Odyssey Audit Report Out! Lots Of “Can’t Explain” Financial Issues Going On!

The Delaware Auditor of Accounts office released the Odyssey Charter School Agreed-Upon Procedures report today.  The work was done independently by the Santora CPA Group.  The full report can be seen below.

The report shows a good deal of financial expenses that could not be explained by Odyssey Charter School.  The AHEPA gala, meant to raise funds for Odyssey, netted over $72,000 in cash donations.  The charter school only saw over $52,000 and AHEPA kept the rest.  Almost $10,000 in earmarked expenses had no justification or reason for what they were.  The Delaware Department of Education asked Odyssey to explain this as part of their formal review.  An AHEPA conference in July of 2018 had over $3,800 in unexplained expenses.

The report confirmed the Board President, Dmitri Dandalos, who was also the President of the local AHEPA , unilaterally decided on Chatham Bay continuing construction of the Ithaka Learning Center.  This was after a feasibility study determined it was not worth it to open up the early learning center.  This cost an additional $154,217.  The Board voted to pay this in executive session but it was noted in the report that the resolution to pass it in open session had no explanation of what they were paying.  But since Delaware charter schools do not get capital expenses and, therefore, no money from the Bond Bill, it doesn’t really matter in terms of the legality of it all.  Except it should.  Perhaps our legislators can fix that.  Even though it isn’t technically state money, it should still be accounted for.

Some of the expenses listed in the attachment section of the report can be easily explained.  One of the vendors of the school, The Schoolhouse 302, does professional development for the school.  My biggest question about that is why administrators from other school districts are doing a side company.  Those administrators are Joseph Jones, the Superintendent of New Castle County Vo-Tech, and T.J. Vari, a district administrator in Appoquinimink.  And if they are doing this professional development during school hours, why are they getting paid for that and their duties as administrators for their respective districts at the same time?  But I digress…

This report is riddled with expenses spent by Odyssey but did not agree with the amounts reported.  That is a very serious issue.  Last night I was viciously attacked by someone on Facebook for daring to write something bad about Odyssey.  No, I don’t think the school should be shut down.  I don’t have an issue with the education they provide their students.  From what I have heard, it is top-notch.  My issue is with the organizational end of the school.  How the board operates and how they spend taxpayer money is a big issue.  And it isn’t just Odyssey.  It is many charter schools AND districts in Delaware.  Odyssey just happens to be in the hot seat for this right now.  So is Christina School District on some levels.  My biggest problem is how there is no oversight over these things coming from the state.  Why does it take putting a school on formal review before the truth comes out?  Is there no one watching things at the granular level before it blows up?  Like I said, it’s not just charter schools.  It is districts too.  Both need to be watched very closely.  The charters get caught for it more but districts are doing shady crap too.  We all know it.  They know it.  It’s just a matter of time.

I am glad this report got out before the State Board of Education decided on the school’s charter renewal tomorrow night.  If I were the State Board, I would vote to keep Odyssey on probation until their actual renewal at the end of the school year! (special thanks to the friend who explained this could be a viable option!)

Explosive Public Comment For Odyssey’s Renewal, McGuiness Fails To Deliver

Public comment sent to the Charter School Office at the Delaware Department of Education indicates the AHEPA members of the Board of Directors over at Odyssey Charter School STILL haven’t learned the lesson that put them on formal review in the first place!

This prompted Delaware State Rep. Kim Williams to file Freedom of Information Act violations against the Board of Directors not once, but twice!

Sounds like AHEPA has some explaining to do!

Meanwhile, Delaware State Auditor Kathy McGuiness has failed to deliver the audit investigation into Odyssey Charter School.  They informed the school it was “anticipated” by December 15th.  It is now December 18th and the State Board of Education is making an important decision about this school in two days at their monthly meeting.  Once again, missing information.  But hey, let’s give McG a big break because I’m sure she is really busy socializing around Delaware for every opportunity she can get to let folks know she is Kathy McGuiness and some useless facts about the Auditor of Accounts office!

My prediction: further probation for Odyssey Charter School until all the facts come out on this stuff!

