Options Public Charter School officials diverted millions, lawsuit alleges

Oct 3, 2013 by

Options Public Charter School was founded to improve the fortunes of the District’s most troubled teens and students with disabilities, and the District government sent millions of taxpayer dollars to the school each year for their education and care.

D.C. officials alleged in a lawsuit Tuesday that three former managers at the Northeast Washington school diverted at least $3 million of that money to enrich themselves, engaging in a “pattern of self-dealing” that was part of an elaborate contracting scam. The civil case alleges that the managers created two for-profit companies to provide services to Options at high prices, sometimes with the help of a senior official at the D.C. Public Charter School Board.

Alumni, faculty and others line up behind the interim president after the sudden retirement of Sidney Ribeau.

Those companies won lucrative contracts for bus transportation and school management and were paid for services that went undocumented or that were performed by school employees, according to the complaint and supporting documents. The Options managers allegedly received “exorbitant” bonuses shortly before they resigned this summer to run the companies full-time.

The managers were allegedly aided by the chairwoman of the school’s board of trustees at the time — WUSA (Channel 9) vice president and news personality J.C. Hayward — and the senior charter school official, who was responsible for charter-school financial oversight across the city. Documents filed with the court papers show that the signature of Hayward, who allegedly helped incorporate one of the companies, appears to be on some of the expensive contracts. The three ex-managers, their companies, Hayward and the charter-school board official were all named as defendants in the lawsuit.

via Options Public Charter School officials diverted millions, lawsuit alleges – The Washington Post.

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