Writing in Forbes, Robert Amsterdam argues that we can understand much about the modus operandi of the Gulen organization by looking at the deceptive and fraudulent practices used at his U.S. schools, where millions of taxpayer dollars are allegedly diverted and misappropriated:
Working through these seemingly-impenetrable layers of non-accountability, Gülen’s followers have established some 55,000 businesses worldwide and made themselves the largest charter school operator in the United States, receiving tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds every year, which in many cases are then redirected between and amongst themselves and to selected contractors.
One example can be found at California’s Magnolia Public Schools, which was caught handing out a $700,000 annual contract to a Gülen-affiliated contractor sharing its own office space, founded by Magnolia’s then CEO. The CEO then left Magnolia that same year to resume leadership of the contractor he founded, benefiting extensively from his earlier decision to sign that contract. Furthermore, audits conducted by one of Magnolia’s sponsors, LAUSD, questioned whether the contractor was actually providing any services to Magnolia. These kinds of self-dealing arrangements that benefit high-level Gülen members have been documented in every Gülen charter network we’ve investigated so far.
In Oklahoma, a state audit found that Dove Science Academy was overpaying its Gülen landlord by more than $3.1 million. Even more shocking, the auditors found that the Dove Science governing board was one and the same as the landlord’s governing board. With the same group of Turkish Gülenists on both sides of the transaction, Oklahoma’s public funds were siphoned out of the charter schools they were intended to support and funneled through the landlord entity for other purposes. One such purpose included an inexplicable $175,000 payment to the Harmony Public Schools charter network in Texas to support a competition that no Dove students attended or participated in.
These illegal tributes are common from smaller Gülen charter networks to Harmony Public Schools, Gülen’s largest operation with 46 schools currently open and another fifteen slated to open over the next two years. They come in the form of payments for licensing software and curriculum Harmony is supposed to provide for free per the terms of its Race to the Top funding and consulting fees for Harmony’s fee-based mentorship. When Gülenists from these smaller networks level up within the Gülen organization, they’re often transferred to Harmony as a promotion, which is odd considering Harmony is supposed to be mentoring these networks, not taking their employees.
Read the full opinion column by Robert Amsterdam in Forbes.