The following press release has been distributed to media. Please find copies of the complaint supplement and exhibits of evidence on our Documents page.
AUSTIN, TX – 7 JULY 2016 An investigation has uncovered that Harmony Public Schools and its real estate arm, Charter School Solutions (CSS), are poised to waste upwards of $18 million in taxpayer funds in a large bond issuance for new school properties, as detailed in a new complaint filed by Amsterdam & Partners LLP with the Texas Education Agency (TEA).
Harmony Public Schools, which operates 46 schools in Texas, created CSS to serve as a support organization to Harmony by acquiring land, constructing new school facilities, and then leasing those back to Harmony to support Harmony’s expansion throughout Texas. Though it’s allegedly an external corporation, CSS is run by former Harmony board members, leadership, and general counsel, as well as an individual affiliated with a related Oklahoma charter network currently under investigation for misuse of state funds. Amsterdam & Partners LLP filed a supplemental brief to the TEA on July 6, 2016, detailing the suspect relationship between Harmony and CSS, following Amsterdam’s submission of a larger complaint on Tuesday, May 24, 2016, which alleged systemic issues within the Harmony charter network of employee discrimination in hiring, pay, and promotion; illegal preference for related vendors; immigration fraud; and misuse of state and federal funds.
In order to finance the expansion and development of six Harmony properties, CSS applied for a $44 million bond that will ultimately cost Texas taxpayers over $100 million. According to the bond disclosure, Harmony has agreed to purposefully overpay CSS on the leases for each of the new properties, resulting in $18.4 million in taxpayer funds to CSS over the term of the bond. Harmony is no stranger to securing bond financing; in fact, Harmony has secured over $385 million in its own name. Why Harmony is overpaying its own real estate arm to secure bond financing on its behalf at a higher interest rate, without the guarantee of the Texas Permanent School Fund, and with an $18 million price tag above and beyond the cost of the buildings, land, bond debt, and interest is unclear, and TEA has been requested to investigate for waste.
“At a time of when the people of Texas want more money invested in public education, it’s troubling to learn that $18 million is being misappropriated by Harmony and Charter School Solutions,” said Robert Amsterdam, founding partner of Amsterdam & Partners LLP. “We urge the TEA to conduct a comprehensive investigation of Harmony’s illegal activities.”
Harmony Public Schools, Charter School Solutions and many of its directors, employees, and related vendors are connected to the organization of Fethullah Gülen, a powerful cleric residing in Pennsylvania who is wanted by law enforcement agencies in Turkey. Gülen operates more than 150 schools in the United States that have been the subject of numerous FBI investigations.
For more information, including a copy of the complaint and supplement submitted to the TEA against Harmony Public Schools, please visit www.guleninvestigation.com.
Amsterdam & Partners LLP acts on behalf of the Republic of Turkey to conduct an ongoing global investigation into the illegal activities of the Gülen Organization.
SOURCE Amsterdam & Partners LLP