A sentencing hearing in Ingersoll's case is scheduled for December 15 at 2:30pm in U. S. District Court in Bay City.
In the initial paragraph of yesterday's seven-page filing, the government stated that although Ludington “made findings on various sentencing issues relating to Steven Ingersoll”, it objected to “the court’s adverse findings on those sentencing issues” to preserve its right to appeal the adverse findings made by the court on those sentencing issues, expedite the final sentencing hearing for Steven Ingersoll, and avoid useless repetition of the legal and factual foundations for the government’s positions.
However, the government decided a few additional comments were warranted.
Ludington declined to find that Ingersoll had obstructed justice in a way that warrants an assessment under sentencing guidelines. However, according to the prosecution, “Ingersoll has consistently obstructed justice throughout the proceedings in his case as well as the related asbestos case with Ingersoll’s co-conspirator, Roy Bradley. One example of Ingersoll’s obstructive conduct is his refusal to provide ANY information regarding his income and living expenses, despite being specifically ordered by the court to provide “complete and accurate” financial information to the probation officer.”
For those of you wondering what Ingersoll's been living on since he left the Grand Traverse Academy, you'll just have to keep guessing...I guess. Hey, $12,500 a month doesn't go as far as it used to!
Continuing, the government stated “Ingersoll’s deliberate refusal to comply with the court’s order is not based on his exercise of a constitutional right nor should it be viewed as simply declining to comply with a probation officer’s request for information. The court has an obligation to fashion the financial components of Ingersoll’s sentence in this case, but Ingersoll has affirmatively impeded the court’s ability to perform that task. As a result, not only has Ingersoll failed to carry his burden of demonstrating that he is unable to pay a fine, and the costs of prosecution, but he has obstructed justice in a way that warrants consideration by the court in fashioning both the custodial and financial components of Ingersoll’s sentence, even if the court does not assess two points for obstruction of justice.”
Whew! Scorn with a side order of side-eye, please.
The government objected to the “adverse findings” made by the court regarding Ingersoll’s belated claims for deductions and credits:
“Ingersoll’s claimed deductions were not provided on a timely basis nor were they provided with sufficient information to make the claimed deductions and credits verifiable. Indeed, the court has repeatedly found that financial claims made by Ingersoll during the sentencing hearings were not adequately substantiated. Yet, the court inexplicably also founded that Ingersoll’s testimony was sufficient to substantiate that legions of generally opaque entries on Ingersoll’s credit card bills should be deducted from the tax loss resulting from Ingersoll’s fraudulent evasion of his tax obligations for 2009, 2010 and 2011.”
Oh, and it goes on!
“The court’s willingness to credit Ingersoll’s claim that he can remember which among thousands of credit transactions found on credit card statements from years ago are proper deductions defies common sense. The court’s acceptance of any version of Ingersoll’s exhibit 101 based on Ingersoll’s testimony is especially hard to understand because Ingersoll acknowledged during his testimony that he repeatedly had to revise his list of claimed deductions based on his evolving understanding of what is a deduction, though Ingersoll did not specifically disclose what his understanding was as to any version of exhibit 101, and Ingersoll admitted that he had erroneously claimed substantial sums as deductions, such as the costs of family vacations, when the confronted with evidence that his claims were false. Substantiation of tax deductions and credits in the context of this case requires more than the self-serving testimony of Steven Ingersoll, a person who has been convicted of tax fraud – a crime of falsehood – and repeatedly shown to be inaccurate in various aspects of his testimony.”
Here's where you'll want to repeat that well-worn mantra while gazing at your navel: this case has nothing to do with the Grand Traverse Academy.
Now get your head out of your navel and pay attention!
The government also objected to the finding that the transactions totaling $934,000 were a return on “Ingersoll’s investment of his personal funds in his Bay City Academy project”:
“Ingersoll has never documented his claim that he personally invested $934,000 in the project. On the contrary, the evidence demonstrates that Ingersoll took more than $3 million from the Grand Traverse Academy and diverted a substantial part of that money to his grandiose, utopian scheme centered around the Bay City Academy. Once Ingersoll secured the $1.8 million Chemical Bank construction loan, 80% guaranteed by federal tax dollars via the U.S. Department of Agriculture, he convinced Roy and Tammy Bradley, the contractors on the Bay City Academy construction/renovation project, to kick back $934,000 so Ingersoll could partially, if only temporarily, repay money that Ingersoll had taken from the Grand Traverse Academy. As Ingersoll said at the time, the Bay City Academy was to repay the Grand Traverse Academy the GTA money that had been used to seed Ingersoll’s BCA project.”
The government aimed this scathing broadside directly at past and present members of the Grand Traverse Academy's board of directors:
“The GTA board at all relevant times has been controlled by Ingersoll’s friends and business associates. The GTA board as an entity was not victimized by Ingersoll’s diversion of per pupil state aid from that publicly-funded school. It cost the GTA board nothing to acquiesce in Ingersoll’s manipulation of the GTA budget to conceal his diversion of funds that should have been used to educate GTA students. By his conduct, however, Ingersoll did victimize the students, faculty and staff of the GTA, as well as the tax-paying public at both the federal and state level. In fact, now that Ingersoll is (hopefully) prevented from engaging further in his shell-game financing of his self-aggrandizing Bay City Academy project with Grand Traverse Academy funds, the continued viability of BCA is becoming increasingly questionable.”
Gee, it's too bad I couldn't interest Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney in an investigation of the missing millions! It wasn't for lack of trying. (And that guy wants to be a judge?)
And finally, Integrated Visual Learning reared its ugly (two-headed) head in the government's objection.
Criticizing Ludington for repeatedly indicating in his September 22, 2016 opinion that he was “impressed by anecdotal representations regarding the benefits of Ingersoll’s IVL system”, the government stated that “while the efficacy of IVL may be debated elsewhere, for purposes of sentencing Ingersoll, the efficacy of IVL is completely irrelevant.”
Closing strong, the government wrapped with this stunner, equating Ingersoll with a fireman who'd committed arson:
“A fireman who has engaged in the dangerous job of extinguishing fires but also has committed arson does not deserve credit at sentencing for having performed the duties of a fireman. Ingersoll likewise does not deserve any sentencing benefit for having used GTA as a vehicle for providing IVL to some students while exploiting his unrestrained access to GTA’s publicly-provided funds to promote his own interests.”
And Ingersoll's defense motion, also filed yesterday?
It appears that it might be the beginning of an “I’m too sick to go to prison” effort: his attorney, new TCAPS board member Jan Geht, filed an unopposed motion authorizing him to file a brief and Ingersoll's supporting medical records under seal.
Of course, I will bring you any updates as soon as they're made available.