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Thursday, January 30, 2020

HAND IN GLOVE...OR MITTEN? Federal Documents Reveal Mark Noss, Son-In-Law Brian Lynch Both Funneled Cash To Steven Ingersoll Beginning In 2014; Will The Ingersoll/Lynch/Mitten Educational Management LLC Transaction Face Scrutiny By Independent Bank During Its “Fraudulent Transfer” Investigation Of Mark Noss/Full Spectrum Management, LLC Bankrutpcy?


“Independent Bank shall pursue the collection of all Accounts Receivable owed to the Debtor by Dr. Mark D. Noss, a/k/a Mark D. Noss, Mark D. Noss, O.D., L.L.C. d/b/a Full Spectrum Eyecare and MDN Development, LLC (or any other affiliated or related entity to the Debtor and/or their principals as permitted by law) and Grand Traverse Academy. 

Independent Bank shall pursue any fraudulent transfers and avoidable transfers as permitted by Dr. Mark D. Noss, a/k/a Mark D. Noss, Mark D. Noss, O.D., L.L.C. d/b/a Full Spectrum Eyecare and MDN Development, LLC, Dr. Steven Ingersoll and Smart Schools Management (or any other affiliated or related entity and/or principal or individual as permitted by law) for all avoidable transfers made by the Debtor to the respective parties from March 14, 2014 until the Petition Date of February 19, 2019.” 

Trustee's Motion For Approval Of Compromise/
Settlement Agreement; January 27, 2020
In the matter of Full Spectrum Management bankruptcy
United States Bankruptcy Court 
for the Western District of Michigan


It's official: Independent Bank is not going to let Mark Noss off the hook. 

Instead of allowing Noss to discharge in federal bankruptcy court nearly $800,000 his Full Spectrum Management, LLC still owes, the bank will “pursue the collection of all Accounts Receivable owed to the Debtor by Dr. Mark D. Noss, a/k/a Mark D. Noss, Mark D. Noss, O.D., L.L.C. d/b/a Full Spectrum Eyecare and MDN Development, LLC (or any other affiliated or related entity to the Debtor and/or their principals as permitted by law) and Grand Traverse Academy.”

In addition, the bank will also “pursue any fraudulent transfers and avoidable transfers as permitted by Dr. Mark D. Noss, a/k/a Mark D. Noss, Mark D. Noss, O.D., L.L.C. d/b/a Full Spectrum Eyecare and MDN Development, LLC, Dr. Steven Ingersoll and Smart Schools Management (or any other affiliated or related entity and/or principal or individual as permitted by law) for all avoidable transfers made by the Debtor to the respective parties from March 14, 2014 until the Petition Date of February 19, 2019.”

The debtor in possession (Independent Bank) has what are 
called “ avoiding” powers. These powers may be used to undo a transfer of money or property made during a certain period of time before the filing of the bankruptcy petition.

Within days of assuming financial and management control of the Grand Traverse Academy in March 2014, Noss began making staggering monthly payments to Ingersoll. On April 17, 2014, Noss paid Steven Ingersoll's Smart Schools Management $17,841.94—the first in a string of secret payments to Ingersoll from Noss that would not be revealed for nearly two years.

An accountant formerly employed by Mark Noss at his Full Spectrum Management, LLC sent a stunning whistleblower email to the Grand Traverse Academy Board of Directors on March 15, 2016 at 6:00pm, alleging Noss deceived the Board when he stated during its December 17, 2015 meeting that he “has no business relationship with Dr. Ingersoll at the present time”. 

The former FSM accountant disclosed information to Board president Brad Habermehl and Grand Traverse Academy employee, Heidi Sych, that revealed Noss had secretly been making monthly $12,500 payments to Steven Ingersoll for nearly two years. 

The incendiary email, and a March 16, 2016 response from Mark Noss, were both provided to the U. S. Attorney's Office by counsel for Lake Superior State University. According to a supplemental brief filed March 29, 2016 by government prosecutors, Noss acknowledged paying Ingersoll $12,500 per month since he took over the role of educational services provider for the Grand Traverse Academy on March 19, 2014, with the first payment issued in April 2014.

