Miss Fortune once again provides readers with an exhaustive exposé of cover ups, shenanigans and denial going on with for-profit charter school Grand Traverse Academy and their former management company, Dr. Steve Ingersoll’s Smart Schools LLC.
What the documents obtained through an FOIA request to Lake Superior State University, GTA’s for-profit charter school authorizer, shows the GTA board was aware that Steve Ingersoll took the taxpayer’s money issued to the school to educate children as a personal loan to himself. How much money did the board know Steve Ingersoll loaned to himself? According to a tersely worded letter from GTA’s lawyer to Steve Ingersoll in 2013, the total amount was $3.5 million dollars.
In July of 2014, GTA’s board president Dr. Brad Habermehl (Another optometrist who also peddles vision therapy with claims it cures ADHD and Autism), read a statement into the board’s meeting minutes stating essentially, “debt, what debt? We don’t know about any debt.” The statement was made three months after Ingersoll was indicted by the federal government for felony fraud. Why did the board make this public statement? Essentially, they knew Ingersoll faced 30 years for depositing a large portion of a $2 million dollar building loan into his personal bank account in an attempt to pay back the money he owed GTA.
The $1.6 million “non-spendable asset” mentioned in the statement is in fact what was left of the $3.5 million Ingersoll still owed the for-profit charter school. Publicly, they decided to write it off until after Ingersoll’s trial. In reality, they admitted they were idiots to make this deal with Ingersoll’s lawyer in the first place aaaaaand, it’s gone.
So in summary, Ingersoll fleeced millions of Michigan tax dollars from GTA. GTA tried to get their money back, but realized Ingersoll was in trouble with the feds and backed off, deciding to cover up write off the debt owed until after the trial. The word that comes to mind here is accessory.
And even more importantly, these documents were obtained through Miss Fortune’s FOIA request to LSSU. So they also must have known what Ingersoll and GTA’s board were doing. How long have they known and what do they plan to do about it, if anything?
This brings up even more important questions: Is the Michigan Department of Education aware of what’s happening, and what do they intend to do about it?
These people are throwing your tax dollars to the wind trying to make it disappear. This is money that the state took from you to educate your children. Don’t you want some answers too?