}

Friday, November 21, 2014

INGERSOLL TRIAL DATE DELAY WATCH: Will Update As Soon As Judge's Decision Is Public

No decision yet on Steven Ingersoll's request for yet another delay in his December 2 federal fraud trial date. 


I will bring you the information as soon as it's available.

In the meantime, enjoy this "smoking gun". Yes, it's low-res and studded with watermarks--but what did you expect!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

REUNITED, AND IT FEELS SO GOOD! The First Installment In A New Series; Exclusively From Miss Fortune!

 FROM OUR SPONSOR: Public teat chapped?  Try Bag Balm!

When Kaye Mentley needed to file an eviction notice in late April against a tenant living in a property owned by her real estate corporation, KWM Rentals, Inc., she turned to Doug Bishop—the lawyer who at the time represented the Grand Traverse Academy.


Miss Fortune has discovered that although both have subsequently been kicked to the curb by the Academy—Mentley was replaced by Susan Dameron and Bishop by Libertarian wannabe judge Kerry Morgan—they're still together.

Like an extremely pale version of Peaches & Herb, the duo "reunited" over a common interest: money.

On November 19, a $3,164.08 consent judgment was issued against Mentley's tenant, Jennie S. Johnson.


And, as the court records states, this "case is closed".

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

BAY CITY ACADEMY ASBESTOS REMOVAL TRIAL BEGINS TODAY: Defendants Roy C. Bradley, Sr. and Gerald A. Essex Face Up To 5 Years In Prison, $250,000 Fine

The twice-delayed United States v. Bradley and Essex federal trial begins this morning in the Bay City courtroom of U.S. District Judge Thomas L. Ludington.

In August 2013, a grand jury charged Bradley and Essex with four counts of illegally distributing and handling asbestos, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 

In April 2010, Roy C. Bradley Sr.'s restoration company, Lasting Impressions, was hired by Steven J. Ingersoll to remove asbestos from a former church located at 400 N. Madison Avenue in Bay City. Ingersoll converted the church into a school building for his Bay City Academy, with Bradley completing the renovation. 

Federal prosecutors charge that Bradley and Essex worked together, and with others, to convert the former church into the Bay City Academy. In the process, prosecutors contend the pair "knowingly failed to remove and cause the removal of all regulated asbestos-containing material from that facility in accordance with the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants."

Prosecutors allege Bradley and Essex broke the law during renovations at the Madison Avenue building from Aug. 18, 2010, through Sept. 2, 2011.

On June 17, U.S. District Judge Ludington sentenced a third defendant, Rodolfo Rodriguez, to 21 months in a federal prison for lying to a federal grand jury regarding what he knew about asbestos removal from the Bay City charter school. 

Rodriguez was an employee of Bradley's restoration company, Lasting Impressions. In January 2013, Rodriguez testified before the grand jury and deliberately gave false testimony regarding how much asbestos he removed and who directed him at the task, court records show.

Excerpts of Rodriguez's testimony indicate he varied on how much asbestos he removed, from 20 feet to 200 feet. He initially maintained no one told him to remove the material and that he did so on his own volition, but after being pressed by the grand jury, he said crew foreman Gerald A. Essex told him to "gut the place".

In February 2014, Rodriguez pleaded guilty to one count of perjury before a grand jury. "At Bradley's direction, and under Essex's supervision, Rodriguez removed at least 200 feet of asbestos insulation from pipes in the church so the pipes themselves could be removed," the plea agreement states. 

Rodriguez, who was reportedly paid in cash "off the books", is expected to testify against Bradley and Essex.

In addition, on November 10, the government filed a notice regarding "opinion testimony", listing the following expert witnesses:

-Dr. Clark Kahn: Kalamazoo-based Kahn is expected to testify regarding regulations relating to asbestos removal and disposal, proper asbestos abatement procedures and equipment, and asbestos abatement costs.

-Peggy Forney: a chemist at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Forney will testify regarding the findings she made as a result of her examination of samples seized from 400 N. Madison Avenue during the execution of a federal search warrant.

-Anne Whitaker: may testify regarding the findings she made as a result of her examination of samples taken from 400 N. Madison, during site visits by state regulators.

