I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Reformy Maniac Ben Chavis Update

School privatizers like Whitney Tilson absolutely love "reformers" like Ben Chavis (no, not that Ben Chavis, this Ben Chavis). They love the bluster and the bravado. They love the wild profanity and the vague homophobia ("You should be wearing a dress!"). They love the telegenic swag when guys like Chavis start spewing incoherent nonsense about how the biggest problem in American education is teachers unions.

Well, Whitney, you told us "I LIKE this guy!"; what does that say about you?
Some of the central allegations in the district’s notice focus on financial transactions involving Ben Chavis, the founder of two of the AIMS schools and the former director of all three. The notice asserts that Chavis and his wife, Marsha Amador, collected almost $4 million from contracts made between the AIMS schools and Chavis’ businesses, including lease agreements, storage agreements and construction contracts—upgrading restroom facilities in 2006 and 2007—for the schools.

According to the notice, though the AIMS school board approved the contracts, there is no indication that they were aware of the money Chavis and his spouse would make from their businesses, including Lumbee Holdings and American Delivery Systems. Since state laws prohibit public officials, officers and employees from engaging in a contract in which they have a financial interest, Chavis’ membership on the AIMS board and the AIMS contracts that financially benefited him appear to be conflicts of interest, according to the FCMAT audit report.

The report also concluded that school funds had been used for personal reasons by Chavis. The study team requested documentation for credit card charges totaling over $72,602.28. According to the report, among the purchases without proper documentation were charges for almost $6,000 on Amazon, over $750 at Home Depot and almost $300 for San Francisco Giants tickets. [emphasis mine]
I'm sure there's a perfectly logical explanation as to why Ben Chavis bought Giants tickets on the schools' credit card. And why his schools paid his own business to upgrade the johns.

When Chavis took his dog-and-pony show on to MSNBC, Tamaran Hall called him a "genius." I guess that's one way to put it.

Legend has it that when Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks, he said: "Because that's where the money is." Someone ought to ask Ben Chavis why he stared a chain of charter schools. Just make sure the questioner is encased in a suit of armor:
"He pushed his chest into my shoulder and begun to usher me out of the building, shouting profanities and insults in my face. He called me a '(expletive) minority punk" at least five times and shouted, 'I'm going to kick your ass' at least seven times.' 
"He said ... I was a 'worthless piece of (expletive) people have been making excuses for' all of my life," was the account Unity Lewis gave in a complaint letter, echoed by others in his group. 
Chavis acknowledges he swore at Lewis and that he called him a "disgrace" to his race. He did so, he said, because Lewis "acted like a fool," called Chavis a "homey" and initially refused to leave the school grounds. 
 Just lovely.

He sounds like my kind of guy!

1 comment:

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