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Monday, October 16, 2017

MORE LIES? From “Our Improving Financial Health” To Staff Cuts A Month Later? Grand Traverse Academy's Increasingly Gloomy “Financial Picture” Adds Nearly $800,000 In Debt Service!


Taylor made “constant attempts to hide her fraudulent activity by manipulating entries into the general ledger, (indicating) there is no question as to criminal intent,” a Rehmann Group financial investigation states. 
Traverse City Record-Eagle June 2, 2017 

In early 2016, according to various news reports, Leelanau Redi-Mix employees called Leelanau County sheriff's deputies to report their suspicions that bookkeeper Carolyn Taylor, who at the time was still employed at the family owned business, was manipulating payroll records and forging checks. 

According to a story in the June 2, 2017 edition of the Traverse City Record-Eagle, Leelanau County sheriff's deputies and a forensic auditor launched an investigation, eventually detailing Taylor's suspected embezzlement in a series of police reports and a forensic audit extensive enough to fill several binders. 

However, if you compare Leelanau County's activity with the Grand Traverse Academy's foot-dragging and inattention regarding Steven Ingersoll's admitted misappropriation of nearly $5.0 million from the Traverse City charter schoolan admission Ingersoll made under oath during his sentencing hearing — you'll find the roots of the school's current financial crisis.

There was no effort made to curtail Ingersoll's access to the Grand Traverse Academy's funds after he admitted to its board on May 20, 2013 he owed the school $3.5 million, an admission that occurred nearly a year before Ingersoll was indicted by federal prosecutors for tax evasion. 

No fingers were lifted after former board president, Brad Habermehl, was revealed to have solicited a $300,000 loan in late November 2014 on behalf of his “friend and colleague” Steven Ingersoll for a purported private school venture while still a member of the Grand Traverse Academy board!

And even now-disgraced former manager, and longtime board member, Mark Noss was allowed to hang around for another 18 months after it was revealed he'd paid nearly $500,000 in hush money payments to Steven Ingersoll — after years of vehemently denying any business relationship with the convicted felon.

But what happened, you might ask, to the “improving financial health” as propagandized in late August 2017 by the Grand Traverse Academy's superintendent, Susan Dameron?

This happened: the decision by the Grand Traverse Academy board to refinance a $2.3 million in short-term debt owed to Traverse City State Bank with an agreement that includes a stunning provision requiring the interception of nearly $800,000 of school aid funds away from the Grand Traverse Academy and transmitted directly to bondholders for debt-service payments — funding that cannot be redirected to any other budget line item.

Here are the key components of the agreement, one that will likely send the Grand Traverse Academy into a deficit within this school year: 


  1. It's quite obvious Susan Dameron is hiding the facts so that parents won't know what is going on. Probably trying desperately to get past count $$$ day. I would never put my children in a school run by these untrustworthy people. Corruption, lies and fraud!

  2. Oh...what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive...

  3. Grand Traverse Academy Embezzlement Scandal!

    It truly amazes me that on the front page of the Record Eagle is an article about a woman embezzling money, yet the Record Eagle hasn't followed up on one of the biggest embezzlement scandals that has happened in their area. The embezzlement at GTA is still hurting Traverse City's children and their community. Where is the responsibility to their community to write about this crazy money laundering scheme involving GTA, a for-profit charter school? Shouldn't this community know? Shouldn't they be getting this money back from Steve Ingersoll and his cohorts? Is everyone hiding information like Susan Dameron? There has got to be some inside strings being pulled everywhere; at that school, board members, the superintendent, the authorizing university, the state department, the banks. My question is did Steve Ingersoll, Mark Noss, Brad Habermehl and many more get away with embezzlement? Who are all of his cohorts and are some of them still involved in funneling money away from the school? Who is suppose to be protecting this community? It doesn't look like anyone is? And it surely doesn't look like the Record Eagle is doing their job. How can this school survive if they don't retrieve that embezzled money?

    Great reporting Anita, at least you have the skills, honesty and heart to uncover injustices done to us!

    1. Amen, Miss Fortune! We are fortunate to have you on the side of truth and justice (as you uncover injustice and corruption!)

  4. em·bez·zle·ment

    theft or misappropriation of funds placed in one's trust or belonging to one's employer.
    "charges of fraud and embezzlement"
    synonyms: misappropriation, theft, stealing, robbery, thieving, pilfering, purloining, pilferage, appropriation, swindling; fraud, larceny

  5. No question - Grand Theft Academy, with a focus on the GRAND THEFT.

  6. Has anyone seen the Record Eagle today? I am not going to speak for anyone else, but I now question everything I read in that paper. I do my fact checking by deferring to this Blog! Anything that pertains to GTA I always check your blog Miss Fortune!

    1. I will be responding to the Record-Eagle's “Budget woes strike GT Academy” piece a bit later today.

    2. Here's my response: https://glisteningquiveringunderbelly.blogspot.com/2017/10/financial-kinks-in-state-aid-firehose.html