Widgets Magazine
Page 3 of 3 FirstFirst 123
Results 51 to 75 of 75

Thread: Epic Charter Schools

  1. #51

    Default Re: Epic Charter Schools

    Oklahoma Watch has a detailed summary of the charges:

    State Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd, whose office helped with the criminal investigation after several audits, said more than $55 million in public funds could have gone to the founders. The exact amount won’t be known until the Internal Revenue Service completes its own investigation.
    https://oklahomawatch.org/2022/06/23...rges%ef%bf%bc/

  2. #52

    Default Re: Epic Charter Schools

    I donated to Frontier, NonDoc and Oklahoma Watch this year. We need these teams to keep an eye on our government.

  3. #53

    Default Re: Epic Charter Schools

    BTW, the current charges are at the state level.

    I know the FBI has been investigating (I spoke to an agent about this back in 2018) as there are issues with the school they operated in California; when money crosses state lines, that is the purview of the Feds. And as reported, the IRS is also conducting an investigation.

    There seems to be a very high probability of federal charges being filed as well.


    To put this in perspective, the movie Bad Education with Hugh Jackman was based on what was then the largest embezzlement scheme in the history of public schools; $10 million was taken from a New York district. One of the main culprits was sentenced to 4 to 12 years; the other (who fully cooperated) 3 to 9 years.

    The number here is at least $22 million.

  4. #54

    Default Re: Epic Charter Schools

    I know that this story has been developing for years and years. Does anyone remember what initiated an investigation into Epic or how any of this story first broke? It's been so long that I honestly can't even remember.

  5. #55

    Default Re: Epic Charter Schools

    They were founded in 2011 and by 2013, then-governor Fallin asked the OSBI to investigate their enrollment practices.

    Epic has been under scrutiny for almost a decade.

  6. #56

    Default Re: Epic Charter Schools

    And in the past, any time they were getting close to being in trouble, they'd dump a million bucks on a political campaign, or uncover dirt on the politicians investigating them and the problem would go away. There has recently been two PACs spending collectively around $1MM to defeat Cyndi Bird in her primary.

    There was a special prosecutor appointed to investigate. Both she and the then Attorney General Mike Hunter resigned once it came out that they were having an affiar.

    Former State Senator Ron Sharp was critical of Epic and then someone dumped big money into PACs and Shane Jett, a worthless Epic yes man won the primary.

    They've had multiple State School Board members replaced with folks who wouldn't ask too many questions. The Governor's office has done a pretty decent job thwarting any sort of dissent.

    It is shameful that this is being prosecuted by the Oklahoma County DA and not by the AG's office. I have a sneaking suspicion that Kevin Calvey will win the DA's office and make this thing go away.

  7. #57

    Default Re: Epic Charter Schools

    ^^ This really concerns me. Calvey is vindictive, which is not good to have in a DA. Of the two opponents on the Dem side, who has the best chance to defeat Calvey, Behenna or Myles?

  8. #58

    Default Re: Epic Charter Schools

    Calvey has said that he will recuse himself from the case if elected This is more political hack work from the DA's office filing these charges the week of the election and then trying to tie Calvey to it so his Assistant DA Geiger would look better. Similar to Hofmeister several years ago and the charges were dismissed 9 months later

  9. #59

    Default Re: Epic Charter Schools

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeepnokc View Post
    Calvey has said that he will recuse himself from the case if elected This is more political hack work from the DA's office filing these charges the week of the election and then trying to tie Calvey to it so his Assistant DA Geiger would look better. Similar to Hofmeister several years ago and the charges were dismissed 9 months later
    If you think those charges were dismissed because they weren't true, I highly doubt it. The Epic founders, according to the Tulsa World had such sway over state government that before the legislature would even consider any charter school legislation, it had to be personally approved by Ben Harris, co-founder of Epic.

    Was there maybe some political bonus points to be made? I don't dispute it. Since Calvey has been so supportive of Epic, he should be tarnished.

    And he hasn't said he'd recuse. He said he'd transfer the case to the Attorney General. You know.. the same Attorney General who dropped it just as soon as he was appointed after it was [suspiciously] conveniently discovered that the previous AG, Mike Hunter and the special prosecutor in charge of prosecuting Epic were having an affair. He'd just dismiss it again because he appears to be bought and paid for by Chaney and Harris, so him saying he'd transfer it is the same as saying he'd shut it down. He'd just have his cohort at the AG's office do it for him (again).

    Please give your vote to literally anyone other than Calvey. The guy has been a grandstanding clown his entire time in office. He has never tried a criminal case in Oklahoma. He needs to go back to private practice so he can develop those skills before running for the big job.

    I would support literally anyone in that race, Republican or Democrat other than Calvey.

