Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The big White Hat bulging with taxpayers' money

For the past 15 years Akron mega-businessman David Brennan  has been been passing the hat - the  familiar white one big enough to bleed the state education treasury of enormous sums.   It began in 1998 when Brennan, as savvy an entrepreneur as you'll find on Planet Romney - founded White Hat management to establish a series of charter schools in Ohio and elsewhere.

According to Plunderbund, the flow from the state treasury to White Hat's account has reached nearly $1 billion and is continuing with a friend like alleged budget hawk Gov. Kasich and a Republican legislature.  Such success was not based on results and the offhand chance that his presence as a big GOP contributor would be ignored.  And if the pols didn't already know, he told them so. It didn't fail.

The cozy enterprise ran into problems three years ago when the governing boards of 10 charter schools sued White Hat to learn what happened to 96 pct. of the money that the for-profit company received.  And as you might suspect, White Hat stonewalled that since it is a private company its ledgers are not open to public scrutiny.  The suits have passed through court after court, finally landing in the 10th District Court of Appeals in Columbus, which supported the charter boards' claims.  Kasich just went through the same challenge - and lost - to Jobs/Ohio.

But as the Beacon Journal editorially noted, the charter schools' case could  now head to the Ohio Supreme Court, with a 6-1 Republican majority. That, said the BJ, means White Hat "could evade transparency for a long while yet."  Did I tell you that Brennan was a savvy entrepreneur?

For now, may I ask about the costs of the long legal battle which, I'm sure, are  coming from White Hat's taxpayers' gifts?

Did I tell you that Brennan was a savvy entrepreneur? 


Sam Salem said...

Ah Cuzzzz Abe - if only your brilliant blogs appeared on all media. What a better informed nation we would be.

David Hess said...

Since the State of Ohio was one of White Hat's beneficiaries, one might wonder why it's not a party to the governing boards' lawsuit. Isn't it the fiduciary responsibility of elected officials, starting with the governor, to determine whether taxpayers' dollars have been wisely and effectively spent? Especially when the money purportedly was meant to pay for the education of children? If White Hat has nothing to hide, why shouldn't it open its books for an audit? Lord knows that Republicans are hell-bent on privatizing public education, but they also claim to be good stewards of the public treasury, demanding results for the way public money is spent. Frankly, this whole episode prompts one to scratch his/her head. As for any decision by the State Supremes, it should be a no-brainer.