Last summer while the City of Flint suffered with lead poisoning and the Michigan media spent months laughing at tea party legislators Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat instead (thanks for reminding us, ABC), local media published stories about the foul water, people dying, and children getting sick. The state media paid no attention, and the state government referred to the crisis in Flint as “apparently this is going to be a thing now” in their glib emails to each other. Finally, Rachel Maddow started giving Flint air time in November, and suddenly, Rick Snyder’s appointed EM toady poisoning an entire city with lead caused outrage and international notoriety. The damage is done, and while children are tested for lead and the people of the state of Michigan demand The Nerd’s head on a platter, there are other crises in the state not getting the attention they deserve.
Miss Fortune ceased publishing her blog, Glistening Quivering Underbelly, on January 20, 2016. The blog went to “invite only” on January 14. The only serious investigative source of information on the Steve Ingersoll case for years, she worked tirelessly to expose the criminal activity and corruption going on at Grand Traverse Academy and Bay City Academy through Smart Schools Inc. When Federal indictment papers were finally served, the Bay City Times blandly reported about it. Up North Progressive published a story about Steve Ingersoll afterward, and that’s how Miss Fortune found me.
Miss Fortune broke the news about the indictment on her blog. In fact, she broke 99% of the news about Steve Ingersoll’s shenanigans in Michigan, California, Idaho, and anywhere he could convince people he had the cure for just about every learning disability that exists, except for physical blindness. This blog focused on Integrated Visual Learning, interviewing former teachers and parents when they were willing to come forward, and what passed for curriculum at Ingersoll’s various for-profit charter schools.
Glistening Quivering Underbelly exposed much more, including emails, documents, financial records, and threats from the litigants of the felony fraud case. She received threatening notes, and had the son of one of the convicted felons make threats to her face outside the courthouse in Bay City after another day of the ongoing sentencing hearing that will reconvene on January 26. None of this stopped her, however, she pushed on, finally uncovering the shocking secret business partnership between Grand Traverse Academy Board President Brad Habermehl, Former Lake Superior Charter School Director Bruce Harger and Steve Ingersoll – after Ingersoll was convicted.
When asked why she stopped publishing her blog and set it to private, Miss Fortune stated she had gone as far as she could go with it. She’s doing all of the work and not getting paid. Meanwhile, the Traverse City Record-Eagle, Bay City Times, or any other state newspaper refuses to publish this information. It’s frustrating when blatant disregard for the law and taxpayers of the state of Michigan can go on and the press doesn’t feel it’s necessary to inform the public that a charter school manager defrauded a bank to cover up the millions they stole from a local charter school. Of course, when a TCAPS employee was caught nicking the petty cash to buy herself manicures and concert tickets, the Record-Eagle was all over that story. They published updates on the front page daily. The writer, Sara Elms, received several bylines for the story about the former TCAPS employee stealing $20,000 over a period of 5 years.
If Sara Elms can get that excited about a school being robbed for $20k, why isn’t she frothing at the mouth to write every day about Steve Ingersoll embezzling $3.5 million from GTA? He’s already convicted and awaiting sentencing … where’s the story, Sara? Maybe if we emailed her, she could explain why. In fact, while we’re at it, email the editor of the Record-Eagle, Nathan Payne and ask him why he feels the people of Traverse City don’t deserve to know the truth about Steve Ingersoll. Another person to try and contact is Michelle Merlin, another reporter at the Record-Eagle.
Perhaps the editor over at the Bay City Times, Rob Clark, should also answer to why his paper hasn’t spent more time covering the sentencing hearing that’s happening in his city, leaving it to a local, unpaid citizen journalist to do all the work and get the death threats?
Certainly the Michigan Department of Education must be on top of this. Millions of taxpayers’ dollars embezzled, a bank defrauded. Why aren’t they investigating these charter schools more closely, or investigating the authorizers who see no conflict of interest in entering into business deals with convicted felons when they still worked for the university that authorized the school being embezzled from? Does our Superintendent of Instruction, Brian J. Whiston see no problem with this? Give him a call and ask. His number is 517-373-3324.
Thank you, Miss Fortune, for all of your hard work. Good luck with your future endeavors.