A recent article in The Wall Street Journal looks at the controversy surrounding Fethullah Gülen’s charter schools in the US, including Magnolia Public Schools in California. Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Partners LLP discussed the processes through which Magnolia and over 100 other schools throughout the country misappropriate US taxpayer funds for the benefit of Gülen’s transnational movement.
“This is truly a global political and criminal movement,” said Mr. Amsterdam. “In the U.S., they’re teaching 60,000 students. I don’t know how they have time to teach when they spend so much time gaming the system.”
Mr. Amsterdam is aiming to tie the schools on his list to Mr. Gulen and expose what he said is a “money laundering” scheme. Some schools, he said, illegally use public funding to pay for immigration lawyers to win visas for teachers and administrators from Turkey. The schools then expect these Turkish employees to donate to the Gulenist movement, he said, and pressure them to donate to American politicians who advocate for Mr. Gulen.
In a February complaint to the California Department of Education, Mr. Amsterdam’s firm wrote that “California should not ignore the documented evidence that Magnolia has a long history of ambiguous financial practices, numerous business dealings posing conflicts of interest, all of the markers commonly associated with Gülen Organization charter networks under investigation.”