Thursday, July 21, 2016

TBFURMAN: Who's Running These Schools?

TBFURMAN: Who's Running These Schools?:

Who's Running These Schools?

And here's Part Two of my blockbuster new series: Who Ya Gonna Call?

Yesterday I talked about how the charter school law sets up a situation in Illinois where it is virtually unknowable who is in charge of a charter school, and what set of people the Open Meetings laws and FOIA applies to. And then I pointed out that the Gulenists have a long history of fake boards and shell organizations, and that the result is a perfect fit between public law and an experienced political/religious syndicate.

So, let's start with Chicago Math and Science Academy. And by the way---- let me reiterate: these schools exist in the US primarily as a revenue stream for the Movement; they're not involved in a dark, mysterious proselytizing of Chicago's youth. The American teachers in these schools are completely uninvolved and presumably unaware of or incurious about any of these relationships.

If you were just a random citizen and wanted to attend the meeting of the board of directors of CMSA--- the meeting subject to the Open Meetings laws and FOIA, who would be at that meeting, and where and when would the meeting be?  Here's the website; take a look. Let me know if you find anything.

[Listen, word to the wise here. If you dig around enough, you learn about a lot of really creepy spyware behavior back in the old country, and a little bit of the same here in the States. When I do research on the Gulen universe, I frequently clear my website data. Here are 8 coookies installed just in the last five minutes.]

[Yes, I understand what cookies are, but honestly I don't want these guys tracking me any more than possible. They took down the Turkish military with less technology than browser cookies. If you clicked on the CMSA link above, you've got their cookies. Clear 'em when you're done!]

So, having scanned that website a number of times, I see no schedule of public board meetings, which makes CMSA a little bit different from some of the other schools connected to our friends from the Turkish sect. Screenshot everything because it changes.

CMSA is a bit different from the other linked schools because it's its own nonprofit: it's a freestanding Illinois corporation, and it files its own IRS 990's. As a legal entity, it was created in 2003, and the last publicly available 990 shows revenue of over $7m. [If it weren't exempt from the law, you could trace virtually every payment, like you can will all the public school districts in Illinois, but not the charters.] 

note the misspelling; it's deliberate
Remember, the Movement is all one big thing with lots of little shells, so even though this one charter school is a legal entity, it's better to think about it as being one part of the larger entity. Locally speaking, the Movement can be viewed through the 990's of these organizations: CMSA, Concept Schools, Inc; New Plan Learning, Niagara Foundation, and Turkish American Society, and others; but in the back of your mind remember that it's all one organization. The structure is always in flux; they re-arrange the various sub-shells all the time. For example, look at the corporate history of the thing incorporated as Turkish American Society.

It's called strategic ambiguity. 

Back to CMSA. If you go back through time, you'd find these sets of people listed (below) on the IRS 990's as comprising the "board of directors" of CMSA. You could spend time figuring TBFURMAN: Who's Running These Schools?:

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