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Monday, June 12, 2017

“A RENT REVENUE STREAM EQUAL TO 1.3 ANNUAL DEBT SERVICE COVERAGE” Is There A Direct Connection Between MDN Development's Grand Traverse Academy Expansion & Steven Ingersoll's Line Of Credit Debt? Mortgage Part Of Scheme By Noss, Ingersoll, Habermehl and Harger To Profit From Construction? And Just Who (“I And Steve Are 2 Of The Five”) Is The Missing Link?



In early March 2014, Steven Ingersoll set into motion a plan that, if it had succeeded, would not only have allowed him to maintain control of the Grand Traverse Academy through Mark Noss, and build a long-desired math and science expansion at the school. Executed as planned, the scheme would have also made a huge dent in the massive business debt he owed Traverse City State Bank (TCSB)— until Mark Noss agreed to assume that obligation in 2014

From the available evidence, including previously-secret documents, it appears that Ingersoll, along with Grand Traverse Academy board president Brad Habermehl and Bruce Harger, were three of the four “silent partners” lining up (snout deep!) with Mark Noss along a trough overflowing with public money, seeking to carve out profit from the new building.

But who is Mr. Number Five? 

And was a long-time Grand Traverse Academy employee fired for asking too many questions?  


On April 10, 2016, Mark Noss told the Traverse City Record-Eagle: “Because this facility needs to be built right now, I have agreed to put my personal assets on the line and take the risk on behalf of the school.”

Not quite, baby!

In a May 3, 2015 email to Grand Traverse Academy board members, and superintendent Susan Dameron, Noss revealed a string of “credit enhancement parameters” demanded by Traverse City State Bank. 

In the email, Noss asserted three other lenders deemed the school as an unsuitable credit risk...but he would ride up and save the day.

But, in addition to Noss' pledge of debt service and personal assets for the full 20 year amortization period, the bank required MDN Development, LLC to snag a lease agreement with the Grand Traverse Academy that covered 130 percent of his monthly mortgage.

Sounds like someone's “assets” were on the line, and you'll have to look in the mirror to find out who. 

Go and look, I'll wait.

Let me explain now that you're back: Noss initially proposed to borrow $2.8 million (later upped to $3.1 million) to build the expansion. According to the initial lease draft, the monthly rent would rise from $24,000 per month during the first year to $43,000 per month by November 1, 2017.

The most recent lease, approved by the Grand Traverse Academy board on February 2, 2016, set the initial monthly rent at $30,000 per month during the initial year, later rising to $38,000 per month.

Those monthly rents were arbitrarily set to include a 30 percent premium so that Noss could pay his mortgage, and grab what he succinctly described in a May 3, 2015 email to a school employee as a “reasonable reward”. 

And contrary to superintendent Susan Dameron, who proclaimed anywhere and everywhere that Noss was merely “charging the Academy exactly what he's borrowing from the bank”, the scheme would have netted its five partners a profit in excess of $1.75 million.

Here's how: borrowing $3.1 million (the cost of construction and contingencies) at 4% for a 20 year period would cost approximately $18,785 a month, roughly $12,000 less than the monthly lease payment the Grand Traverse Academy board agreed to pay Mark Noss and his partners.

Noss, with the deal structured under Ingersoll's apparent direction, could have used the additional $12,000 to accelerate the payoff of the $925,000 TCSB line of credit loan he assumed from Ingersoll.

(Does anybody else wonder what Ingersoll could have on Noss that Noss won't squeal? I didn't think so.) 

After three or four years, the mortage could have been reduced by nearly $1.0 million, bringing the payoff amount closer to $2.1 million.

And with the Grand Traverse Academy board already agreeing to pay Noss & Company $3.9 million for the expansion, the five guys could have walked away with roughly $1.75 million.

Sweet deal, right. 

But does anyone really believe Noss dreamed this up by himself?

In my opinion, he didn't, and the deal was enabled by Lake Superior State University's Bruce Harger.

But a Grand Traverse Academy insider was watching, asking questions — and was fired.  


“Like Dr. Ingersoll before me, I am committed to GTA for philosophic, political and philanthropic reasons. I am not, however, willing to accept the substantial risks without some reasonable reward. I have watched what can happen to those who tread in this risk environment as is evidenced by the assassination of Dr. Ingersoll. As is described on the website narrative Dr. Ingersoll extended himself on GTA’s behalf only to be attacked unjustly. He was exonerated at trial having been convicted on nebulous qualitative tax charges that still have not been quantified. Yet he continues to be unjustly vilified.”

The above comments, attributed to Mark Noss after they appeared in a 2015 email he ostensibly wrote to a Grand Traverse Academy staffer, (later fired by Noss for asking too many questions), sure sound a lot like Steven Ingersoll, circa 2014!

But the deal struck in 2015 by Mark Noss and his private property development arm, MDN Development, LLC, to construct a math and science building on the Grand Traverse Academy's campus, and eased through the Lake Superior State University approval pipeline by silent partner Bruce Harger (Deputy Director for Constituent Relations in Lake Superior State University's charter school office) could easily have delivered a seven-figure return to Noss and his investors — and it was approved by the Grand Traverse Academy board without legal review.

Coming Wednesday, June 14, the final installment of this three-part series.

Read the first installment at this link.


  1. Good Lord everyone involved in that school is crooked as hell. Except for the children and teachers, the rest need to be exterminated. Then finally Noss will be gone and Ingersoll will not be able to take advantage of the children, teachers and taxpayer.

  2. The staff has been conditioned there is another word for it " brainwashed "
    NOT ONE teacher stands up are you freaking kidding me?

  3. Praying that all whistle blowers who speak out and reveal irregularities, corruption, are rewarded with better jobs and ethical companies/schools to work for. God bless the GTA person who spoke out. May many more come forth.

    And shame on the greedy five. Harger, who worked for LSSU, should be further scrutinized. Harger's new name could be "Harger the Horrible."

    Keep those whistles handy good honest people.

  4. It's a form of blackmail. If you want to keep your job and feed your family in this community, you better shut up and do what we say. I feel sorry for the teachers because every one of them knows what is going on, they just don't want to loose their jobs. It is a common pattern with these guys, if you ask questions you get fired. The only way they are going to save the school is band together and expose the crooks for who they are. I don't understand how they can work under these conditions, must be stressful.

    1. Your exactly right 1 person question Ingersoll about the $50 a day Bradley was paying needless to say he was gone.