    And I also really like Behenna and Miles. Miles is married to a lawschool classmate of mine and is just a really decent human being. Behenna's son Michael played on my brother's soccer team. You may recall he was the subject of a UCMJ case where he was convicted of murdering a POW. You may recall the just astounding Brady violation of the Army not informing defense counsel that they had retained and fired a ballistics expert who did the research and backed up the Michael's theory of the case. Trump later pardoned Michael. Behenna was known as a very competent Assistant US Attorney here in the Western District of Oklahoma.

  10. Default Re: Epic Charter Schools

    https://tulsaworld.com/news/local/la...987726f52.html

    Tulsa World doing some good investigative reporting.

  11. #61

    Default Re: Epic Charter Schools

    Quote Originally Posted by catcherinthewry View Post
    https://tulsaworld.com/news/local/la...987726f52.html

    Tulsa World doing some good investigative reporting.
    It's a shame that Tulsa World wins the SPJ award for Oklahoma literally every year. The Oklahoman only mentions the categories that it wins, but never that Tulsa World wins the big prize year after year. Pretty embarrassing.

  12. #62

    Default Re: Epic Charter Schools

    Great job by the Tulsa World.

    Meanwhile at the Oklahoman... They are taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from EPIC for huge ads. They did the same thing with Chesapeake and it took things getting so bad that finally, national press started covering their craziness and only then did shareholders rise up and save what was left of that mess.


    I've said it many times: OKC is a great place to run a scam.

  13. #63
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    14,236
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Epic Charter Schools

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    Great job by the Tulsa World.

    Meanwhile at the Oklahoman... They are taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from EPIC for huge ads. They did the same thing with Chesapeake and it took things getting so bad that finally, national press started covering their craziness and only then did shareholders rise up and save what was left of that mess.


    I've said it many times: OKC is a great place to run a scam.
    Hopefully, voters will vote out all state legislators and other politicians who have voted to give their approval to the Epic scam. It was good to see that Byrd win overwhelmingly. But Walters as state superintendent still needs to go.

  14. #64

    Default Re: Epic Charter Schools

    This whole mess goes to show how a big pot of money can buy influence in politics and the media, at least in Oklahoma.

    Worse yet, you can steal money from taxpayers and/or investors and then use those same funds to pay powerful protectors in government and local media. In other words, the stolen money of victims is directly used to prevent them from knowing and/or intervening in the on-going and often escalating theft.

    TEEMCO did this as did Aaron Johnson at Farmer's Bank, Relax Park, Chesapeake as well as many others.


    I've been preaching about this for years. People are finally starting to understand the consequences of unethical, corrupt local media. These scammers pay local PR firms to manipulate the Oklahoman and others, who serve as useful idiots because they just publish what they are fed without any real fact-checking or research, thereby becoming complicit in the deception.

    And it has to be said: All these revenue-driven "best of" lists are huge conflicts of interest when it comes to objective reporting. I know this from my time at the Gazette and from watching a constant stream of awards flowing to companies and people that turn out to be doing terrible things. I put a stop to the 40 under 40 award -- we didn't know these people (other than a form they fill out) and shouldn't be endorsing them; for all I knew, they'd use that credibility to sucker others.

    And then various organizations turn around and give awards to 'reporters' and publications. Think about how messed up that is: "We are going to give you an award for providing positive coverage to us." You never see investigative reporters being rewarded by the companies and schemes they expose.

    One of the things I never shared in my coverage of TEEMCO: They invented and then paid for the Oil & Gas Awards and then used those awards as a shield of credibility to continue ridiculous scams. At the same time, the Journal Record gave them a Beacon Award for community service and never even bothered to do the most basic research, which would have revealed the honored non-profit didn't even exist! And in fact, their crooked CEO embezzled all the donations.


    People like to think that we have all smartened up since the Penn Square Bank debacle but in my direct observation, things haven't changed much at all.

    Ask yourself a simple question: If really bad things were happening in OKC, how would we know?

    The only way is through watchdog investigative journalism. And the existing legacy media companies have never really done it (even back when they were flush with cash with huge newsrooms) and far worse, now attempt to squash anybody who actually does.

  15. #65

    Default Re: Epic Charter Schools

    Quote Originally Posted by Bunty View Post
    Hopefully, voters will vote out all state legislators and other politicians who have voted to give their approval to the Epic scam. ...
    Not likely. Hofmeister apparently accepted donations totaling $52,000 from Epic between 2014-2020, FYI.

  16. #66

    Default Re: Epic Charter Schools

    Quote Originally Posted by TheTravellers View Post
    Not likely. Hofmeister apparently accepted donations totaling $52,000 from Epic between 2014-2020, FYI.
    Directly from that TW article:

    State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, who switched from Republican to Democrat to run for governor, was a top recipient at $52,138.

