How did the Oakland Unified School District twist the facts about American Indian Model?
I. Claim by OUSD Staff: The founder of AIM Schools signed checks to his own company.
Fact: a) The OUSD staff in their presentation to the Alameda County Board of Education and the public was misleading. The second signature on the checks appeared to be removed to give the impression the founder was the sole signer of checks to himself.
Fact: b) All checks required two signatures; the Director’s plus the AIM Schools Secretary, Treasurer or President. Ms. Sylvia Thomas, AIM Schools board secretary and founder were both signers on AIM Schools’ checks in accordance with school policy that OUSD staff presented to the Alameda County Board of Education and the public. (See Exhibit 1 AIM Checks confirming two signatures)
II. Claim by OUSD Staff: AIM Schools Board allowed conflict of interest violations through contracts with founder and or spouse.
Fact: a) The founder and spouse filed statements of Economic Interest (form 700) in compliance with the California law. AIM Schools Board approved all rental and construction agreements.
Fact: b) In 2005 and 2006 AIM Schools submitted petitions for two new charter schools. This required more space for students and staff. AIM Schools Board received competitive construction bids from Troy Bally for $483,100 and M TC construction for $293,500 that totaled $776,600 for two projects versus $310,500 bid of the founder. AIMS Schools secured competitive bids for all construction. (See Exhibit 2 Construction Bids)
Fact: c) The founder donated the funds that paid for this construction project. (See Exhibit 3 Checks and supporting documentation of founder’s donations to AIM Schools).
Fact: d) The founder disclosed to the AIM School Board of director’s his financial interest in the construction and property he leased to the school.
Fact: e) The Board determined that the founder’s bid was more than 50% less than MTC Construction and Troy Balley’s Construction.
Fact: f) The AIM Schools Board was unable to locate a facility that could accommodate the student enrollment increase, appropriate location of school, budget requirements, etc. The founder only charged $1.09 per square foot while the market rate was close to $2.00 per square foot. Bottom line, no one in Oakland had enough space to accommodate AIM Schools enrollment. (Exhibit 4 Copies of Oakland Rental Market rates)
Fact: g) Mr. White, of OUSD Assistant Superintendent of Facility stated there are no OUSD facilities available to meet the needs of AIM Schools
Fact: h) The AIM School Board approved all lease and construction transactions. The Founder was not a member of the Board at any time these transactions were approved.
Fact: i) California Non-Profit Law regarding self-dealing Transactions, Reference page. 27, “(i) full disclosure to the board of the director’s financial interest, (ii) a determination in good faith by the board that the corporation could not obtain a more advantageous arrangement elsewhere, (iii) that the corporation enters into the transaction for its own benefit, (iv) that the transaction is fair and reasonable to the corporation and (v) that the transaction is approved in good faith by a majority vote of directors who have no financial interest in the transaction.” [Cal. Corp[/ Code 5233(a)].
Fact: j) The founder did not charge AIM Schools a fee to coordinate AIPCS or AIPCS II After School Education and Safety Program (ASES). During the founder’s retirement in 2010-11, he contracted with East Oakland Leadership Academy and COVA to run their ASES program. There is no documentation or checks to support OUSD’s false claim that either AIPCS or AIPCS II ever paid Dr. Chavis to contract with their AESES program.
III. Claim by OUSD Staff: AIM Schools Board allowed fiscal mismanagement and failure to follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP); including credit card misuse and $30,000 lost in an escrow deposit.
Fact: a) AIM Schools has over a decade of clean independent audits by certified public accountants (CPA) that were approved by the OUSD, which noted “American Indian Public Charter Schools as of June 30, 2012 is in confirming with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America” (Exhibit 5, Certified Public Accountant documenting AIM Schools followed generally Auditing Standards). (Exhibit 6, Mr. John Chiang, California State Controller’s Office Letters confirming AIMS in compliance with GAAP).
Fact: b) Mr. John Chiang, California State Controller reported in May, 2013 OUSD was non-compliant for the 2010-2011 Financial and Compliance Audit. The 2011-12 audit results are still unknown at this time. In the 296 page report, OUSD was cited for non-compliance instances some affecting hundreds of millions of dollars in funding.
Fact: c) AIM Schools did not lose $30,000 in escrow deposit in June 30, 2009. On July 1, 2009 Lumbee Holdings signed an agreement with Family Bridges to lease them space for $3,800 per month. The funds were given to AIM Schools to compensate for the escrow deposit (Exhibit 7 Contract with Lumbee Holdings LLC, and Family Bridges paying AIM Schools for $30,000 lost in escrow and copies of checks).
Fact: d) The founder never used or had an AIM Schools credit card. AIM Schools’ staff used the founder’s credit card on occasion to purchase textbooks and other school materials when the school’s credit card reached a limit. The founders personal charges highlighted in the FCMAT report were from his personal credit card and not AIM Schools credit card. In fact, the founder paid several of AIM School’s bills. He was owed money from the school when he retired in June 30, 2010.
Fact: e) Ms. Sophat May was hired as Director of AIM Schools on July 1, 2010. She misused the school’s credit card for personal trips and expenses. As a result of her actions she was demoted to Site Administrator and resigned August 2011.
IV. Claim by OUSD Staff: AIM Schools’ response did not unconditionally acknowledge wrongdoing, but attempted to justify it.
Fact: The Alameda County District Attorney and a jury will determine if the founder is guilty or innocent. The Alameda County District Attorney’s office has stated they are not pursuing any charges against the founder at this time.