DPS board stuffing money in their pockets

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Brian Wildermuth either didn’t present my offer to the board, or he did illegally. Click to download PDF

On May 22nd, I offered to settle the lawsuit over the Sunshine Law violations of the public body, “school closing task force” on this blog and in writing to the City and the School Board.

This requires the attorney’s to take the offer to the school board. I go to board meetings, I watch the agendas. There has been no discussion of legal issues mentioned in the executive session briefings since I made the offer.

On June 2nd, I got a letter of rejection from the school boards lawyer of my settlement offer.

This means that either they illegally discussed it in executive session, of which they’ve had two meetings this week, both, “Special Meetings” and both about personnel. The meeting on Friday was just over the change of contract for board attorney Jyllian Bradshaw. This was 4 days after another special meeting- called for the budget presentation and a bunch of HR Changes- without public input, including the travesty of paying Erin Dooley less than Wyetta Hayden for a similar position.

Either Brian Wildermuth broke the law by not presenting the offer to his client, or Bradshaw and Lolli broke the law by not presenting it to the board, or someone illegally polled the board about the offer.

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Invoices from Subashi & Wildermuth for “protecting” the school board from a violation of the Sunshine laws. Click to download PDF

In the meantime, the board has already spent $12,500+ defending themselves- and lost the first round.

thumbnail of Human Resources-Jyllian Change of contact

It cost taxpayers $625+ to have the board come in for a special meeting to vote on this.

But, those two “special meetings” this week- cost the taxpayers too. The meeting about the budget seems to be an annual thing- why the treasurer can’t have the numbers at the regularly scheduled business meeting like every other school board in Ohio is a mystery- and why they had so many personnel issues that couldn’t wait- is one thing, but to call a board meeting just to change Jyllians Bradshaws title?
REALLY?

You see, each board member collects $125 per meeting, plus mileage. So having these five idiots come in for one vote on Friday cost you $625 plus mileage:

Motion by Mohamed H Al-Hamdani, second by Karen Wick-Gagnet.
Final Resolution: Motion Carried
Yes: Mohamed H Al-Hamdani, William E Harris Jr, Sheila J Taylor, Karen Wick-Gagnet
Abstain: Robert C Walker

Why there isn’t outrage over this I don’t know. The rule of “P’s” should apply- Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

And if you are wondering about the pay?

Here is the section of Ohio Revised Code on school board compensation:

(A) Each member of the educational service center governing board may be paid such compensation as the governing board provides by resolution, provided that any such compensation shall not exceed one hundred twenty-five dollars a day plus mileage both ways, at the rate per mile provided by resolution of the governing board, for attendance at any meeting of the board. No member of an educational service center governing board shall receive in compensation under this division a total amount greater than five thousand dollars per year for service on the governing board. Such

Source: Lawriter – ORC

The lawmakers had to make the change and add a cap, because of idiots like the former DPS board who were scheduling meetings almost weekly and stuffing their pockets. Normal school boards meet at most twice a month. DPS finds a way to meet almost weekly, often times hitting the cap in August- meaning all the meetings after that are unpaid.

And on June 12, they are going to meet again- to give Erin Dooley a supplemental contract to fix the last oversight- and to hire yet another expensive PhD $117,040  to oversee the office of exceptional children. Dr. Angela Nichols is coming from the Lebanon City Schools. Because, well, you can never have to many PhDs in education.

There are also some inconsistencies in the supplemental contracts- with Dr. Donetrus Hill getting a premium double supplemental for $5,200, maybe because his title is longer “Chief of Curriculum, Instruction, PD ?Math/Science”

Still no word as to who the principal will be at Belmont, although former DPS superstar principal David White just got moved in Trotwood from High School Principal to Junior high principal- and it wouldn’t surprise me if he made a return, with some kind of secondary responsibility as “head of discipline” to justify a boost in DPS pay to come closer to what he makes in Trotwood.