Kim Williams Calls Out Earl Jaques For The Consummate Liar He Is

In an article on Delaware Public Media concerning the status of the charter school audit bills, State Rep. Earl Jaques spun a web of lies about State Rep. Kim Williams, the sponsor of the bill.  He gave a quote to reporter Sarah Mueller stating Rep. Williams never approached him about the bill.  But Williams didn’t take it lying down.  Nor should she. Continue reading

New Odyssey Financial Abuse Uncovered While Two Brave Women Give Powerful Testimony

The funny thing about facts, my friends, is that despite the attempts of the board, they cannot be interpreted.  They cannot be changed, and they cannot be maligned for they are facts.  And the facts are that this Board violated state laws, DOE rules and regulations and maybe even criminal code laws.

 

So yes, our books are pristine.  Every dollar is accounted for.  The problem is the dollars and where they went.  Where they buried those invoices under what budget lines.  Because it’s there.  And if the State Auditor would do her job we could actually find that out.

Odyssey Charter School is in trouble.  Big trouble.  On the dawn of their final Charter School Accountability Committee meeting for their formal review this Monday, an article by Delaware Public Media came out showing even more financial abuse going on at the Greek-themed charter school.  Meanwhile, the CSAS initial report came out along with the transcript for their public hearing and they are explosive!  The transcript reveals what has been going on with teachers at the school and what led to the eventual decision to unionize. Continue reading

Jaques Is Playing Tricks With 2% School Board Tax Bill While McGuiness and Schwartzkopf Conspire Against Charter School Audit Bill

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Earl Jaques is abusing his position as Chair of the House Education Committee while Speaker of the House Pete Schwartzkopf sits back and lets it all go down.  But Schwartzkopf will protect his buddy Kathy McGuiness at any cost. Continue reading

New Charter School Audit Bill Would Make Kathy McGuiness Do Her Fricking Job

When the Odyssey Charter School debacle that made Delaware State Auditor Kathy McGuiness look like she was in cahoots with her Greek friends on the Odyssey board became public, it was obvious a change needed to happen.  State Reps. Kim Williams and John Kowalko introduced a new bill today that would give the General Assembly, the Governor, the state Attorney General, or the Secretary of Education more power to force the Auditor of Accounts Office to do audits for charter schools:

This Act authorizes the Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of the Department, or General Assembly, including a House, joint committee, committee, or member of the General Assembly, to request, and requires the Auditor of Accounts conduct or contract for, an audit of a charter school’s business and financial transactions, records, and accounts in certain circumstances. In addition, this Act makes clear that the Auditor of Accounts may not charge for an audit conducted or contracted for under this Act.
In addition, it would get rid of Kathy McGuiness’ ridiculous claim that she would have to charge a state agency for the cost of an audit.  This coming from the woman who cries poor for her Auditor’s office but has been giving out $100,000+ salaries like they are candy in the past few months.
These are the proposed changes to state code:

(4)a. The Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of the Department, or General Assembly, including a house, joint committee, committee, or member of the General Assembly, may request the Auditor of Accounts conduct or contract for an audit of a charter school’s business and financial transactions, records, and accounts if 1 of the following applies:

1. The Public Integrity Commission makes an advisory finding under § 5807(c) of Title 29 or final finding under § 5810 of Title 29 that a violation of § 5805 or § 5806 of Title 29 has occurred.

2. The Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of the Department, or General Assembly, including a house, joint committee, committee, or member of the General Assembly has evidence of a violation of State law or regulation or the misuse of State money.

b. The Auditor of Accounts shall conduct or contract for an audit of a charter school’s business and financial transactions, records, and accounts if requested under paragraph (d)(4)a. of this section.

c. The audit the Auditor of Accounts conducts or contracts for under this paragraph (d)(4) of this section must comply with generally accepted accounting principles.

d. When an audit is conducted or contracted for under this paragraph (d)(4) of this section, the Auditor of Accounts shall file a written report containing the information under § 2909(b) of Title 29 with the Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of the Department, and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives who shall distribute the report to the members of the General Assembly and the Controller General and Director of the Division of Research.

The bill’s Senate Prime is Jack Walsh, along with co-sponsors including Reps. Baumbach, Bennett, Brady, Longhurst, Matthews, Mitchell, Osienski, Smith, and Viola along with Senators Delcollo, Pettyjohn, Poore, Sokola and Wilson.  Some of these names are very interesting, including Smith and Sokola who have long been champions for charter schools.  But perhaps they are realizing that Delaware can no longer tolerate the financial malfeasance going on at Delaware’s charters.

