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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

California Charter founder indicted; Ohio officials confused: What's an indictment?

Posted By on Wed, Sep 5, 2007 at 3:00 PM

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The indictment of a California charter-school mogul is just the inspiration Attorney General Marc Dann (above) needs. Some pansy West Coast prosecutors can't be tougher than you, can they Mr. Rust Belt?
Here in Ohio, David Brennan and his White Hat Management charter schools keep getting rich no matter how badly their students fail [“Education At Its Worst,” August 29]. But in California, public officials seem to have a keener sense of justice. Or maybe it's fewer campaign bribes. Either way, C. Steven Cox, founder of one of California’s largest charter school networks, was indicted yesterday for stealing millions of dollars in public school funds. According to the Associated Press, prosecutors started sniffing around after an audit found that Cox was using California Charter Academy money to lavish his friends and family with generous salaries, contracts, and other perks. He’s now accused of transferring $5.5 million for the charter school’s coffers to his for-profit company, Educational Administrative Services Corp. Sound familiar? In 2005, the privately owned White Hat received $109 million from the state of Ohio. But no one outside the company knows where most of it went. Former Attorney General Jim Petro, a White Hat campaign-cash beneficiary, never figured it out. Auditor Betty Montgomery never did either, perhaps because she sleeps in sheets sewn from White Hat campaign checks. It's not exactly beach reading, but would it be too much to ask that Attorney General Marc Dann at least peruse that California indictment for some ideas? Or (blatant taunting in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...) is Dann not as tough as he wants us to believe? -- Lisa Rab

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