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.