-Robert Letarte: the Lab Director at Whitmore Lake-based APEX Research, Inc., Letarte may testify regarding the findings made pursuant to examinations of samples taken from 400 N. Madison during asbestos surveys.

Monday, November 17, 2014

EDIFICE WRECKED! A "Glistening, Quivering Underbelly" Reader Reacts To Grand Traverse Academy's 2013 Demand Letter As Support For Ingersoll Crumbles Like A Flaky Pastry; Did Impotent Academy Board Enable The Embezzlement of Millions?

Yesterday afternoon, I received an anonymous email from a reader reacting to my latest revelation in the Grand Traverse Academy's Steven Ingersoll financial fiasco—the June 13, 2013 letter sent on behalf of the Academy by its former attorney, Doug Bishop.

In the letter, Bishop demands immediate repayment of  the amount due from Ingersoll: at least $3,548,319 dollars! 

The reader explained the comment exceeded the blog's character limit, so I have decided to publish it.

Why?

Because I can!





Here is the complete, unedited comment:

My mouth hung open as I read this post. I should not have been surprised to read this but I was.

Holy shit! HOLY SHIT!

That Board is nothing but a bunch of liars.

DO YOU GET IT NOW, PEOPLE? A BUNCH OF LIARS!!!

Miss Fortune, without your reporting, none of Steve Ingersoll's or the Board's antics and lies would have been public. They would have gotten away with sweeping the stealing of millions of taxpayers' dollars under the rug. And, yet, they just keep lying and lying and spinning to try to explain themselves out of their mess ….

EXCEPT THAT IT HAS WORKED. The October GTA Board minutes even acknowledge it. The minutes state, "Student Count Day was 1,210 which indicates we have maintained enrollment." In other words, let's celebrate because there was no mass student exodus!

(Side note: Apparently the Board cannot read or write either. Perhaps they need to sit in on a few reading and writing classes. I believe they meant to convey that "1,210 students attend class on the State's Count Day".) 

The Board members sat at their meetings and flat out lied as did Doug Bishop. Mark Noss and Kaye Mentley swore that this was all a big surprise to them when Ingersoll brought it to the Board's attention in June, 2013. They swore no other debts were owed. They promised there would be no more surprises. They swore they would get the money back.

Hey, Board! You need to keep your story straight! Frankly, you should have kept your mouths' shut!

Let's think back. The Board either approved or were made aware of "fundraisers" like Jog-A-Thon and Mustang Madness to raise money for the Athletic Department. Kaye Mentley talked about how athletics was taking money out of the General Fund. She implied that growth in athletics was hurting academics. Surely, it cannot be coincidental that the school was begging parents for money while in the back room, Doug Bishop and the Board were whispering about how they could get "no-interest loan payments" out of Steve Ingersoll for over $3 million.

Hello, Board of Directors and Kaye Mentley! It is now clear that you ... at the very least .. knew Steve Ingersoll was stealing money from the school and looking the other way ..... kept it all quiet ... did not notify the State of Michigan or the authorities of this embezzlement ....  obviously conducted Board business outside of formal meetings to conspire on how to explain the loss of funds and your subsequent course of action ...  did not taken legal action to recoup the funds .... lied about when and how you were made aware of the "prepayment of management fees" ....  sitting at Board Meetings and attempting to make those who questioned your actions look like fools for challenging you ..... you OUTRIGHT lied about what you knew, when you knew it and why the ties were severed with Smart Schools.

Hello, Doug Bishop! It is now clear that you stood up and lied for and on behalf of the Board. The stories you told and the facts as they have unfolded are so very different.

Hello, GTA Parents! It is now clear you stood by while all this has been going on and did nothing .... you were too timid to speak up .... you continued to support a school run by a bunch of crooks .... you support thievery by continuing to enroll your children at GTA.

Hello, Michigan Department of Education and Lake Superior State University. It is now clear you have not done your jobs. You have also just stood by and not taken any action. What's up? You were supposed to be the check and balance. You let us down.

HELLO EVERYONE!!!  It is now crystal clear that the only reason why Mark Noss took over the management of GTA was to continue to the cover-up of Steve Ingersoll's way.

Miss Fortune has been saying all a long that a forensic audit needed to be done. She was right. The Board did not need to .... because good ol' Stevie did it for them.

