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Friday, July 11, 2014

DOINK, DOINK: Steven Ingersoll's Trial Date Set


In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police, who investigate crime; and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders.

With all the recent talk about Kaye Mentley's abrupt departure from the Grand Traverse Academy, it's easy to forget that Steven Ingersoll's federal criminal fraud trial is just around the proverbial corner.

And, like it or not, the Grand Traverse Academy is about to be dragged (kicking, screaming, squirming, dodging) into Ingersoll's legal maw.

On April 10 Ingersoll, his wife Deborah M. Ingersoll, his brother Gayle R. Ingersoll, Roy C. Bradley Sr. and his wife Tammy S. Bradley were each charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Steve Ingersoll, Roy Bradley and Gayle Ingersoll were also charged with conspiracy to evade federal income tax laws. (The bank conspiracy charge alone carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.)

The indictment, unsealed April 11 in U. S. District Court in
Bay City, alleged that Ingersoll, and the four others named, diverted about $934,000 from a school construction project, converting it into personal income for Steven and Deborah Ingersoll.

Steven Ingersoll allegedly used part of the construction loan proceeds, backed by the U. S. Department of Agriculture and diverted to his joint, personal Fifth-Third Bank account, to "reduce his indebtedness to his Traverse City charter school, the Grand Traverse Academy".

Those thirteen words were the impetus for my investigation, which revealed Ingersoll's fee overpayment and the Academy Board's complicity.

On April 13, this blog broke the news that Ingersoll had racked up a $2,338,980 "prepaid expense/expenditure balance" for management fee overpayments he made from the Grand Traverse Academy's bank accounts to his Smart Schools Management, Inc. 

The story has never been publicly refuted by either the Academy board or Steven Ingersoll. The Academy's June 2013 audit report revealed that Smart Schools Management agreed that it “owed Grand Traverse Academy an amount classified as a prepaid balance” ($2,338,980), and worked out a repayment plan with the Academy. The plan called for Smart Schools to "work off the prepayment" by “partially reducing cash transfers for future management fees through June 2016”.

A Traverse City Record-Eagle report, published nearly two weeks after this blog broke the $2.38 million dollar overpayment story, revealed that Academy officials claimed they severed ties with Ingersoll at his suggestion to prevent his pending case from casting a shadow over the school.

Mark Noss was quoted as saying he "knew nothing of the transactions that placed Ingersoll on federal prosecutors’ radar". And Kaye Mentley said she was "not concerned" about the $1.6 million owed by Ingersoll and Smart Schools.

“At this time the payment schedule that was arranged has been kept,” she said.

Mentley's no longer with the Academy, and Noss's fresh-out-of-the-oven management company (Full Spectrum Management, LLC) scored a multi-year, multi-million dollar management agreement March 19, the very day it was formed, deftly slipping into the shoes left vacant by Ingersoll.

Key dates for the Ingersoll matter shown at left, from a July 1 court document.

As I revealed in an earlier post, it's likely that upon conviction the feds will seek to recover the money Ingersoll repaid to the Grand Traverse Academy.  

Fraud clawbacks occur when there is an attempt to retrieve, or “clawback” money that was attained through fraud. The intent of the clawback is to provide financial relief to victims of the fraud.

What was it Kaye Mentley once said?

“Our audits indicate all our procedures and finances are appropriate and in order.” 


The trial kicks off at 8:30am on Tuesday, September 16.

I suggest you get to the courthouse in Bay City early for a good seat. You'll recognize meI'll be the one holding a home-brewed cup of Peet's French Roast, eating a chocolate croissant, fresh from my favorite p√Ętisserie.

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