"We Have Methods for Better Learning"
Excel Institute/icon Learning brochure
It's the law of holes: if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging!
I thought of Will Rogers, the man who's credited with that quote, when I read yesterday's (April 3, 2016) front page Record-Eagle story “GTA management firm continues to pay school’s founder”.
The story expanded the investigation begun here on this blog March 29, coupled with reaction from tawdry newsmaker Mark Noss and Steven Ingersoll's remaining attorney, Jan Geht. Court documents filed on March 29 revealed Noss had been making monthly $12,500 payments to Steven Ingersoll since April 2014.
An accountant formerly employed by Mark Noss at his Full Spectrum Management, LLC (FSM) sent an email to the Grand Traverse Academy Board of Directors on March 15, 2016, alleging Noss deceived the Board when he stated during its December 17, 2015 meeting that he "has no business relationship with Dr. Ingersoll at the present time".
While Noss responded to the allegations via an email the next morning, admitting the payments but insisting he had no “formal” business relationship with Ingersoll. Noss stated he was paying a monthly fee to use Integrated Visual Learning in his clinics, as well as the GTA. In addition, Noss claimed the $12,500 also included regular access to what he termed Ingersoll's “school management expertise”. (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.)
However, Noss appears to have changed his story, insisting to the Record-Eagle that he “only consulted with Ingersoll in the wake of FSM taking over as the school’s new management firm and has since stopped that practice.”
In addition, Noss now asserts “the IVL services — for which FSM has paid an intellectual property fee to Ingersoll — have nothing to do with the management fee FSM collects from the school. Noss said he offers IVL services to the school at no charge.”
“It is fact that I pay those fees for my privately owned clinics, and I’m willing to provide those to the school at no fee to them,” he said. “So that is not part of my management contract.”
Then why is Full Spectrum Management paying Ingersoll, if Noss doesn't charge the Grand Traverse Academy for IVL services as part of his management agreement?
And if Noss is using IVL at his Excel Institute location, shouldn't the monthly payments come from an Excel-related account?
Appearing to dismiss any close scrutiny of his byzantine financial structure, Noss claims his method is merely “an accounting exercise”.
He told the Record-Eagle: “I have several companies. (FSM) most recently has been making those (intellectual property) payments, but again it’s just an accounting exercise that has been deemed appropriate by my accountants.”
Sure, if his accountants come from multinational giant BDO!
The intercompany receivables/payables scenario Noss painted isn't terribly unusual. Having multiple entities (LLCs, corporations, etc.) under common ownership is pretty common, but I suspect that one of them (FSM) is the real cash-producing machine, while the other entities, well, not so much.
In those cases, you'll frequently find the profitable entity making advances to its sister entities to help fund their losses.
That being said, though, rock-solid bookkeeping is absolutely mandatory in that situation: making sure that all intercompany movements of funds, and all payments of one entity's expenses by another, are accurately captured on the books as intercompany receivables and payables.
But paying business expenses with money from another business can be done, if you follow generally accepted accounting guidelines.
To do that, you'd need to set up a payable or intercompany account: if Company A pays expenses of company B, Company B owes Company A the money sometime in the future.
So did Noss set up the books and expenses correctly for what he dismissed as an “accounting exercise”?
This pointy pencil/green eye shade accounting stuff sounds suspiciously like the “golden goose” monkey business that caught the eye of the IRS in the Steven Ingersoll case.
But why was Noss paying Ingersoll at all, when official United States Copyright records show they co-own the copyright for the IVL foundation text?
And why would a combined Excel Institute/icon Learning brochure titled 'We Have Methods for Better Learning' claim IVL was developed by both Dr. Mark Noss and Dr. Steven J. Ingersoll...if it wasn't true?
Read the brochure's copy:
Excel Institute helps eliminate barriers to learning comprehensive vision therapy for children and adults.
Sometimes a perceived learning disability is a manageable visual issue. Therapists at Excel Institute understand the frustrations of someone trying to learn in the face of a visual deficit, inefficient learning strategies, or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). In the case of TBI, visual rehabilitation can effectively restore many life skills.
Whatever the cause, we provide a proven, optometric-based, one-on-one instruction method called Integrated Visual Learning (IVL*) to alleviate the obstacles.
IVL works mainly with the individual’s vision, including eye movement abilities and visual thinking skills, to improve and enhance visual performance and teach strategies to learn more effectively. These same techniques have been implemented successfully in schools and learning centers throughout the nation.
*Integrated Visual Learning techniques are based on the latest brain research, and were developed by Dr. Mark Noss and Dr. Steven J. Ingersoll in collaboration with educators.
MORE ON THIS TOMORROW!