The biggest problem for Steve and the Board has been Miss Fortune! She is the only one who has had the guts to stand up and keep this in the public eye. She has never stopped and pushed forward despite personal attacks and threats to her character and her safety.

I can only hope that those who read this are sickened by what has been reported here over these months. I hope those who did not speak out are angered enough to now act.

I also hope that Steve Ingersoll, his business associates and his allies on the Board of Directors are made to finally face the consequences of their actions ....
 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

"IT APPEARS, AT THIS POINT, THAT THE AMOUNT DUE IS AT LEAST $3,548,319.00" Grand Traverse Academy Board of Directors' June 13, 2013 Demand Letter To Steven Ingersoll Revealed; Board Still Kept Ingersoll On The Public Teat For Nine More Months!

BREAKING NEWS!

JUNE 2013 DEMAND LETTER FROM GTA BOARD SEEKS OVER $3.5 MILLION FROM INGERSOLL!

INGERSOLL CLAIMS ILLICIT FUND TRANSFERS FROM GRAND TRAVERSE ACADEMY TO SMART SCHOOLS MANAGEMENT WERE LOANS...THAT HE MADE TO HIMSELF!

DONATION FABRICATION: BOARD CIRCLED THE WAGONS TO PROTECT INGERSOLL!




 

WHAT DID MARK NOSS KNOW, AND WHEN DID HE KNOW IT?

Miss Fortune breaks another exclusive, this time with explosive documents that reveal a truly shocking factDoug Bishop, the Grand Traverse Academy's attorney, sent a letter demanding immediate repayment of $3,548,319.00 to Steven Ingersoll back on June 13, 2013

So much for the Academy Board's donation fabrication.

The June 2013 letter, shown above, was copied to Ingersoll's longtime friend and business partner, former Board President Mark Noss. 

60 DAY TRIAL DELAY SOUGHT BY INGERSOLL

On November 13, 2014, Steven J. Ingersoll filed a motion for
reconsideration of the court’s November 3 order denying his prior motion to adjourn the current December 2, 2014 trial date for two months. Judge Thomas L. Ludington has scheduled a hearing on Ingersoll's motion for Tuesday, November 18 at 2:00pm.


The court directed the government to respond, which was filed and made public late yesterday afternoon.

THE [FRAUD] GOSPEL, ACCORDING TO STEVE: I MADE LOANS TO MYSELF...FROM PUBLIC FUNDS!

The government response reveals that Rule 7.1(h)(3) of the local court rules states with regards to motions for reconsideration that “[t]he movant must not only demonstrate a palpable defect by which the court … ha[s] ben misled but also show that correcting the defect will result in a different disposition of the case.” 

The government claims that Ingersoll’s motion for reconsideration neither addresses nor comes close to satisfying that standard. On
the contrary, the government states that Steven Ingersoll’s motion for reconsideration is based on
multiple faulty premises.


The court documents reveal that Ingersoll’s motion is founded in part on the erroneous legal premise that the transactions that he created and resulted in him receiving very substantial sums of unreported income can be characterized as loans derived from the Grand Traverse Academy

However, as the government helpfully reminds us, the Grand Traverse Academy is actually a publicly funded public school rather than an entity authorized to make business or personal loans to Steven Ingersoll or any other shell corporations or entities he controlled, in addition to the Grand Traverse Academy. 

Because the concept of repayment of a loan has no application to the fund transfers Steven Ingersoll made to his solely-owned businesses and himself using taxpayer money belonging to the GTA, the government stated in its response that there is no merit to Ingersoll’s claim that “repayments” allegedly made by Ingersoll in years following 2009 and 2010 are relevant to the tax evasions charges pending against him. 

The documents revealed that Ingersoll's repayments continued at least through 2013.

Though the cases cited by Ingersoll are readily distinguishable based on the commercial settings from which the cases arise, the governmen't response cites the Sixth Circuit’s observation in
Jaques v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 935. F.2d 104, 109 (6th Cir. 1991), that “[s]omething more is required, however, than the mere representation of the parties that the withdrawals were considered to be
loans

The government maintains there must be at least some evidence of the corporate formalities which usually accompany such transaction[,]” is applicable to this case. 