Both the men’s and women’s basketball coaching positions at Dunbar are still up in the air. The women’s team hasn’t been playing in summer ball, thanks to the indecision by new AD Shawna Welch. Coach Jim Cole was “coach of the year” last year- which in DPS doesn’t mean anything. He’s basically built this program from nothing to a winner in 3 years.

Of course, the question is, will the board try to vote in a review session, as has been the case forever. That’s why we have “business meetings” and there is time for public input- but, hey, that would be following the rules, and they just don’t like to do that.

And, for tomorrows meeting, the agenda does have them going into executive session to discuss legal matters… maybe they will get smart and settle, before they buy Wildermuth a new boat.

 

DPS and failed transparency

There is a board meeting today. It’s not in the regular place- or time.

In accordance with Section 3313.16 of the Ohio Revised Code and File: BD of the Handbook of Policies, Rules & Regulations of the Board, I hereby call for a special meeting of the Board of Education of the Dayton City School District, Montgomery County, Ohio, to be held on Tuesday May 29th at 4:15 pm in room 6S-116 of the Administration Building, located at 115 S. Ludlow St., Dayton, OH 45402.

And, the agenda- well, it’s flexible.

Very flexible.

Versions of it seem to be changing by the minute. I have multiple copies, with different numbers of people to hire. (For the record, I called and suggested version numbers and publishing date and time stamps to keep track of this mess)

Some include fall sports coaches (even though they are still interviewing some today).

Note, most districts hire their fall coaches long before the school year is done. Not Dayton. We can’t plan.

In fact, this meeting was supposed to just be the Treasurers 5 year budget meeting- but, now, it’s all that plus…

If I was Libbie Lolli and trying to pull this BS, the board would fire me for incompetence. But, I’m not Libbie Lolli. She’s the one that has a website that still lists David Lawrence as the Chief of School Innovation, and Jill Drury as the Marcom person- and, oh, the person who does all this board document maintenance- Denise Gum- she’s not listed. Competence, it’s what’s not for dinner at DPS.

The fact that they are conducting business without public comment is heinous enough.

The fact that they are waiving the 48 hour rule is even more incompetent- and for the record- the 48 hours usually means business days- not holiday weekends.

Wake up Dayton, you’ve still got the chaos you had under Corr- only with a much higher price tag now. Thanks Libbie Lolli. You can quit early, right now- just like you did at every other district you had signed a contract with. This kind of incompetence is what we were trying to avoid by hiring you and paying you premium dollar.

DPS spending money like a house on fire

Remember this time last year? That’s when the board was willing to spend $200,000 to hire Huffmaster to break a DEA strike, because, well, we didn’t have the money to pay our teachers more.

We lost staff, who bolted instead of risking a strike, the money to Huffmaster was wasted, with a last minute deal, and the teachers who didn’t get their step increases, or a three year contract, had to start the school year off last year without their normal prep time.

We could blame Rhonda Corr for that, although the more likely suspect was Adil Baguirov (who should have already been off the board over his residency issue), but the reality is- the rest of the bargaining team is still in place, including our new Superintendent Libbie Lolli.

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Handing money out like Candy. Click image to download PDF

What a difference a year and a new board make. Lolli handed out RETROACTIVE raises to admin and staff, and now, extended the DEA contract, threw back in the step increases and released new pay scales- including 2 positions that seem really strange: Director 2 (No bachelors degree) starting at $79,380.77 and Associate Director 2 (No bachelors degree) starting at $67,470.63. Now, I grant you, a bachelors degree isn’t necessary to run a bus fleet or be head of maintenance, but, I’m wondering if these aren’t in place for a certain PR person- who might not have completed her studies at Ohio University.

That’s a lot of cash for someone who didn’t finish college – and to be working in education.

There also seems to be a whole lot of new directors. This week alone we find out that we are now still in the hunt for a Principal at Belmont- after Dr. Donetrus Hill had already started telling everyone that it will be a student uniform required school next year (for the record, East side schools tend not to require uniforms- West side do.).