The next step for this bill will be the House Education Committee.  It remains to be seen if Chair of the committee, Rep. Earl Jaques, will let it be heard before June 30th.  If not, it would carry over into the second leg of the 150th General Assembly which begins in January, 2020.

On June 5th, McGuiness wrote a long letter to members of the General Assembly about why she is choosing not to have her office begin an investigative audit into Odyssey Charter School.  I don’t agree with her reasoning whatsoever and no one has ever done this before in the Auditor’s office when it comes to a charter school audit.

Exclusive: The Truth Behind The Closure Of Design Thinking Academy

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Shocking documents, never seen before by the public, give a shocking look at what led to the closure of Design Thinking Academy.  As usual, it is not based on academics but adult decisions and a corrupt board of directors. Continue reading

Exclusive: Public Integrity Commission Slams Odyssey’s Board; Potential McGuiness Ties To AHEPA Creates Huge Conflicts of Interest

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On April 2nd, the Delaware Public Integrity Commission wrote a letter to the Odyssey Charter School Board of Directors which showcased a plethora of financial improprieties, conflicts of interest, and co-mingled interests involving their board and the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA).  The Odyssey Board of Directors has nine members, five of which belong to AHEPA.  Currently, Odyssey is beginning a formal review by the Delaware Department of Education after the State Board of Education voted to place the charter school under review last week.

The letter concludes with the following: Continue reading

Tabula Rasa

A clean slate.

2019 is here.  We have many newly elected officials in Delaware.  Legislators, a State Auditor, a State Treasurer, and an Attorney General.  They all have a once in a lifetime chance to begin something new and to start a new conversation.

Even the ones I have gone after in the past have a clean slate.  Their world is just beginning no matter how they got there.  They have a golden opportunity to do more than the status quo.  They have a chance to steer Delaware in a new and better direction.

Beginning today, we will see these public officials being sworn in to their new roles.  In exactly a week from now, many new State Reps and State Senators will become a vital part of the public eye.  What they do and how they do it will become the foundation of their future.

Who will go against the grain?  Who will put the needs of Delaware citizens over corporate interests?  Who will dare to fight their own party for what is right and just?  We will find out.

In modern times, Tabula Rasa was the title of the third episode of the hit television show, LOST.  As we slowly learned about the secrets harbored by the survivors of Oceanic 815, we also see that they are beginning anew.  Despite the history they had before the island, they had the chance to start over again in their present circumstance.  This is the reality of all the new elected officials in Delaware.

I will give all of them a chance.  And I mean ALL of them.  Even the one I have written about the most on here.  Because, as of tomorrow, that person will be in a very unique position and how she does that will be the truest testament to her character and I truly hope she rises above my expectations.  I will believe they all mean what they say and how they want to make life better for Delaware.  If they slip and fall, I will be there.  If they succeed, I will be there.  I am watching them with curious eyes.  In my eyes, it is about more than political party.  I have always believed that.  It is about doing what is right, especially for kids.  Because they don’t always have a voice and they truly don’t care about Democrats or Republicans.

Guest Post: “Kathleen Davies Vindicated But Delawareans Still Lose”

Last week, the News Journal reported Kathleen Davies won her Merit Employee Review Board appeal hearing.  She will be reinstated at the Auditor of Accounts office after a two and a half-year ordeal.  She ran for State Auditor but lost to opponent Kathy McGuiness in the September 6th Primary.  McGuiness won the General Election so the two women will soon be working in the same building.

Eric Morrison wrote a guest piece on this saga and what it means for Delaware: Continue reading

McGuiness Isn’t Even Elected A Week And She’s Already Stirring Up Controversy

Last week, Delawareans decided to put Kathy McGuiness in the State Auditor position.  Not all Delawareans, that is, but enough for her to win.  It’s not like I didn’t warn you all for the past year.  According to the Cape Gazette, McGuiness hasn’t decided if she will vacate her position as Rehoboth Commissioner.  Hello Delaware, can you say conflict of interest? Continue reading

Cocktails In Appalachia Alert: A Burd Lands On McGuiness’ Windowsill

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

The McGuiness Temper Explodes At Debate As She Attacks Freedom #VoteSpadola!!!!!

