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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

NO LAUGHING MATTER: Grand Traverse Academy Says “ALOHA” To $8,500 & Other Financial News. $253,449.61 Prepaid Expense: Recipient(s) A Mystery!

A draft June balance sheet for GTA listed a $253,000 prepaid expense to "SSM" — an acronym for Ingersoll's Smart Schools Management, which formerly managed GTA. Mark Noss, who runs FSM, said the label was a holdover from when his company received accounting software during the transition from SSM.”

Traverse City Record-Eagle
September 20, 2016

It looks like Kevin Wanzer isn't the only one laughing all the way to the bank!

Mark Noss was quoted in today's story, pooh-poohing a prepaid expense payment to Steven Ingersoll's Smart Schools Management, claiming the purported “draft June balance sheet” was a “huge, huge mistake” and his answer was reported as fact by the Record-Eagle. (A revised balance sheet, retaining the Prepaid Expense line item but dropping the 'SSM', was distributed during Friday's meeting of the Grand Traverse Academy board.)

Ever hear of a follow-up question? 

If it wasn't a prepayment to Steven Ingersoll or his business entity, then exactly who (or what) was "prepaid"?

Strange, too, that the so-called holdover never popped up in any of the 2015-16 fiscal year's first three quarters?


Here's another one for you: if the so-called draft was indeed a mistake, why hasn't the corrected version been posted on Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA), where the original version was posted on August 30, 2016?

Oh, you've never heard of EMMA? 

EMMA is the official repository for information on virtually all municipal bonds, providing free access to official disclosures, trade data and other information about the municipal securities market.

The Grand Traverse Academy provides continuing disclosure financial documents to Wells Fargo Bank N. A., the trustee of the school's Series 2007 $16.2 million municipal bond, and those documents are posted on EMMA. 

Among the documents are quarterly statements, including the June 30, 2016 balance sheet posted on August 30, 2016.

It's another dirty little secret not many people know: all this stuff is available publicly...you just need to know where to look. The news broke here, and was first published on this blog, including a follow-up story a few days later. 

So, I might ask, did the Record-Eagle seek to verify the excuse explanation used by Noss? Sure doesn't look like it to me.

And what about the claim that the SSM “label was a holdover from when his company received accounting software during the transition” from Ingersoll to Noss and Full Spectrum? Nearly 2.5 years later?

I suppose we're expected to accept that statement, but when did Microsoft Excel become accounting software?

Take a look below, and you'll see that the 'Document Properties' section from the version created August 29 and modified August 30 reveals the software that was used to create the Balance Sheet, and it wasn't QuickBooks! (I've obscured the identity of the Full Spectrum accountant whose name appears as the document's author.)

Microsoft Excel, king of the spreadsheets, is accounting software?

And, even more stunning, that software defaults to a continuous flow of money to Steven Ingersoll?


But what do you expect from a guy who made multiple, even egregious, misstatements in two sworn affidavits? (It didn't take long for this to get out!)

Look, if you're going to mine my blog for stories, at least do your own homework.

Like this guy, Kevin Wanzer, who managed to get the Grand Traverse Academy to pay him $8,500 for a day's work. 

Nice work, if you can get it!


  1. I hope the Record Eagle asks more questions and tries to find the real truth behind all of this, they owe the public that much. I would never trust one word that comes out of Mark Noss's mouth, or Susan Dameron's or anyone on the board they are all dishonest lying cheats. I can not understand why parents aren't asking question. Every line of bullshit that comes out of their mouths is manipulation so they can make money off of the taxpayers,the state, the teachers and even the school they are suppose to be protecting. There are no trustworthy individuals there. I feel sorry for the dedicated teachers that have to work for people like that, it is not an easy pill to swallow.
    Do not take their word on anything.

  2. I find it terrifying to know that the Record Eagle is taking these crooks on face value. Obviously, they don't really care that their town and children are getting ripped off by these gahloots.

  3. Sounds to me like a mafia family. If you don't do as we say, you end up in the bay! Is that what we want for our town. I sure as hell don't. I want the crooks in jail where they belong.

  4. A million dollars of prepaid expenses and it could racket up to two million. This is absolutely obscene, that money collected from taxpayers and the state needs to go to the children and teachers. No wonder everybody and their brother wants to open a charter school, it is the whitecollar lucrative welfare. It should be shut down! No one needs schools with such blatant money laundering. Take em down, clean it up and support your regular local public schools.
    We need our state to take action and the newspapers to become what newspapers use to be, a voice of the people for the good of the community and expose corruption.

  5. Sickening- why is this just passed over? This is fraud pure & simple. TCAPS ought to file suit if no one else will- this hurts the public schools and guts their own funding.