Mark Noss signed a Traverse City State Bank (TCSB) promissory note on April 19, 2014 assuming the legal responsibility to repay a $925,000 loan restructure of a Line Of Credit loan TCSB originally made in 2011 to Steven Ingersoll’s SSM. 

Between early April 2014 through March 15, 2016, Noss repeatedly, and publicly, made deceptive statements denying any ongoing business or financial relationship with Ingersoll, even claiming during a December 17, 2015 Grand Traverse Academy board meeting that he had “no business relationship with Dr. Ingersoll at the present time”.

However, on December 15, 2015, two days before that meeting, Noss had paid Ingersoll $5,000, and paid him an additional $17,000 on December 29, 2015.

(According to federal court documents released during Steven Ingersoll’s tax fraud trial, Noss/FSM paid Ingersoll’s Smart Schools Management $25,000 during December 2015.) 

Between April 8, 2014 and March 1, 2016, Noss transferred $627,624.14 from FSM’s Traverse City State Bank account to several accounts held by Ingersoll, including Traverse City State Bank and a Chemical Bank branch in Bay City. One payment—$192,401.82 made on April 8, 2014—was later described as a repayment to Ingersoll’s Smart Schools Management for the GTA’s payroll. 

Another payment, $54,358.41, was made on June 1, 2015 from a GTA PNC Bank account to one of Ingersoll’s personal Chemical Bank accounts. 

The amount was purported to be owed to Ingersoll due to fees paid to his privately-run daycare, run on-site at the Traverse City charter school. (There was never an explanation for the nearly 14 month payment delay, post Ingersoll’s March 2014 departure.)

But Independent Bank may want to look into a curious transaction that occured in April 2015 at another school Steven Ingersoll ran (into the ground): the Bay City Academy.

According to federal court documents filed during his 2016 sentencing hearing, Steven Ingersoll claimed he took a $20,971.81 cash distribution from his Smart Schools Management, Inc. 401(k) during April 2015, the same month Brian Lynch's newly-formed Mitten Educational Management was awarded a multi-year management contract for the Bay City Academy. 

Ingersoll had previously taken significant 401(k) distributions during the calendar years 2012 ($217,000) and 2013 ($244,000). 


However, in 2015, with the assistance of one (or both) of the principals of “Mitten Educational Management, LLC” (a Limited Liability Corporation formed on April 10, 2015 by Michael Randel and Noss son-in-law Brian Lynch), Steven Ingersoll received an undisclosed amount of money via a newly-established American Funds 401K account under this name: “MITTEN EDUCATIONAL MANAGEMENT 401K FBO STEVEN INGERSOLL”. 

But here’s the thing: the assets of the Bay City Academy’s Smart Schools Management 401(k) Plan did not legally transfer to the “Mitten Educational Management, Inc. 401(K)” Plan until January 1, 2016. 
So how was Mitten's Brian Lynch (shown at left speaking to a room full of empty chairs at the Bay City Academy) able to transfer money from Smart Schools' plan nearly eight months before the plan's assets were legally transferred to Mitten?

If Lynch didn't somehow finagle the money from Smart Schools' plan before his company legally controlled the assets, where did the money come from, and how much was shoveled surreptitiously to Ingersoll by Lynch?


Where did the money go after the account was closed on April 30, 2015? 

Did trusted insider Luke Noss serve as the third party: a registered financial advisor who executed the transaction on Mitten Educational Management's behalf? 

Who closed the account, how was the money distributed and where did that money go? 

And, finally, did the suspicious timing of this transaction—the Ingersoll/Mitten 401(k) financial activity occurred between its formation on April 10, 2015 and April 30, 2015 although a formal transfer of Smart Schools Management’s 401(k) plan to Mitten Education Management did not occur until January 1, 2016—have any connection to Mitten Educational Management receiving a contract to manage the Bay City Academy, a transaction formally announced by the charter school's board on April 29, 2015?

Independent Bank...are you listening?

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