The League of Women Voters forum at Delaware State University this evening was the perfect showcase for anyone who might be on the fence about the State Auditor position.  Kathy McGuiness scowled and complained her way to absurdity tonight. Continue reading

Democrats Seething As Tom Wagner Appoints James Spadola As His Deputy, And I Don’t Blame Them One Bit!

James Spadola, you should have said no.  Today, Delaware State Auditor Tom Wagner appointed James Spadola, who is the Republican candidate for State Auditor, to be his Deputy in the Auditor of Accounts Office.  Spadola faces Democrat candidate Kathy McGuiness in the November 6th election. Continue reading

Delaware Auditor of Accounts Office Violated FOIA According To Legal Opinion

On September 7th, I filed a Freedom of Information Act complaint against the Delaware Auditor of Accounts office.  Even though I did receive the documentation for my original FOIA request regarding a contract that office entered into with Grant Thornton, it came very late.  In fact, it came the day after a highly contested primary for the State Auditor position.  But my FOIA complaint dealt with what I felt were illegal and unethical issues coming out of AOA. Continue reading

If The Delaware General Election Were Held Today… Take The Polls!

Big Mouth AOA Leaker John Fluharty Continues To Run His Big Mouth

John Fluharty.  He who suffers from that unique Delaware ailment called sitting in a job and getting paid on the taxpayer dime and doing nothing.  For someone who pretends to be a Republican, he sure does like to get involved in Democrat power games. Continue reading

Exceptional Delaware Proudly Endorses Kathleen Davies For State Auditor

Only one candidate in the State Auditor race has the tenacity, patience, grit, resolve, willingness, and heart to perform the role of State Auditor.  She has soul and a love for auditing second to none.  She has been put through the wringer by those who didn’t want her to do her job.  But she has come through that ordeal a stronger and better person.  For that reason alone Kathleen Davies deserves your vote. Continue reading

Tammy Smith From Auditor’s Office Uses Social Media To Smear Davies While McGuiness Family Spreads The Hate

With two days until the Delaware Primary, things are heating up.  For the State Auditor race, some people are getting scared of a Kathleen Davies victory.  So much so they are willing to torpedo their professional life so folks don’t vote for Davies.  When it comes from the Auditor of Accounts office with someone who reported directly to Davies, that is very bad for that employee.  The Merit Employee Review Board has not even finished their hearing but Tammy Smith feels she can say whatever she wants.  I think what may shape Smith’s career is her Facebook post, not the outcome of the Primary. Continue reading

A Fate Worse Than Death: Governor McGuiness

Imagine, one day, years from now, when her State Auditor days are a thing of the past.  When Park City decides to reach for the brass ring.  When she decides to run for Governor of Delaware.  This is what Democrat voters could ultimately decide on September 6th if they collectively vote wrong.

If you thought Jack Markell was bad.  If you thought John Carney was bad.  You haven’t seen ANYTHING until you’ve seen Park City leading The First State in some kind of fresh hell I couldn’t imagine on my very worst day.  In that kind of Hellaware, LLCs would be more important than people.  She would still be talking about her $1 million in change orders when she was on Rehoboth City Council.  Her days at the State Auditor’s office would be as hazy as the water next to an old DuPont plant.

To the union members in Delaware, I say this: many of you endorsed McGuiness.  She wouldn’t even march with you in solidarity today.  She opted to wear her own campaign regalia and walk on the sidewalks.  You put your reputation and political muscle on the line for her and she couldn’t even walk with you.  What does that say?  This same woman who doesn’t know the difference between ABC and AFL-CIO.  She used you.  Don’t give her the satisfaction of giving her your vote. I’m sure your leadership would love for you to push that button.  She is pushing ALL your buttons and will screw you over.  You can take that to the bank.  She will not protect you against Right To Work in the future any more than she pretended to on that nine degree day last January.  You can trust your Marvel or you can trust me.  Your choice.

Voters need to be careful what kind of doors they open when they push that person’s name on the ballot.  Be smart.  Vote for Kathleen Davies for State Auditor on Thursday.  Not only will you see a return to more fiscal transparency in Delaware but you will also be getting the most qualified candidate ever to be State Auditor.  Ignore all the pictures.  They don’t mean a thing.  What matters is quality, not quantity.  What matters is getting the job done, not pretending you are not beholden to others when you know you are.  What matters is keeping the power in check, not checking to make sure the power isn’t held accountable.

Vote Davies for State Auditor.