Family Foundations for FY 2015:
Auphsite Holding Company: $85,081.96, 21 payments
Antonio’s Lawn Service: $14,335, 5 pmts
Baronhr Healthcare LLC: $3627, 6 pmts
Black Magic Seal Coating and Asphalt Inc. $4290, 1 pmt
Cherry Bros LLC $7194.65
County Insulation Co. $20,000.00 (company is with other schools, but this is over 3 times higher than payments from other districts)
Crestmoor Swim Club $1750.00 only other one is Del Tech Stanton Campus
Global Equipment Company Inc.: many other districts, but 2nd highest is $1-$2k, FFA is at $5+k
Groupcast LLC: $3,670, 2 pmts., MOT also has 1 pmt
Rapid Renovation and Repair $3,235, 2 pmts
Rosanne Tray Inc. $11,789.50, 2 pmts
SB and Company LLC $16,000, 3 pmts, ****Providence Creek, 1 pmt $7,500.00***
System Liquidation Inc. $14,300, 2pmts
With many parents reporting many bizarre activities going on at the school, with the 90 day suspension of co-head of school, Dr. Tennell Brewington, and conflicts of interest resulting in administrative positions and board placements, it seems as if this school falling apart. I would love if “Dee” would comment on these articles! It has become painfully obvious there has been no financial oversight for years, and the Delaware DOE needs to be held accountable as well. As Kilroy reported yesterday, the Citizens Budget Oversight Committee is required to have a representative from the Delaware DOE present at each meeting, but if Family Foundations Academy hasn’t had a committee until recently, where is the disconnect?
Numerous names from the DOE are mentioned in the complaints document. When state funds are used to pay $155,000.00 to an attorney’s office, is there anything flagged for that high of an amount? There are way too many questions here, and the parents definitely wants answers.