Now Dr. Hill will have the title: Chief of Curriculum, Instruction, PD/Math/Science  and a new big bump in pay $117,000.00. He’s been here since January of 2017.

Wyetta Hayden is now Chief of Schools Elementary- $119,966.00

The new to DPS Carolyn Mack is Chief of Curriculum, Instruction, PD/ELA/SS and making $119,966.00

The new Executive director of Athletics took the pay up over $100K, Shawna Welch- who has been with the district a long time, now makes $105,373.75
A new hire from Cincinnati Public Schools Lynsa Davie, is the new Chief of Schools Special Projects, and making $117,040.0
Now, let’s rewind back to Lori Ward’s day- where the complaint was that downtown was too top heavy….
You had about 7 people making over $100k, The superintendent, the Treasurer, the head of the construction project John Carr, and the two chiefs who managed the schools and the one constant teflon coated associate superintendent- Sheila Burton.
Burton, gets yet another raise as Associate Superintendent to $126,075.00 which is mind boggling, since she’s never taught in a real school, given grades, or had to write a lesson plan.
https://youtu.be/MxjVopw4wK0
Just for the record, Lisa Minor- who used to be Chief of School improvement- made $96K under Ward and worked her butt off, nights and weekends. She is now in Trotwood. She was one of the two people who engineered the A in annual yearly progress, the other being David Lawrence, who was making $120K before they bought his contract out. He also worked ridiculous hours.
There is a travesty in all this happy go Lolli spending- the only truly proven and competent person in the district, who happens to also hold a Superintendents license, is former Stiver Principal Erin Dooley- is now the Chief of Schools, Secondary- and is still going to be working at Stivers- is only getting paid $117,000.00, which is almost $3000 less than her elementary counterpart Wyetta Hayden, who can’t be found after 6pm, unless there is a board meeting.
Dooley has had the only top performing school in the district for the last 20 years. She’s the only one who has created a culture of excellence, and trained many principals. If there is anyone who should be making $127K a year it’s her- not Burton.
There are a few “you have to be kidding” promotions on this HR report- but, they aren’t worth discussing. The more interesting item is that the auditor is resigning, and we will see if the position gets refilled.
The 5 year budget wasn’t posted on Friday but is now. It will take a while to analyze, but you can guarantee a levy will be coming, and it’s also pretty probable it will fail.
Missing is an executive session to discuss a certain settlement offer. We’ll see if they update the agenda.

Update: Monday: 28, 2018

This post kept me up thinking last night.

Maybe this is the beginning of a marketing to the community push?

Since Lolli is an introvert, and has shied away from any marketing plan, or efforts, maybe, she envisions all these new chiefs spreading out into the community to talk about the new changes she’s making.

Of course, the fact that few of her chiefs have ties to the community, or know it well, kinda hurt her if that’s her plan.

So far, we still have no strategic plan, the organizational chart and budget seem to be the only thing growing, while the district is shrinking.

Or as we used to say, “Too many chiefs, too few Indians.”

Baku’s Man in America – is Dayton’s own Adil Baguirov

Look back at this blog on April 5, 2017. That should have been the end of Adil Baguirov, International Man of Mystery on the Dayton Board of Education.

But, because we don’t have a real prosecutor, sheriff, attorney general, Ohio Ethics Commission, Secretary of State etc. etc. in Ohio- and instead have politicians finely practiced in the art of CYA, nothing happened to Adil. Oh, and did I mention the other 6 members of the school board, Joe Lacey, Sheila Taylor, John McManus, Robert Walker, Ron Lee, Hazel Rountree- who also sat on their hands.

That is, until election day, 2017, when I checked his voter registration, and showed he didn’t live in the Dayton Public School district anymore.

When all those people jumped into action, and demanded his immediate resignation.

Yeah, right.

It wasn’t until I sent a fake writ of mandamus and threatened legal action the following day- did we see him resign 2 days later.

