Wednesday, March 2, 2016

SO, WHAT ABOUT MY FOIA? Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock!

Back on December 8, 2015, I broke the news about a proverbial bomb dropped by Grand Traverse Academy Board president Brad Habermehl during Steven Ingersoll's sentencing hearing that morning.

The government entered into evidence a series of shocking emails between Ingersoll, Habermehl and a business associate of Habermehl's (beginning in November 2014, and continuing well after Ingersoll's federal fraud conviction) that revealed Habermehl solicited a $300,000 investment “loan” from his associate for what Habermehl dubbed a potential “private school” project on behalf of his “friend and colleague” Steven Ingersoll — with Habermehl only later admitting to his associate that he was also one of the prospective project's five partners.

On February 9, 2016, I sent a Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA) requesting documents including Academy board’s legal expense activity between July 2012 and January 31, 2016, including (but not limited to) Steven Ingersoll, investigation of his estimated $3.58 million dollar debt to the Grand Traverse Academy, affidavits and testimony relating to Ingersoll’s federal investigation, federal trial, and ongoing sentencing hearing. 

The Academy informed me on February 24 of the charges for the information ($77.14), which I paid with a credit card on February 26 at 1:52:42pm. And although the initial email from the school's Business Office Manager indicated in her February 24 email that "Upon receipt of payment of this invoice, the documents will be produced in accordance with the statute.", the documents still have not arrived.

When I read the November 20, 2015 meeting minutes (excerpt shown above), I noticed the discussion of an invoice for $12, 621 in legal fees relative to Brad Habermehl's October testimony during Steven Ingersoll's sentencing hearing. (A December 7, 2015 prosecution brief confirms that Habermehl was indeed called by the defense, and not subpoenaed by the prosecution.)

As there was no follow-up discussion reflected in the official minutes for both December 2015 board meetings, it's unclear whether or not the Academy paid Habermehl's legal fees. (In addition to his October testimony, Habermehl testified again on December 8, 2015.)

And that's why I submitted my request for documents -- that and determining exactly how much money the board has spent on legal fees for its blooming Steven Ingersoll scandal over the last couple years.

However, most importantly, it's critical that that someone (meaning me!) determine if public funds paid legal bills for a board president who revealed under oath he was secretly out rooting around for hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund a deal on behalf of the federally-indicted Ingersoll — a private school deal Habermehl happily admitted under oath he hoped "some day will happen".

Beginning in November 2014, prosecution evidence revealed in court that Habermehl covertly solicited a $300,000 investment "loan" from a business associate for a potential "private school" project on behalf of his "friend and colleague" Steven Ingersoll, with Habermehl admitting only after Ingersoll's conviction that he was one of the project's five partners. 

Even after Ingersoll was found guilty in U. S. District Court on March 10, 2015 on two counts of attempting to evade or defeat tax and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, Habermehl continued to pitch the school project, touting the $300,000 loan as a "very good investment with a good return." 

In the most shocking email, (dated March 15, 2015, five days after Ingersoll's conviction), Habermehl flatly denied knowing about what he termed Ingersoll's "trouble" when he initiated the investment solicitation back in November 2014.  

And what about those invoices?

The board's attorney is conducting a legal sufficiency review, and plans to email the documents to me this week after the review is complete.

I'll keep you posted.


  1. Is it foot dragging or are they piecing together what they want you to see, just like Ingersoll pieced together his banking. I am sure it could easily be looked into if they do change any documents.

    1. In a way it's a shame that the partners didn't give that money for a loan. Would just love to see Bruce Harger's face if he invested some money and then got screwed out of it by Ingersoll and his other colleagues/partners.

    2. How do we know Harger didn't invest money? He's not talking!

  2. So the money Ingersoll was looking for was probably to fund the new building on GTA'S property. Well how does that work legally. And Habermehl, Noss and Lynch are in the middle of this, keeping Ingersoll's businesses going. And now that you have asked for records their lawyer is probably deleting them as fast as he can? Stinks! And the Traverse Community is good with this? I think they better start investigating what is really going on. We all understand the Ingersoll, Noss, Lynch, Habermehl, Haegar connection, but it is up to the parents, taxpayers and good businessman of Traverse to stop this filthy racket pronto. Stop stinking up Traverse, throw them out!

  3. How many people are going to keep lying for these guy?

    And how many people are going to keep ignoring this?

    After many many lives are destroyed?

    All these guys are in it so deep they can't get out?

    Obviously, they think money and power are more important than integrity and honesty?

    And we thought there was good in this world?

    Not by their standards.

    Money, power, ego, invincibility.


    Whatever happen to the education of children? It was to help build better minds, to create a stronger society by nurturing with honesty and humility.

    We are a society that is either going to encourage greatness from our children or we are going to destroy them. Which model are you going to support?

  4. How do these crooks keep getting away with all of this? It disturbs me that no one is covering this story, except you. Miss Fortune is that because the powers that be don't want anyone to know that these guys are robbing us all blind? Are they manipulating and terrorizing individuals with gang like threats? Is everyone scared out of their gourds? How can we let these people get away with this? How do we stop them? I don't want these creeps in our neighborhoods. Wake up Traverse City you've got a bunch of dirty crooks disguised as businessmen taking over your community.

    1. Wouldn't it be great if Habermehl, Ingersoll and the other 'partners' were in prison together? That would be awesome.