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Tue Jan 15, 2013, 11:55 PM

NY charter school founder cheated state out of $70,000. Failed to pay taxes 2005-2010

He made $1.4 million dollars, much of which was public taxpayer money. He did not pay taxes he owed.

A sticky-fingered founder of three Brooklyn charter schools pleaded guilty Friday to cheating the state out of taxes for six years, while pulling in a half-million dollar salary.

Eddie Calderon-Melendez admitted to bringing in some $1.4 million in compensation, but skipping on filing tax returns between 2005 and 2010, which would have amounted to $70,000.

"While earning a six-figure salary funded largely by taxpayer dollars, the defendant robbed the state of New York," said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman whose office handled the case.

Calderon-Melendez will have to repay over $200,000, which include penalties and interest and faces 5 years probation plus 200 hours of community service when he's sentenced next month.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/charter-school-founder-admits-tax-cheat-article-1.1238458


He was charged in April by Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

A.G. Schneiderman Secures Indictment Of Former Brooklyn Charter School Network Founder And CEO

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced his office has secured an 11-count indictment of Eddie Calderon-Melendez, the founder and former CEO of the beleaguered Williamsburg Charter High School and Believe High Schools Network, a charter management organization. According to the Attorney General's indictment, Calderon-Melendez received over $1.4 million in compensation from 2005 to 2010, yet he never filed a tax return and failed to pay over $70,000 in taxes.

Nearly all of Calderon-Melendez’s compensation during that period came, directly or indirectly, from taxpayer-funded charter schools. Mr. Calderon-Melendez then attempted to cover up his tax crimes by creating and submitting false New York tax returns to the Office of the Attorney General.

“While earning a six-figure salary funded largely by taxpayer dollars, the defendant robbed the state of New York of much-needed revenue when he failed to pay his taxes for six years in a row. He then compounded his crime by creating false evidence to throw investigators off his trail,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “The charges announced today send a strong message that tax cheats and those who tamper with investigations will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”


Calderon-Melendez was known for moving charters into public schools and taking over their space for the charters.

NY public school students get limited use of school library so 3 charter schools can use it.

"It's unfair," said JHS 126 parent association President Janeen Echevarria. "Kids need to get in there to get books out to do their reports, to read, to further their education."

Access to the library for more than 400 middle schoolers will be restricted to one side of the space for less than two hours each day, with an extra hour on Wednesdays. Eddie Calderon-Melendez, founder of the Believe High School Network, which runs the charters, said the use of shared space is negotiated every year.

"We figure out what's in the best interest of all the children in the building," Calderon-Melendez said.


While he was shoving public school students around, he was taking public money and failing to pay taxes on it.

It is good to see an attorney general go after some of this fraud against public schools. More states need to do so.

I have trouble understanding why people are not concerned about the harm being done to public education as money is given to "reformers", thus depriving the schools of their due.





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Reply NY charter school founder cheated state out of $70,000. Failed to pay taxes 2005-2010 (Original post)
madfloridian Jan 2013 OP
Angry Dragon Jan 2013 #1
madfloridian Jan 2013 #2
JReed Jan 2013 #3
madfloridian Jan 2013 #4
madfloridian Jan 2013 #6
madfloridian Jan 2013 #5
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #7
madfloridian Jan 2013 #11
Mc Mike Jan 2013 #8
madfloridian Jan 2013 #9
Mc Mike Jan 2013 #10

Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 12:00 AM

1. No Prison??

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Response to Angry Dragon (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 12:01 AM

2. I noticed that also.

I would think people not paying taxes for 6 years would be given jail time.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 12:50 AM

3. K&R

 

Thanks for posting this. Similar tale in Oregon.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1014357436

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Response to JReed (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 01:14 AM

4. Where else have I heard about Clackamas. A shooting?

Thanks for the link. That kind of corrupt shenanigans is going over all round the country.

http://journals.democraticunderground.com/madfloridian/8490

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 02:12 AM

6. Yes, of course. How did I forget that?

http://www.lsureveille.com/opinion/columnists/article_5f55d2fe-5ed2-11e2-afb7-0019bb30f31a.html

I was sitting here trying to figure where I had heard that name. Not very bright of me to forget that quickly.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 01:28 AM

5. Same school that offered $100 for each person a student recruited for the school.

http://journals.democraticunderground.com/madfloridian/8385

"The office of the state attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, has been investigating Mr. Calderon-Melendez, 48, since last year, digging through tax and expense account records to figure out where tens of thousands of dollars of public money has gone, The New York Times reported on Friday.