    Hofmeister said Friday she set in motion steps with the Ethics Commission to legally refund back to public schools any campaign donations that may have come from public funds via Epic’s founders.

  17. #67
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    4,893
    Blog Entries
    7

    Default Re: Epic Charter Schools

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    Directly from that TW article:
    She's been after Epic for a long time and She's been no fan of Stitt. Jenks vs Jenks in the governors race.

  18. #68

    Default Re: Epic Charter Schools

    Gov. Kevin Stitt was a recipient of $10,800 in campaign donations. His campaign manager, Donelle Harder, said Friday he will donate that amount to Crossover Academy, a private Christian school.

    This needs to be refunded back to public schools any campaign donations that may have come from the public: funds via Epic's founders.

    Joy Hofmeister said Friday she set in motion steps with the Ethics Commission to legally refund back to public schools any campaign donations that may have come from public funds via Epicís founders.

    This is a big mess. Thank you, Tulsa World...

  19. #69

    Default Re: Epic Charter Schools

    Quote Originally Posted by Laramie View Post
    Gov. Kevin Stitt was a recipient of $10,800 in campaign donations. His campaign manager, Donelle Harder, said Friday he will donate that amount to Crossover Academy, a private Christian school.

    This needs to be refunded back to public schools any campaign donations that may have come from the public: funds via Epic's founders.

    Joy Hofmeister said Friday she set in motion steps with the Ethics Commission to legally refund back to public schools any campaign donations that may have come from public funds via Epic’s founders.

    This is a big mess. Thank you, Tulsa World...
    Pretty blatant corruption, taxpayer money turned into private religious school funds. Stitt can't help but step in it, but that's what you get when you make an unethical businessman governor.

  20. Default Re: Epic Charter Schools

    Quote Originally Posted by Laramie View Post
    Gov. Kevin Stitt was a recipient of $10,800 in campaign donations. His campaign manager, Donelle Harder, said Friday he will donate that amount to Crossover Academy, a private Christian school.

    This needs to be refunded back to public schools any campaign donations that may have come from the public: funds via Epic's founders.

    Joy Hofmeister said Friday she set in motion steps with the Ethics Commission to legally refund back to public schools any campaign donations that may have come from public funds via Epic’s founders.

    This is a big mess. Thank you, Tulsa World...
    Why would Stitt donate it to public schools? Weakening public schools and promoting religious schools may be his no. 1 priority.

  21. #71

    Default Re: Epic Charter Schools

    Quote Originally Posted by David View Post
    Pretty blatant corruption, taxpayer money turned into private religious school funds....
    Not to get too political, but didn't SCOTUS say that was OK a little while ago (not in their most recent set of horrible rulings, but previously)?

  22. #72

    Default Re: Epic Charter Schools

    Quote Originally Posted by TheTravellers View Post
    Not to get too political, but didn't SCOTUS say that was OK a little while ago (not in their most recent set of horrible rulings, but previously)?
    Not exactly. It was more nuanced than that and involved a situation where a comparable public school wasn't in the area in question. I'm sure many will try to extrapolate that from it, however.

  23. #73

    Default Re: Epic Charter Schools

    Quote Originally Posted by unfundedrick View Post
    Not exactly. It was more nuanced than that and involved a situation where a comparable public school wasn't in the area in question. I'm sure many will try to extrapolate that from it, however.
    Actually, I just looked it up and not much nuance there. Yes, it was about an area lacking in public schools, but it is pretty much 100% about being able to use taxpayer money for religious schools. Here's just one of a huge number of articles that have the same headline:

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-u...-idUSKBN2412FX

  24. #74

    Default Re: Epic Charter Schools

    ^^ I could be wrong but I believe that SCOTUS ruling doesn't affect Oklahoma because the Oklahoma Constitution specifically prohibits the appropriation of public money or property for use by private/religious schools. That was not the case for Maine.

  25. #75

    Default Re: Epic Charter Schools

    Quote Originally Posted by GoGators View Post
    ^^ I could be wrong but I believe that SCOTUS ruling doesn't affect Oklahoma because the Oklahoma Constitution specifically prohibits the appropriation of public money or property for use by private/religious schools. That was not the case for Maine.
    I believe thats correct. And its also why school voucher proponents put a state question on the ballot a few years ago to remove this part of the state constitution, the so called Blaine Amendment. Voters pretty soundly rejected it.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 2 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 2 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Epic Paintball
    By Plutonic Panda in forum Retail & Services
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 09-09-2014, 08:10 PM
  2. Charter Schools ?
    By AStewart2 in forum Current Events & Open Topic
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 09-07-2011, 03:28 PM
  3. Epic Charter School, a new public school option?
    By tnajk in forum Current Events & Open Topic
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 06-20-2010, 01:31 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO