Thursday, June 22, 2017

SAFE, LOVED, AND LEARNING? Character Education...Or Education By Characters?

“SNAPPED” IN THE SCHOOLYARD? “A staff member was being accused by a parent of allegedly dragging a student into the school from the playground,” GTA Superintendent Susan Dameron wrote. “The academy is in the process of a thorough investigation into these allegations.”

The Grand Traverse County Sheriff's department is investigating an allegation by the parent of a GTA student that a “staff member” dragged the student, who reportedly refused to leave the playground, back into the Traverse City charter school.

“Hell no, I won’t go?”

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

WHAT HAPPENED TO CROSKEY LANNI? Grand Traverse Academy Board Hires Rehmann Group, Accounting Firm That Currently Represents Mark Noss; Another Rehmann Group CPA Part Of Steven Ingersoll's Criminal Tax Fraud Prosecution “Dream Team”

“I think it’s a matter of segregation of duties,” said board Treasurer Samer Bourdkani. “We don’t want to rely (and) put everything on the Rehmann Group. If something happens between us and them, then we’re going to start from scratch all over again. We don’t want to rely heavily on one entity.”

Why not?

It worked so well for Steven Ingersoll and it's working still for teetering Grand Traverse Academy management head Mark Noss.

A couple things not mentioned today's Record-Eagle story (what a surprise!): according to the GTA board's official February 2, 2017 meeting minutes, Mark Noss reported that he'd hired the Rehmann Group to serve as accountant for FSM, not the GTA.

Although Croskey Lanni provided accounting services for the GTA's 2015 and 2016 annual audits, it appears that firm has been replaced by one with close ties to both Ingersoll and Noss. 

More financial hide the salami from the GTA board.

Christ on a crutch, who is writing this script?

Always ready with a newsworthy quote, board member and CPA Samer Bourkani (whose last appearance in this farce as its “misleading” man delivered the memorable “by hook or by crook” remark in a May 17 news story), returns with a another gem: “We don’t want to rely heavily on one entity.” 

It's too late, baby!

The roots of the current GTA management flap can be found in a November 21, 2013 email from Steven Ingersoll to his defense team, which included attorney Jan Geht, forensic accountant David Hammel and Rehmann accountant Dick Cummins.

In that email, Ingersoll writes to the group regarding an initiative planned to respond to what is certainly his impending criminal indictment. Ingersoll hired a criminal defense attorney in July 2012, and had previously been negotiating a plea deal with federal prosecutors.

That legal strategy shifted from negotiation to an “I’ll take my chances with a jury” stance, with Ingersoll hiring Rehmann Group as Smart Schools' new accounting firm. The move was formally announced by Ingersoll at the GTA's February 1, 2013 board meeting.

According to IRS Revenue Agent Michael Wisniewski, who testified during Ingersoll’s sentencing hearing, he and fellow IRS Agent Mike Kaza conducted in-person interviews with several Grand Traverse Academy Board members and office staffers in early July 2013. 

All denied ever having seen the page in the audit report that revealed Ingersoll’s $3.58 million dollar prepaid expense/accounts receivable balance. 

Wisniewski and Kaza interviewed board members Larry DeYoung and Leslie Werth, and each denied knowledge of the debt although each one admitted receiving complete financials, including the audit and the Thrun letter.

Except for Mark Noss. 

When initially contacted by phone, Noss denied any knowledge of the missing money. However, when interviewed in person in his office by Wisniewski (who was asked a point-blank question by the prosecution during his October 20, 2015 testimony: Did it ever come to your attention that the information given during that interview was different than the information given over the phone?), Noss admitted that he did know but claimed to Wisniewski that it was legal for Ingersoll to take the money. 

Noss admitted that the State Aid Anticipation Loan borrowing substantially increased during the years Ingersoll was helping himself to millions of taxpayer cash, with the borrowing keeping the Grand Traverse Academy afloat. 

Even as he acknowledged the stepped-up borrowing, Noss stated to Wisniewski that Smart Schools Management was legally under contract and entitled to the funds Ingersoll took. 

