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Thursday, April 30, 2015

EVERY FAMILY HAS A 'FREDO': Ingersoll-Controlled Bay City Academy Board Anoints New "Manager"

As an adult, "Godfather" character Fredo Corleone was seen as the weakest of the three Corleone brothers and was given relatively unimportant businesses to run.

However, he was also known as a charismatic young man, and was usually sent to pick important people up at the airport and entertain them before business meetings.

If every family has a Fredo, it looks like the extended Ingersoll family has found its candidate—and given him a relatively unimportant business to run.

In a story that first broke on this blog, the Bay City Academy has indeed hired Brian Lynch and his newly-created "Mitten Educational Management", awarding Lynch and business partner Michael Randel a one-year contract to manage the scandal-plagued Bay City charter school founded by convicted felon Steven Ingersoll.

The Bay City Times' story is significantly hampered by its reporter's lack of skepticism, and it also make several glaring errors.

For example, although the reporter features the impressive results achieved by principal Patrick Cleland at the Bay City Academy's Mancelona campus (North Central Academy), he neglects to mention the nearly 26 percent drop in student population at the charter school's Bay City locations

Recently Michigan Department of Education "school count" data shows that while the combined Bay City Campus locations of Steven Ingersoll's Bay City Academy had 404 students during the 2013-2014 school year, the 2014-2015 enrollment is down to just 299 students. The Bay City Academy currently operates out of two locations in Bay City: the Madison Arts campus at 400 N. Madison Avenue and the Farragut campus at 301 N. Farragut Street. A third location, the Old Y campus, abruptly closed last fall without explanation.

In what can only be characterized as a conscious attempt to whitewash Ingersoll's lingering delinquent property tax issues with Bay City, the story states that "Ingersoll still owns the two school buildings from which Bay City Academy operates" and claims that "taxes have been paid on the properties."

Once I finished laughing, I called the Bay County Treasurer's office to learn that although the Bay City Academy's Farragut Campus (301 N. Farragut Street) did not carry any tax delinquency, the same was not true for the other two buildings.

The Madison Arts campus, located at 400 N. Madison Avenue, owes $11,334.90 in 2014 property taxes, having last paid the city on April 28, 2014.

And the shuttered Old Y campus, at 111 N. Madison Avenue, has a deliquency of $7,841.02, which will automatically increase to $7,915.00 tomorrow.

And although longtime Ingersoll crony, board member Craig Johnston, asserts Ingersoll is no longer associated with the schools, Ingersoll still owns the buildings.

But even more ridiculous than Johnston's comment is Lynch's assertion that the new management is the final step in separating the school from Ingersoll.

As the owner of the Bay City school buildings, Ingersoll will continue to receive his inflated rent payments.

In addition, Ingersoll's "integrated visual learning" forms the foundation for the Bay City Academy's curriculum and Ingersoll's "Icon Curriculum Maps" are used (and I'm quoting here from the Academy's website) for "reorganizing lesson content and delivery from traditional 'part to whole' to 'whole to part' methodology to better match human thinking."

Even Lynch's father-in-law, Mark Noss, hasn't separated from Steve Ingersoll.

Nearly 15 months after taking over management of the Grand Traverse Academy under his Full Spectrum Management, Mark Noss still has Steve Ingersoll's daughter-in-law, Gretchen, creating financial reports for the Traverse City charter school. As shown at left, Gretchen Ingersoll created the March 31, 2015 balance sheet for the Grand Traverse Academy.

Other than wondering why a $1,769,805.37 "accounts receivable" is still sitting on the GTA's books, I have to say breaking up with Steve Ingersoll is hard to do.

If you don't believe me, just ask Mark Noss. 

TIP OF THE ICEBERG! Fraud, Waste, and Lies: National Charter School Cheating Report Features Grand Traverse Academy, Steven Ingersoll

Michigan's most infamous "charter cheater", convicted felon Steven Ingersoll, has gone nationwide. A case study about Ingersoll and his multi-million dollar ripoff at the Grand Traverse Academy is featured in a newly-released national charter fraud report.

