California: Audit Says Charter School Founder Misappropriated Millions of Dollars

California must be so flush with cash that it simply doesn’t care how many millions are lost to charter school scams.

In California, accountability ranges between lax to non-existent, and charter leaders use public money with no oversight. Sometimes they are honest; sometimes they are not. Does it matter? Apparently the public doesn’t mind squandering its tax dollars to help charter owners get rich.

Here is the latest:

“LIVERMORE — An audit released Thursday suggests Livermore’s two charter schools misappropriated public funds, including a tax-except bond totaling $67 million, and mainly pointed the finger at former CEO Bill Batchelor.

“The audit was ordered by the Alameda County Office of Education in November and conducted by the Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team (FCMAT).

“Analysis shows that the Tri-Valley Learning Corporation, which oversees the charter schools: Failed to disclose numerous conflict-of-interest relationships; diverted, commingled and/or misappropriated public funds, including tax-exempt public bonds totaling over $67 million with various private entities; and contributed to an environment of significantly deficient internal controls, according to a county statement.

“The lack of internal controls coupled with financing schemes designed to divert millions of dollars by Batchelor and others through relationships fostered between board members, close associates and other professionals with his nonprofit public and private companies created an environment that made it possible for the essential elements of fraud to occur,” the report states.

“The audit states that internal controls were “so weak” that Batchelor was able to divert $2.7 million of public charter school funds without any supporting documents, covering a span of five years.

“Nathan Ballard, Batchelor’s spokesman, maintained Batchelor’s innocence.

“Mr. Batchelor is innocent of any wrongdoing, and this audit doesn’t change that fact. He is just seeing the audit for the first time, but one thing is clear: Its conclusions are vague and are based a series of inaccurate assumptions,” Ballard said.

“The audit revealed that Batchelor controlled to some degree eight different entities at once during the time that a 2015 bond was issued for TVLC.

“TVLC and California Preparatory Academy went before the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to seek approval for a $30 million municipal bond to finance the purchase of a new high school building at 3090 Independence Drive in May 2015.

“The bond was approved and the Livermore Valley Charter Prep high school and the private school now share the same space.

“At the time of the bond, Batchelor, was the manager of Goldstone United Investments — the seller of the buildings and owner of the land purchased with public bonds. Batchelor was also the owner of California Preparatory Academy and San Francisco Bay Preparatory Academy, which were the co-tenants to the property at 3090 Independence Drive in Livermore.

“FCMAT points out conflicts of interests that Batchelor did not report. The paperworks reveals “a significant lack of disclosure of numerous entities in which Batchelor represented both sides of contracts and lease agreements, which benefited him personally.”

Here is a link to the audit.

from sarah


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