I wrote back in November how Republicans Turn Charter School Officials Into the New Robber Barons. We’ve just seen a new example of this out of Oregon, where the Oregonian is reporting Oregon charter school founders accused in $20 million racketeering lawsuit. As I wrote on that earlier occasion, Privatization is the new Gold Rush. There is money to be made in them there hills. And charter schools are the Republican hammer to be used to prise it out of our hands. And what money!
According to the Oregonian, “Tim King and Norm Donohoe, who ran a chain of taxpayer-funded charter schools across small-town Oregon from their headquarters in Clackamas, scammed the state out of $17 million and must repay that plus $2.7 million more, the state said in a court filing this week.”
It turns out that while unrepentant greed and avarice are Republican virtues in 2012, they are still illegal:
The legal claim, brought Thursday by the Oregon Department of Justice in Marion County Circuit Court, accuses the pair of racketeering, money laundering and other fraud from 2007 to 2010.
King and Donohoe “were the director and president, respectively,” the Oregonian relates, of EdChoices, an inappropriately named nonprofit, because apparently the choices were not so much about education as graft. Like crooked paymasters throughout time, or Indian agents in the Old West, they even lied about how many kids they had in their schools (the state paid them $6,000 for each student each year). The state’s money – and therefore the taxpayers’ – was apparently, in their own minds at least, theirs to do with what they pleased.
And it pleased them very much to make themselves rich as Croesus.
The lack of oversight – you know, that evil regulation – allowed the charter schools to say “trust me” when it came to such things as enrollment.
No, Virginia, markets – and Republican officials – do not regulate themselves, unless by regulation you mean stuff their pockets with gold that does not belong to them.
Anyone thinking the Republicans are in this for anyone but themselves needs to consider the facts in this case and in others. The Oregonian tells us that “state regulators in the education and justice departments to begin asking questions in spring 2010. He quickly stepped down. Donohoe said Friday that he doesn’t know how to reach him.”
Please don’t tell me you’re surprised, Oregon.
The result is wealth for Republicans and, as Big Bang Theory describes it, the students and parents were “attached to another object by an inclined plane, wrapped helically around an axis,” in other words, screwed:
Some of the schools abruptly closed during the school year, leaving students and teachers in a lurch. Others have since stopped operating. Still others operate under new auspices.
Any reasonable degree of oversight or vetting should have prevented the problem from arising. King had revealed his intentions before in the running of “three North Clackamas School District charter schools: New Urban High, Clackamas Middle College and Clackamas Web Academy” where “The district discovered a trail of financial problems, including hundreds of thousands of dollars in questioned expenditures, only after his departure.”
Let states and students beware Republicans bearing solutions. America, like Troy, is being sacked. The Oregonian tells us that the state wants its money back but that’s what happens when Republicans want their country back. The most amusing anecdote to arise from this situation is the revelation that “the schools did legitimately educate some students.”
Still the two Republican grifters owe $17 million big ones. The state also wants $2.7 million in damages “breach of contract plus attorney fees and the costs of investigation and litigation.”
Get used to this scenario, America. If the Republicans have their way, your tax dollars will not go to those in need (including you and your children) but to Republicans. Republican America is a non-starter, and is, in fact, a contradiction in terms, a violation of every reasonable expectation you might have of what America is supposed to be about as a land of opportunity and freedom.
The Republicans are carpet-baggers. Republican governance looks like nothing more than manipulating events so as to divert wealth from the American people into the bank accounts of corporations, the wealthy, religious groups, and greedy speculators. Actually furthering the cause of America, or Americans, seems to be the furthest thing from their minds. The Republican solution to “tax and spend” Democrats is apparently “tax and steal” Republicans.
Photo from The Oregonian