In a statement, Mr. Schneiderman said: “While earning a six-figure salary funded largely by taxpayer dollars, the defendant robbed the State of New York of much-needed revenue when he failed to pay his taxes for six years in a row. He then compounded his crime by creating false evidence to throw investigators off his trail.”

http://ednotesonline.blogspot.com/2012/04/state-ed-dept-should-be-indicted-with.html

"If a charter school leader were an ax murderer, the State Ed Dept would reauthorize with a slap on the wrist..... channeling my inner Bloomberg (comments on 3020a hearing officers).

What is wrong with this timeline?

2004: Mr. Calderon-Melendez founded Williamsburg Charter High School and became the school's CEO.

2005:Mr. Calderon-Melendez failed to file taxes despite earning up to $500,000 a year in salary and consultant fees. After receiving a subpoena, he "produced false New York tax returns" for years 2005 through 2008.

2009-10 school year. A state audit found more than $80,000 in overpayments to the network and hundreds of thousands of dollars in mishandled expenses.

2010: The state approved Southside and Northside to join the newly created Believe High Schools Network, which Mr. Calderon-Melendez also headed. ---- Wall St. Journal

The state APPROVED TWO MORE SCHOOLS JUST 2 YEARS AGO? "

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 06:09 AM

7. charter schools vastly increase the potential for corruption in education.

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #7)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 02:29 PM

11. Especially since they are not watched closely like public schools are.

They have the money and power to avoid being scrutinized too closely. And the public schools and teachers catch the blame.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 07:56 AM

8. How come the 'reformers' are always crooks?

It must be on the list of qualifications for charter applicants.

He relies on tax dollars, so naturally he pays no taxes. Paying taxes is up to the little people, who aren't as well-connected.

The amount he stole should have earned him a felony charge.

This 'shared space' stuff is sickening. They don't just take over taxpayer built spaces at no cost, they also get to create a two-tiered system where the taxpayers' public school kids are second class citizens.

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Response to Mc Mike (Reply #8)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 12:39 PM

9. Partly because they have been given so much unregulated power over schools.

This shared space stuff is so unfair to public schools. There's another NYC charter school that does it all the time in an arrogant way.

All it would take to stop this kind of thing is a Secretary of Education who won't tolerate it. But not a peep from Arne. Since he is remaining on this term, I must assume the president either approves or is unaware.

http://journals.democraticunderground.com/madfloridian/6859

"The "Eva" Empire has expanded to the Bronx, bringing a Harlem turf war for school space into the borough. Eva Moskowitz, the City Council member-turned-charter school CEO, has opened two new academies from her charter school franchise, Success Charter Network, inside Public School 30 in Mott Haven, and PS 146 in Morrisania. And Bronx Success Academies 1 and 2 are already ruffling feathers with district school staffers.

..."Staffers at the district schools say their new neighbors have booted them from classrooms and stairwells, while sharing the libraries, cafeterias and playgrounds.

...."Staffers at PS 30 say Bronx Success 1 sealed off the third floor to its staff and students - even taking over a stairwell - so Success students don't mingle with their district school neighbors.

"We are not allowed there," said one PS 30 teacher, noting the classrooms taken over by Success were formerly used for tutoring children with special needs. Now we have to do therapy sessions in the hallway."

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #9)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 01:25 PM

10. Thanks for the link.

Current policy on these charters definitely doesn't serve the interests of our country or our party. But at least the repugs' masters, who never wanted public education in the first place, can be happy.

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