The Dayton DayOld News didn’t give credit to me for breaking the story or forcing the resignation. Nor, did they investigate anything else on his background. Or his dirty money, which I posted about on September 7, 2017

But, never fear, he’s still making news on the international news cycle with this expose by the OCCRP who posted this in depth article on our local man of mystery yesterday- and mentioned esrati.com and our story.

By the way, Representative Turner was there on the congressional junket, but didn’t accept the airfare or gifts that got the other congressmen/women in trouble.

Dr. Adil Baguirov, former Dayton Public Schools Board president

Dr. Adil Baguirov, former Dayton Public Schools Board president (heroic photo montage  from https://www.occrp.org/en/azerbaijanilaundromat/bakus-man-in-america)

As it turns out, another recipient of Laundromat money — to the tune of a quarter million dollars — was an influential American oil and gas consultant of Azerbaijani origin who worked to influence US policy in his native country’s favor.

Adil Baguirov, a business owner based in Dayton, Ohio and a vocal member of the Azerbaijani diaspora, received the $253,150 transfer just months after a non-profit organization he runs, the Houston-based US Azeris Network, helped host a conference in Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, that was attended by 10 members of Congress. The junket was widely criticized, and investigated by the House Ethics Committee, for being secretly funded by Azerbaijan’s state oil company.

The precise origins of the money Baguirov received are unknown, hidden behind secretive shell companies. But there is ample evidence that the authoritarian country’s ruling elite is behind it.

Baguirov’s Washington lobbying in the interests of Azerbaijan goes far beyond the 2013 conference. He has also helped organize other US-Azeri conferences in Washington, repeatedly testified before the House in favor of US military aid to Azerbaijan, served as the coordinator of the Congressional Azerbaijan Caucus, and worked prominently in a Houston-based company that claims to have organized a trip by the country’s president, Ilham Aliyev, to the White House.

Baguirov and his family run in elite circles back home. They are known to have close ties to President Aliyev – who awarded Baguirov a medal for his efforts in the US – and he and his father serve in numerous advisory roles to the Azerbaijani and Russian governments respectively. Baguirov did all this while holding American, Azerbaijani, and, it also appears, Russian citizenship ?until at least 2005.

His lobbying raises the question of whether he should have registered as a foreign agent, as the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) requires people representing the interests of foreign countries to do. Although the statute is loosely defined and contains a number of exemptions and loopholes, Josh Rosenstein, a lawyer at Sandler Reiff, says “this case raises red flags and raises questions that the Justice Department may be interested in having answered.”

When contacted by OCCRP reporters for comment, Baguirov said the payment he received was none of their business.

An American Success Story

Adil Baguirov’s campaign website touts him as “An American Success Story”— a striving immigrant who came to the United States at the age of 16 to “study hard and pursue his dreams” of a better life.

He graduated from the University of Southern California in international relations and business administration, and also received a PhD in political science in Moscow. Today, however, he’s a local business owner and educational leader in Dayton, an Ohio city with a population of around 140,000.

In a 2016 feature on Dayton, Politico described Baguirov as “handsome and well-spoken enough that it was easy to imagine him going far [in politics] … just the sort of new American who Republican Party leaders said the party could bring to its side, if only it tried.”

In fact, he recently mulled the possibility of running for Ohio’s state senate as a Republican, though he ultimately decided to sit the 2018 election cycle out in order to, as he told Dayton Magazine, “take a little time off.”

According to the magazine, the businessman has “spent his entire life committed to the idea of education, both for himself and others.” Indeed, his first foray into local politics began five years ago, when he was elected to Dayton’s school board, a position he held until 2017, when he resigned more than a month before the end of his term after local activist David Esrati discovered that he appeared to have lied about his residential address.

But, as it turns out, Baguirov’s eligibility for the school board is not the only controversy surrounding the businessman.

Just one week after he was elected to the position, a consulting company he runs called Turbillion LLC received a payment of US$ 253,150 from Hilux Services, a shell firm that is part of the Azerbaijani Laundromat. The reason for the payment is listed, cryptically, as “to the contract.”

