State auditors find misappropriation of funds, evidence of fraud and conflict of interest by charter school director

photo by D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group staff

There’s much to say about this report, but it’s been a long day, and the school board meeting is still going on. So for now, what I have for you is a link to the Tribune story about the Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team’s final report on alleged financial abuses by American Indian Model schools’ founder, Ben Chavis.

The case is being forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office for review.

Sheila Jordan, Alameda County’s superintendent, has recommended that the Oakland school board “continue to assess the viability of the schools in question.”


Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Marsha

    Did you know the new accountants who replaced his wife, Ms. Amador quit last month? Update please!

  • Jim Mordecai


    Under current State law the authorizing authority of a charter–in this case the chartering authority was the Oakland School Board–can appoint a representative to any non-profit charter school it created.

    Perhaps if the Oakland School Board would act and appoint its representative to the charter governing board, you could get information in a timely manner from the Oakland School Board that is suppose to be overseeing the operation of this charter school.

    Jim Mordecai

  • Nontcair

    Charter schools are public (government funded) schools.

    It makes little difference to taxpayers whether their money is wasted on public education unions or contractors, pencils or graft.

    I don’t know what has been going on within AIM. Where public schools are concerned, allegations of cheating on standardized tests should always be taken seriously. That is, the standard should be “guilty until proven innocent”.

    My only exposure to AIM has been while driving up Joaquin Miller. I’ve noticed uniformed students jogging around a small playground blacktop, ostensibly to fulfill some sort of PE requirement.

    Totally ridiculous.

  • Jim Mordecai


    Charter schools are publicly funded but privately managed. And, the chartering agency has weak oversight of the operations of a charter school.

    As there are concerns about the private management of AIM, I am pointing out that the Oakland School Board has, under the law, the option of appointing a representative to the governing board of the AIM charter school. An appointed representative of the Oakland School Board would increase the Oakland School Board’s oversight of AIM.

    Jim Mordecai

  • Nontcair

    Charter schools are publicly funded but privately managed.

    Like Haliburton and all the other mil contractors.
    Like those HMO and insurance Medicare contractors.
    Like PG&E and the telephone company.
    Like those NGOs which contract for public assistance services.

    Yet you expect me to believe that charter schools are, what?

    The solution to this country’s public education crisis?
    The solution to Oakland’s fiscal crisis?
    The cure for cancer?

    Yeah, right.

    Feel free to make your case for/against charter schools.

  • Nontcair

    the chartering agency has weak oversight of the operations of a charter school.

    When is the government ever satisfied with “weak” oversight?

    When does the government give up or even just *reduce* oversight?

    Within a decade or so, as the data reveals that charter schools score no better than traditional public schools, you can be sure that the school board (Dept of Ed, Legislature, or all of the above) is going to greater exercise its legal authority (and bureaucratic imperative) to muck around with the charter schools, on the way to burying them in regulations and completely dominating them.

    Charter schools are just another public education fad — like the “new math” — but one which has the likelihood of giving public education another 30 year lease on life while ruining millions of kids and costing us TRILLIONS of dollars.



    Do you know the status of this case?

  • Katy Murphy

    I’ve checked with the DA’s office — haven’t heard back, but will let you know when I hear anything.

  • Arthur

    Michael Stember and Rodriguez have resigned. I believe Judi Marqardt also resigned, but I am unsure.

    I see the wife of Chavis is back in a “scholarship fund” chair type role.

    I believe the current president, Jean Martinez, is a longtime friend of Chavis (30 years+).

    The board is receiving training.

    Board Meeting Today – 6 PM

    1.1 Family Advisory Committee Update: Mrs. Bernadette Coleman
    1.2 Financial Update: Mrs. Dianne Hatcher
    1.3 Facility Grant Suspension Update: Mrs. Dianne Hatcher
    1.4 Enrollment Update: AIPCS, AIPCS II, AIPHS
    1.5 Scholarship Fund Update: Mrs. Marsha Amador
    1.6 Meeting with Office of Charter Schools Update: Mr. Grant





    Regular Board Meeting Dates

    New Employees

    Peralta Courses (Laney & Merritt College)

    By law, closed sessions are not open to the public. Anyone wishing to address the Board of
    Education on closed session matters may do so during Agenda Item 3 – Public Comments.



    Board Training with Middleton, Young & Minney, LLP.

  • J.R.

    This guy is a loudmouth arrogant sleaze,but I will say that fraud is rampant wherever there are streams of public tax money available. Put them all in prison(charter or public), or don’t even bother talking about it.



    We the taxpayers owe these people nothing but a swift kick in the behind right into a cell.

  • Arthur

    Nedir Bey is now a member of the school board.


    1. Chavis interrupted the meeting to ask if his wife was called a thief.
    2. Berniedette Colman (sp? – head of a parent committee) hijacked the floor twice to say that the school won’t be closed down. She started a psuedo confrontation because the meeting was being filmed.
    3. Wife Marsha Amador is donating her vacation and sick time, I believe, to the school. She is in charge of the scholarship fund.
    4. Another board member became upset that the meeting was being filmed. He knows the Brown Act and believes it only states that recording is allowed. This filming issue touched a nerve with him.