McGuiness Rewards Election Fix With A BIG Job

Remember last year when Kathy McGuiness won the election for State Auditor?  Remember all the public smearing of Kathleen Davies that the News Journal unabashedly did?  Remember WHERE they got all that information?  Remember McGuiness won the primary against Davies and Dennis Williams but probably wouldn’t have without the tarnishing of Davies?  Who was the primary force behind Davies ousting?  None other than Andrena Burd.  She was the one who was instrumental in Davies very long leave of absence and subsequent unemployment hearings.  Eventually, Davies was reinstated at the Auditor of Accounts where she currently works.

Not long after the primary, Burd managed to find herself at a cushy auditing job over at Delaware State University where McGuiness just happened to be on their board at the time.  It turns out loyalty is very rewarding for Andrena Burd.  One former employee had A LOT to say about her recent re-hiring at the Auditor of Accounts office.  And for the record, why does Kathleen McGuiness have to make such a big deal with these swearing-in ceremonies?  Is this just practice for her dream to become the Governor of Delaware?  Or does she have her eyes set on an even bigger prize?  In any event, let’s hear what the former AOA employee has to say!

Well, it seems Ms. Burd has landed back in the AOA and with a promotion at that.  All the other folks have left because of the stuff that went down.  But Burd stayed out of the fray till it was over and now McGuiness has hired her back.  Hmm… Probably to work on getting Davies fired again.  Burd is bagging and boasting.

Burd, who was discredited by the Unemployment Insurance officer and the MERB did not seem to faze McGimick too much.  After her testimony that she thought Davies violated standards it turned out as a complete embarrassment for Burd as she did not know as much as she portrayed.  She has no morals or ethics.

How much does McGimick owe Burd for getting her elected to the AOA?  A new position?  A promotion?  And this happened after Tammy Smith left the office.  Burd would probably have not gotten that position if Smith did not leave.  Burd set up Smith, Tatman, Judy, and others.  Glad I got out in time!!!  She got promoted while all others left.  A pretty good assessment of the situation.

How many individuals have left since McGuiness took over?  Quite a few and more to follow.

As for McGuiness’ campaign promise of more transparency coming from the Auditor of Accounts office, it seems she is the sole force on the office’s website.  Even under former State Auditor Tom Wagner you could see other names on there.  But this is McG’s show and it always has been.  I have yet to see ANY investigative audits coming out of the office but this doesn’t shock me.  I’ve heard tales of some crazy stuff going on there that would make the office seem as corrupt as ever but that is a story for another day.

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Delaware Auditor Report For Certain Eyes Only On School District Tax Rates For FY 2015 & 2016 Raises Questions

The Delaware Auditor of Accounts office released a report today on School District Tax Rates for the past two school years, Fiscal Years 2015 and 2016.  It shows many school districts receiving more in taxes than they were allowed based on the tax warrants.  While these were not huge amounts in many cases, a few districts raised red flags in my book.

But why is the tuition tax not included in this report?  Why is their no inspection by the Auditor’s office to make sure those funds are allocated where they are supposed to and not elsewhere?  This report is lacking in many details.  While it caught a few things, it is not enough.  Under Delaware state code, the Auditor’s office is failing in their fiduciary duty to perform what is required by the law.  You can blame that on funding and staffing issues for the Auditor of Accounts office but if Delaware State Code indicates a state office must perform a duty necessary to adhere to state law, the General Assembly MUST fund that office so they are able to carry out those duties.  Since they haven’t been, the General Assembly has been derelict in their duty.

What kills me is the end of the report:

This information is intended solely for the information and use of DOE and the management of the school districts.  It is not intended to be, and should not be, used by anyone other than these specified parties.  However, under 29 Del. C. 10002(1), this report is a public record and its distribution is not limited.  This report, as required by statute, was provided to the Office of the Governor, the Office of the Controller General, the Office of the Attorney General, and the Office of Management and Budget.

So how many reports are out there that the public has not seen?  I have a feeling it is quite a lot.  I smell a FOIA coming because I want to see ALL the reports that are considered public but are not listed on the Delaware Auditor of Accounts website…

Updated, 3:13pm: This is listed on the auditor’s website, but after State Rep. Earl Jaques admission that he has seen annual audits performed by the Auditor’s office for each district, I have to believe there are a ton of reports the public never sees.  Why all the secrecy?