When asked why the practice was allowed to answer, Wisniewski testified Noss did not answer. 

In the first of two sworn affidavits Noss submitted for the defense in the Steven Ingersoll case, the former president of the GTA board and now head gravy-sopper at Full Spectrum Management made a number of unreliable statements. 

In additions, many of the assertions Noss made were directly contradicted by the statements — and trial testimony — of other witnesses. 

Here are pertinent statements made by Mark Noss in his September 10, 2015 affidavit

1. From 2009 to 2014, I was the President of the board of education of Grand Traverse Academy (GTA). 

2. During that time, I was aware of the fact that SSM extended financial support to GTA on an annual basis in the form of rebated Management fees and facility lease payments. This financial support was discussed at board meetings many times as evidenced by the documents produced to GTA by Dr. Ingersoll on or about January 22, 2015. 

3. In July 2012, upon my telephonic query, GTA’s auditor, Tony Henning, indicated that GTA’s accounting methodology of booking rebated management fees and lease amounts as related party receivables was proper and acceptable. 

Noss later filed another affidavit on October 20, 2015, where he described the February 1, 2013 GTA board meeting in greater, and more self-serving, detail.

So the GTA board, which has historically marched in lockstep with both Ingersoll and Noss, now expects us to believe that Rehmann, the CPA firm providing accounting services to Mark Noss/Full Spectrum and formerly part of Steven Ingersoll's criminal defense effort, will provide financial consultation and other budget-related services to the school and no one will raise the appearance of a cover-up?

I'll ask again: what happened to Croskey Lanni?

Saturday, June 17, 2017

DAVID LEE HUNTER DISCHARGED FROM PAROLE SUPERVISION: Convicted In Traverse City Craigslist Rental Scam, Hunter Freed From Supervision

David Lee Hunter, a Charlevoix native who served nearly two years in a Michigan prison for a 2012 Traverse City Craigslist rental scam, was officially released from parole supervision yesterday, June 16. 

A warrant for Hunter's arrest was issued on March 15, 2013 by the 86th District Court after he failed to appear for a scheduled court hearing. 

Hunter signed a one-month lease on a Traverse City home in 2012, and then signed several one-year lease agreements with potential renters and collected six $1,000 payments for security deposits.

Hunter was later taken into custody on July 16, 2013 after his arrest at a Chicago airport hotel, based on a tip from a reader of this blog. Hunter was sentenced October 25, 2013 to 23-60 months in prison, after pleading guilty to two counts of conversion by false pretenses. In return, the Grand Traverse County Prosecuting Attorney agreed to drop four remaining four remaining felony counts.

On September 7, 2016, Hunter was charged with multiple parole violations and later investigated by the Michigan State Police for allegedly extorting money from a registered sex offender, Stuart Robbenolt. According to Robbenolt's official statement, Hunter's mother, Kathleen, allegedly aided and abetted her son's extortion scheme.

In the September 7, 2016 Michigan Department of Corrections parole violation report, a female acquaintance of Hunter's stated she was introduced to Stuart Robbenolt by Hunter. The woman reported that she knew Robbenolt had been to prison and was befriended by Hunter while they both were incarcerated at the same Michigan prison facility. 

The woman reported that Hunter had Robbenolt reside with her and Hunter for a period of time, and that Hunter admitted to befriending Robbenolt while they were incarcerated in the same prison together. Robbenolt served nearly 15 years for criminal sexual conduct and, according to Hunter’s acquaintance, allegedly has some sort of intellectual deficit. 

A search of the hard drive of a computer provided by Kathleen Hunter, according to an Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) agent, revealed Robbenolt’s personal information, including his social security benefits and GM retirement information. 

The computer had information that connected Hunter having access to the computer and using the computer. 

Hunter’s female acquaintance stated to Michigan State Police investigator that Hunter would have Robbenolt sign over his checks to her and that she would cash them for Hunter. 

As of today, no charges have been filed.