In its response, the government submits that the funds transfers made by Steven Ingersoll were never accompanied by the corporate
formalities that should accompany a loan, even if it were permissible for the GTA to make loans.


On the contrary, upon learning of the transactions in June 2013, the government response reveals that Traverse City attorney Doug Bishop, counsel for the GTA, issued a demand letter to Steven Ingersoll for the return of over $3.5 million. However, the Board waited nearly nine more months to sever ties with Ingersoll.

The letter was also sent to Mark Noss, then GTA Board President. Noss is currently head of the GTA's education management provider, Full Spectrum Management, LLC. Noss was officially awarded his multi-year management contract during a March 19, 2014 early-morning Board meeting, but actively remained a member of the Grand Traverse Academy Board at least through its April meeting—an arrangement that is illegal here in Michigan and expressly prohibited by the Academy Board's ethics policy.

THE FORENSIC ACCOUNTANT: "CONFLICTED OUT"

Hammel
Back late April (April 24 at 10:34am, to be exact—I keep very detailed, extensive notes), I was researching background for a story relating to this case and called forensic accountant David J. Hammel.

My research indicated that Hammel, President of St. Clair Shores-based GHD Forensics, LLC, had been a forensic accountant since 1987 and had extensive experience in the areas of fraud and forensics, including embezzlement investigations, and could likely provide the important information I was seeking.

I spoke only briefly with Hammel on April 24, who quickly informed me that he was conflicted out after I mentioned Ingersoll and the Grand Traverse Academy.

Although I suspected that Hammel may be working as part of Ingersoll's defense team, I had no definitive proof—until yesterday when I download the reconsideration motion filed on November 13 on behalf of Steven Ingersoll.

The document reveals that Hammel was retained by Ingersoll's defense team nearly a year ago. Hammel reports that he and his staff spent nearly 300 hours analyzing the relationship between the Grand Traverse Academy and Ingersoll's Smart Schools Management, Inc., and provided Ingersoll's attorneys with their analysis in February 2014.

In his November 12 affidavit, Hammel identifies nine of Ingersoll's “personal bank accounts and related entities”: the Grand Traverse Academy, the Bay City Academy, Smart Schools Management, Inc., Smart Schools, Inc., Front Porch Renaissance Group, Madison Arts, Smart Schools Management of Bay City, LLC, Webster House and Perry House.

Hammel's affidavit was used in an attempt to bolster Ingersoll's November 13 motion for another trial delay, with Hammel claiming that he operated under the same view as Ingersoll's defense team: that Counts 6 and 7 of the Superseding Indictment dealt with the proper tax characterization of the money flow between the Grand Traverse Academy to Smart Schools Management, LLC.” Hammel also claimed that Ingersoll's withdrawal of money from his corporation is a loan, even though there is no written agreement, no security interest and no interest charged”, neglecting to mention that money was taxpayer money that had journeyed to Ingersoll from the State of Michigan and the hapless Grand Traverse Academy.

However, in its November 14 response, the government stated the concept of repayment of a loan has no application to the fund transfers Steven Ingersoll made to his solely-owned businesses and himself using money belonging to the GTA. 

Saying there is no merit to Steven Ingersoll’s claim that “repayments” allegedly made by Ingersoll in years following 2009 and 2010 are relevant to the tax evasions charges pending against him the government stated that obviates the need for an adjournment to allow the forensic accountant, hired by Steven Ingersoll a year ago, conduct an analysis of Steven Ingersoll’s 2011, 2012 and 2013 finances.

In addition, the government references Steven Ingersoll’s November 13 motion, and Hammel's complaint that he has to look at the records of nine different personal bank accounts used by Steven Ingersoll to determine where Ingersoll put the funds he took from the GTA, as hardly a basis for granting the requested adjournment.

Unlike the investigators who worked on this case, the government response points out that
the accountant hired by Steven Ingersoll has ready access to both the records belonging to Ingersoll and also to Steven Ingersoll himself. 

The government maintains that it's reasonable to expect that Steven Ingersoll can provide very beneficial assistance to his forensic accountant in that endeavor, making it possible for the task to be completed without the necessity of a two month adjournment of the trial.  

NEXT STEPS

Judge Thomas L. Ludington has scheduled a hearing on Ingersoll's motion for Tuesday, November 18 at 2:00pm in Bay City.