Indian River Cuts $3 Million From Budget But No Audit Released Yet On Patrick Miller’s Activities…Hmmm…

SusanBunting

Indian River School District just cut $3 million from their budget earlier this week.  Where will these cuts come from?  Dani Bozzini with WMDT has the answer:

And with more students means more teachers. The district wasn’t getting enough funding to continue the same allocation of their schools budgets so they made some changes.

Instead of cutting teachers and staff’s salaries, the district decided to cut the discretionary part of the budget. The District office was cut by 50 percent and the schools’ budgets by 30 percent.

Here’s the thing though… most traditional school districts don’t cut their budget unless they are having some type of financial problem.  If a school district grows, the property taxes collected for local funds, as well as state and federal funds should compensate for that.  The district’s Chief Financial Officer was put on paid administrative leave in April and then he was able to retire in May.  The State Auditor’s office also began an investigation into the district’s finances.  No report has come out from the Auditor of Account’s office concerning Indian River School District.

I believe the school district should own up to whatever Miller is suspected of doing.  This isn’t the first time mysterious financial issues have come up with him.  He plea bargained his way out of something similar in Brandywine eighteen years ago.

I love how Superintendent Susan Bunting makes it sound so casual in the article with WMDT.

Dr. Bunting tells 47 ABC that students or parents won’t see much of any changes and it’s just little cutbacks to help with their growing population.

Yeah, okay.  You don’t cut $3 million out of your budget unless you are having some serious issues.  Now I have to start looking into Indian River too.  I don’t have time for this.  Just come clean Bunting!  Between charter-district payments, ESSA, being the non-paid watchdog for the Delaware DOE, elections, and everything else, can you just email me and show me what is really wrong with your budget?  That would be super!  Cause if what I’m hearing is true, you guys are going to have to come up with some new spin next month.  I’ll give you a few days, but then I’m getting the shovel out.

Or does this have anything to do with the charter-district payments?  How many students does Indian River send to Sussex Academy?  When did the CFO get put on administrative leave again?  April?  Hmm…

How many inspections are going on with schools over at Tom Wagner’s office?  Time to bring Kathleen Davies back Tom.  You can’t handle all this work!

Providence Creek Academy Also Under Review By Delaware State Auditor

As highlighted in the below letter, Providence Creek Academy is also having the State Auditor’s office looking into their finances. This would be the third charter school in Delaware to have this publicly announced in less than six months. I posted an article not even two weeks ago where the State Auditor’s office did confirm they are reviewing other charters aside from the publicly known Academy of Dover and Family Foundations Academy. Now we have a third. How many more are there and why isn’t this public knowledge?

Of particular interest in this school is the fact they switched to the same independent auditor that Family Foundations Academy used for their annual audit last year. I pointed it out back in December, and it looks like Tom Wagner’s office noticed it too. Providence Creek Academy, along with Campus Community School and MOT Charter are up for charter renewal in the 2015-2016 school year.

It has become obvious the Delaware Department of Education knows what schools are under review by the State Auditor’s office. They need to disclose all of this information to the public instead of releasing this information piecemeal. It’s not just certain Delaware charter schools with issues of transparency, it’s also the Delaware DOE Charter School Office.

House Bill 53: Charters Must Be Audited By State Auditor

Delaware State Rep. Kim Williams introduced legislation that would make Delaware charter schools have to go through the same auditing process as school districts and vocational districts with their yearly audit.  Since 2010, charters have been exempt from being audited by the Delaware State Auditor’s office, currently run by Tom Wagner.

In light of financial improprieties by Family Foundations Academy, Pencader and a slew of other charters that has not yet come into public notice, this bill is timely and important.  The charters have the ability now to hire an independent auditor, but this bill would change all that and would cause the charters to be audited the same way all other public schools in Delaware are required to.

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…

Family Foundations Acad. Head of School Sean Moore No Longer Treasurer of Delaware Charter School Network

That was quick!  Two days ago, the Delaware Charter School Network Governing Board had Family Foundations Academy Head of School Sean Moore listed as their treasurer.  Today, he is no longer listed as a member of the board.  It seems even the great charter school cheerleading organization wants to distance themselves from the controversial Moore.  One individual loosely connected with the network, who wished to remain anonymous, said “Sean Moore is toxic to anyone associated with him right now.  I’m not surprised at all.”

Family Foundations Academy is now under financial investigation by the Delaware State Auditor of Accounts, and sources tell me Tom Wagner is overseeing this case.  Expect more news on this soon.  Once the regular media jumps on this story, it will blow up quick.  But remember, Kilroy broke this story first, and I quickly jumped on it.  And who says blogs are crap?