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Tuesday, May 16, 2017


On June 8, 2007, Grand Traverse Academy board member Lesley Werth signed a $474,000 note on behalf of the charter school with the head of its management company, Steven Ingersoll.

Ingersoll then took the signed note, and used it as collateral to open a $500,000 line of credit loan with Traverse City State Bank. Ingersoll provided the cash he'd borrowed to the Academy board to plug a hole in the charter school's financials, bringing its financials into compliance with a 2007 municipal bond deal signed on March 13, 2007. 

While the Academy may have benefited tangentially from Ingersoll's largesse, the board itself was not a party to or an authorizer of Ingersoll's line of credit loan.

The original authorization for Ingersoll's line of credit loan, signed on June 28, 2007, revealed the purpose of the loan was to “provide financing to allow SSM to privately support cash flow for Grand Traverse Academy”.

The line of credit was reauthorized on September 2, 2008 (increased to $750,000 to “provide financing to allow SSM to privately support cash flow for Grand Traverse Academy and other charter schools”), September 29, 2009 (maintained at $750,000, but broadened to “provide interim cash flow assistance to Grand Traverse Academy and working capital needs”), August 26, 2010 (increased from $750,000 to $1,000,000 to continue providing “financing to allow SSM to privately support cash flow for Grand Traverse Academy and other working captial needs”.

The final reauthorization, executed on March 29, 2012, maintained the same purpose as the previous agreement, signed on August 26, 2010.

But there was one big difference—Steven Ingersoll was treading water, experiencing difficulty paying his line of credit debt. 

On Thursday, the complete story including more exclusive financial details.


  1. How involved individually are these board members? Do they have the tenacity to stand up to the management company? Are they going to let this corruption continue or are they finally going to do something about it. Everyone of the teachers are afraid for their jobs so they shut up, but it is time to get the corrupt management company out of there. Two teachers lost their jobs because of asking questions. Board memebers you have a responsibility to the children and teachers are you going to do your job and do what you know is best for the school, children, community and parents or are you going to keep supporting people that obviously are threatening you and taking advantage of the school. If you don't do something right now this travesty will continue and the school will keep loosing money. Get the leeches out of your pond and take care of your water. Now is the time and if you don't do it now you will have an even bigger mess down the line. End the corruption. Get the money back into your school. Support your teachers and what is great about the school because all Ingersoll and Noss are doing is using you as a cash cow. And hey board memebers everybody knows it. Stand up and do the right thing.

    1. Even if Mark Noss is sent packing, that will not stop the investigation underway at the Michigan Department of Education and the Michigan Attorney General's office. Look back at the transaction under examination (the board's acceptance in November 2013 of forged documents proffered by Steve Ingersoll) and you'll find the board included Mark Noss, Larry DeYoung, Kim Elliott, Brad Habermehl and Lesley Werth. Noss is now head of the current management company, and lied for years about his close business relationship with Ingersoll, DeYoung and Elliott have left the board; Brad Habermehl, while still president of the board, solicited a $300,000 loan from a business associate on behalf of his "friend and colleague" Steve Ingersoll...and Lesley Werth is now the board president.

      The management company should be replaced and LSSU should step in and "reconstitute" the board, replacing them with new people.



  2. The only way the teachers will have security in their jobs is unionize. One main reason for the push to for-profit charter schools is nonunion staff. The management company sets the salaries, benefits and can fire at will. GTA fulfills it's intended purpose perfectly - sell people snake oil vision therapy and turn a school into a bank and real estate office. The charter school is simply the shell company to launder the real business.

  3. You said it perfectly, Upnorth Progressive, "sell people snake oil vision therapy and turn a school into a bank and real estate office." There are good banks and real estate offices too, but not in this case... it's a bank and real estate office for crooks.