The report, titled “The Tip of the Iceberg: Charter School Vulnerabilities To Waste, Fraud, And Abuse,” was released jointly on April 27 by the nonprofit organizations Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools and the Center for Popular Democracy. 

It follows a similar report released a year ago by the same groups that detailed $136 million in fraud and waste and mismanagement in 15 of the 42 states that operate charter schools. The 2015 report cites $203 million, including the 2014 total plus $23 million in new cases, and $44 million in earlier cases not included in last year’s report.

Despite the tremendous ongoing investment of public dollars to charter schools, the report reveals that government at all levels has failed to implement systems that proactively monitor charter schools for fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement. 

While charter schools are subject to significant reporting requirements by various public offices (including federal monitors, chartering entities, county superintendents, and state controllers and auditors), very few public offices regularly monitor for fraud.

The number of instances of serious fraud uncovered by whistleblowers, reporters, and investigations suggests that the fraud problem extends well beyond the cases we know about. 

According to standard forensic auditing methodologies, the deficiencies in charter oversight throughout the country suggest that federal, state, and local governments stand to lose more than $1.4 billion in 2015.

It appears to Miss Fortune that the vast majority of the fraud perpetrated by charter officials will continue to go undetected because the federal government, the states, charter authorizers and local charter boards lack the guts to detect the fraud—or they're co-conspirators and being paid off (in one form or another) to keep quiet.

(NOTE: The Ingersoll portion of the report contains a couple minor typos, and Miss Fortune has already alerted the nonprofit organizations responsible for the report. The errors should be corrected shortly.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

MITTEN MANAGEMENT: Lake Superior State University Charter School Office Does Not Know "Any Of The Details" Of Brian Lynch's New Management Contract With The Bay City Academy

Nick Oshelski, Executive Director of Lake Superior State University's Charter School Office, exclusively confirmed in an email to Miss Fortune late Tuesday that the Bay City Academy's Board of Directors has indeed contracted with Brian Lynch's new management company, Mitten Management, to run the scandal-plagued charter school founded by convicted felon, Steven Ingersoll.

However, Oshelski (responding to my request for concrete details about the selection process) claimed he had only just "requested a signed copy of the Management Agreement for our legal counsel to review" and stated he did not know "any of the details of the management agreement".

Lynch, the son-in-law of longtime Ingersoll business associate Mark Noss, last spoke publicly on March 11 about a proposed management company change during a meeting at the Bay City Academy attended by roughly six people.

While assuring those attending that it would be "education as usual", Lynch coyly stated a "new management company hadn't been identified" and said a company would approach the Bay City Academy or officials from Lake Superior State University and "pitch their business plan".

A check of Michigan's corporate database reveals only one listing for a "Mitten Management", established by a Brighton-based photographer and property owner. 

While it's unlikely there's a connection, Lynch may be following in the well-trod path established by Noss: filing business formation papers after you've signed a management contract.

Miss Fortune will bring you more details as they become available...which means after I dig them up!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

THE SWINE BELLY UP TO THE TROUGH: Bay City Academy Superintendent Brian Lynch Steps Down; Steps Right Back Up

Reliable sources have confirmed to Miss Fortune that Brian Lynch, formerly the Superintendent of the scandal-plagued Bay City Academy, has stepped down.

But, oh look...he stepped right back up!

As I predicted on Sunday, Lynch was indeed awarded an "education service provider" management contract during a "special meeting" of the Bay City Academy's board yesterday afternoon.

No details about Lynch's contract (or the former insurance agent's newly-formed "corporation") have been made public by the Bay City Academy, and Miss Fortune has requested all available information directly from Nick Oshelski at Lake Superior State University's charter school office.

What we have here is the takeover of our public schools by for-profit concerns who are perfectly content to take taxpayers' money to pad their own bottom lines while making sure Michigan's children 'isn't learning'.

Welcome to the family business...
now we can share the financial 
services of Gretchen Ingersoll!