While Baguirov lives in Ohio, Turbillion is registered in Wyoming, a state popular with those looking to create secretive companies due to its tax-free incentives and provision of anonymity.

Turbillion has no website and no publicly known activity, and it’s just one of a number of similar companies controlled by Baguirov. For example, it shares the Dayton mailing address of Nobel Brothers Pictures LLC, another Wyoming-based company which is allegedly producing a Hollywood movie about the history of the Azerbaijani oil industry.

Source: Baku’s Man in America – OCCRP

And if you need a refresher on our original story, watch the Esrati.com video:

Another public service, unpaid, by the only independent investigative journalist in Dayton.

And, because Baguirov can no longer count on doing dirty deals for the Schools- and he didn’t run for office as planned, he’s reportedly now trying to secure a real estate license.

Let’s hope the Realtor’s do a better background check than anyone else did before putting this guy in charge of anything.

 

Esrati offers to settle case vs School Board and City on illegal school task force meetings

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Subashi and Wildermuth have billed the Dayton Public Schools $12,500 so far for Libbie Lolli and her boards ignorance of the Sunshine Laws. Click image above to download PDF

The School Board has spent $12,500 of their money defending themselves, to claim that they are entitled to have illegal secret meetings about closing schools in Dayton. The City, using their own attorneys has probably spent about a quarter of that.

There is no question that the task force was a public body, according to the judge, the evidence, all captured on video by David Esrati, is clear, that the task force did meet in their mobile yellow meeting room at the four schools, and the board HQ. All you need to do is watch the video.

So today, I extended the following offer to settle:

Settlement of Esrati vs City of Dayton et al

Hi Brian and John,
I tried calling Brian to make this offer- however his cell phone just disconnects when I call.
To date, the schools have spent $12,500 with Mr. Wildermuth to try to defend those without a defense.
I can’t guess what the city has invested.

Before we go to the expensive part, I’m offering to settle if the parties admit guilt, and that they clearly violated the sunshine laws in the school task force case, on numerous occasions.
First on Jan 9, with the meeting that ended up being cancelled.
Second on Jan 24, when both Mims and Al Hamdani claimed they didn’t have to do this in public.
And multiple times on the day of the tour- where I count Valerie, Meadowdale Elementary and Meadowdale High School, Wogamen and the HQ building- each as a separate meeting.
Basically- each stop of the bus.
Take those 7 violations- x $500 and then the question becomes is the organization liable or the individual violators?
If we just say the City and the School board are liable- it comes to $5K plus my court filing fees ($360)
If we do it per elected member of the task force- it comes to $10K.
Still, cheaper than the $12,500 the schools have already paid Mr. Wildermuth for this case.
And, cheaper than what the schools had to pay back to OHSAA in his other case that he “won.”

The caveat is, with their acceptance of guilt, the 4 elected officials (Harris, Al-Hamdani, Walker, Mims) would be referred to the Ohio Auditors Open Government Unit for evaluation on removal from office. Seeing that I’ve yet to find a single instance of a public official being removed from office in the State of Ohio for violations of the Sunshine laws, they should have nothing to worry about.

The Sunshine laws are here to protect us all, they shouldn’t be used by lawyers to put their kids through college. There is absolute evidence that discussions did take place on the bus, questions were asked, and video and audio recording equipment were banned, as well as non-compliance with notification of this event, and evidence that School Employees willfully suggested that communications not be conducted via email to hide these proceedings from public scrutiny. You will not win this case in court, or in the court of public opinion.

I am open to a counter-offer on the settlement amounts, however, let us be clear, that the average citizen wouldn’t have the capacity to fight this case, making it unlikely that I’m going to have invested this much time and energy and money, to allow you to be the only winner (Mr. Wildermuth).
The people of Dayton deserve better.
And I don’t take on battles that I will lose.

In the meantime, the case is scheduled for court on Aug 1, 2018