Conflicting testimony: Brad Habermehl's October 21 Ingersoll sentencing hearing transcript and the just-released affidavit of former board president Mark Noss both assert former Grand Traverse Academy superintendent, Kaye Mentley, hired attorney Margaret Hackett.
But Hackett's Ingersoll trial testimony, first under direct examination by federal prosecutor Jules DePorre, and later cross-examination by former defense attorney Martin Crandall, tells a radically different version.
First, Brad Habermehl's October 21 testimony, under direct examination by Ingersoll defense attorney, Jan Geht, followed by Hackett's March 3, 2015 testimony taken directly from the official trial transcript:
Q. Could you briefly discuss the circumstances surrounding Ms. Hackett’s involvement in Grand Traverse Academy.
A. Ms. Hackett was a surprise to us. Of course we had Doug Bishop as our counsel, and Kaye Mentley, the superintendent at the time, had called Meg Hackett on her own, without approval of the board to bring Meg in. She never met with the board. I never met with her personally, and there as some discussion with the board president, with Steve Ingersoll and Kaye Mentley, and that’s when the letter was then – was sent to all the board members from Meg Hackett.
Q. So before you received that letter, did the board actually hire Ms. Hackett?
A. No, the board never authorized hiring Meg Hackett. Kaye Mentley did that on her own, but essentially Grand Traverse Academy did pay Meg Hackett for her advice.
Q. Essentially ratifying it after the fact?
Q. Did Ms. – did Ms. Hackett ever attend any board meetings at GTA?
A. No. Meg Hackett never attended any of the board meetings. We only heard from her by that particular closed letter to the board members.
Compare Habermehl's testimony to Hackett’s March 3, 2015 trial testimony, under cross-examination by defense attorney Martin Crandall:
Q. Well, different people called it different things: indebtedness, accounts receivable, prepaid loan. There were different theories about what it could be or should be; is that correct?
A. Until that meeting was the first I heard it referred to as a loan by Steven Ingersoll; otherwise it was referred to either as a, to as a prepaid or a receivable or just an unauthorized transfer of funds.
Q. So the discussion was a discussion involving all the people you just mentioned, Dr. Noss, Kaye Mentley, yourself, as the lawyer, representing Kaye Mentley and the Grand Traverse Academy, right?
A. Not representing Kaye Mentley.
Q. You didn’t represent Kaye Mentley?
A. No. She was employed by Smart Schools.
Q. OK. But didn’t she at some point come to you for this opinion?
A. No. Mark Noss, the board president.
Q. Mark Noss, the president of the board, came to you for this opinion?
Still under cross-examination, Hackett’s testimony reveals that while the May 20, 2013 meeting ran from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., she met separately with Noss after the meeting ended:
Q. When you say four to seven was your total time, what do you mean?
A. P.M. The meeting ran from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., but I met separately with my client, the board president, Mark Noss, after the group meeting.
According to a supplemental brief filed this afternoon by Geht on behalf of Ingersoll, Brad Habermehl will return to the stand, followed by Steven Ingersoll.
In lieu of testifying, Mark Noss provided two sworn affidavits, one dated October 20, 2015 and another dated September 10, 2015.
Here's an excerpt from Noss' September affidavit, where he denies hiring attorney Meg Hackett.
Funny, ain't it, that the testimony of two Ingersoll cronies is in direct conflict with the sworn testimony of an attorney.
And Hackett's transcript shows no objection by either of Ingersoll's two defense attorneys to her testimony regarding the circumstances of her hiring by Mark Noss, and not former superintendent Kaye Mentley.
Coming tomorrow, the 12 percent solution, complete Noss affidavit details, and more Habermehl testimony!