Three former managers of one of the city’s charter public schools allegedly diverted at least $3 million in taxpayer funds to enrich themselves with the assistance of local news personality J.C. Hayward, according to a lawsuit filed by city officials Oct. 1, The Washington Post reported.
The suit alleges that the three managers engaged in a contracting scam by creating two for-profit companies which provided services to their school, Options Public Charter School in Northeast D.C., at inflated prices.
According to the Post, the three were aided by the then-chairwoman of the Options board of trustees, J.C. Hayward, who allegedly signed contracts to provide funds to the two companies. Hayward, who is also a vice-president and the weekday noon anchor with local CBS affiliate WUSA Channel 9, was relieved of her duties with the television station the day the suit was filed, according to a news report by WUSA.
Hayward told WUSA reporters that she had not done anything wrong, only signed the contracts in her capacity as chair of the school’s board, and had not received any money herself. She said she resigned from the school’s board in late September, before the suit was filed.
In addition to Hayward, also named in the civil suit filed by D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan were Dr. Donna Montgomery, Dr. David Cranford, and Paul Dalton, the three managers of Options, all of whom left the school in July. Also named was Jeffrey Williams, who until August was the chief financial officer of the D.C. Charter Public Charter School Board and allegedly aided in the scheme. According to the Washington CityPaper, Williams alerted the school’s managers of imminent inspections.
According to The Post, criminal charges have not been filed in the case, but a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen Jr. said prosecutors were aware of the suit and “will review all pertinent information” in the case.
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