Charter school corruption

October 2, 2013

Options Public Charter School, in Washington’s Hill East area, is the city’s oldest charter school. (Astrid Riecken/ The Washington Post)

The latest blockbuster fraud lawsuit from D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan accuses the leaders of the city’s oldest charter school — including a former senior official for the citywide charter board and a local TV news personality — of hatching a self-dealing arrangement that siphoned at least $3 million in taxpayer funds from the children they were intended to serve. The Washington Post’s Emma Brown lays out the key allegations that the school’s managers created for-profit companies that entered into contracts with Options to deliver services such as busing and management at high prices. The services were largely undocumented, and the managers in question “allegedly received ‘exorbitant’ bonuses shortly before they resigned this summer to run the companies full-time.” Donna Montgomery, a former Options chief executive and president of the companies, denied any wrongdoing, as did J.C. Hayward, the longtime WUSA-TV personality who until recently chaired the Options board. The station said Tuesday that Hayward has been relieved of her duties pending the investigation.

In shutdown news:

Eleanor Holmes Norton begs House Dems to exempt D.C. from shutdown, but few comply (PostHuffPoWAMU-FM)

Shutdown means most of our city’s parks are closed (WAMU-FM)

That goes for many trails, too (GGWPoPvilleWashCycle)

And Ford’s Theatre (AP)

Metro volumes were slightly down Tuesday, heralding problems for the WMATA budget (Post)

So were sales for some local businesses catering to federal workers (WaTimes)

How, exactly, the shutdown will affect the District’s courts (Legal Times)

NCPC meeting on Height Act changes will be postponed (WBJ)

Fun fact: A quarter of D.C. income tax revenue comes from federal employees (WBJ)

In other news:

Howard University President Sidney Ribeau announces sudden retirement after five years in charge (Post)

Ribeau had supporters in the university and atop the board, but university’s challenges were significant (Post)

DCPS settles federal Title IX complaint by pledging to improve recordkeeping, survey girls (Post)

The Washington Post now officially belongs to Jeff Bezos (Post)

Rollout day for D.C. Health Link was relatively smooth (WTTG-TVWBJDCFPI)

D.C. Council takes final vote delaying attorney general election to 2018 (PostLoose LipsWAMU-FM)

In gesture of good feelings, council votes to support shutdown defiance (DofDAPWAMU-FMRoll CallDCistWUSA-TV)

David Grosso: ‘Today was the most frustrating day at the D.C. Council since I was sworn in’ (Tumblr)

The future of transportation is now for D.C.’s millennials (Post)

Jonetta Rose Barras has some suggestions for the CFO nominee (jrbarras.com)

Tom Sherwood will interview Ron Machen later this month (WRC-TV)

D.C. cop under investigation for threatening Facebook posting (WJLA-TV)

Four Monday shootings leave six wounded in Southeast neighborhoods (Post)

MPD gets $1.25 million federal grant to hire beat officers (Crime Stories)

Accountability for adult charter schools, too (GGW)

Council legalizes off-site solar investments (Housing Complex)

Mary Cheh bill would ban licensed therapists from practicing “gay conversion” methods (Hatchet)

Navy awards contract to restore Navy Yard shooting site (AP)

D.C. film incentive program isn’t quite as bad as previously advertised, but is still bad (WBJ)

Georgetown ANC wants Glover Park road diet reversed (Patch)

And GU Hospital to ditch temporary trailers for doctors (Current via Dish)

Historic designation means Southwest residential project will be much smaller (WBJ)

9:30 Club impresario says council recognition wasn’t a “hookup from a friend” (DCist)

Public gets first look at West Heating Plant plans next week (G’town Metropolitan)

Neon artist moves from Shaw to Anacostia (Housing Complex)

Jose Andres will soon be an American citizen (Reliable Source)

Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays.
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Mike DeBonis · October 1, 2013